Department for International Development (DFID)

UK's Department for International Development (DFID) doing projects in Nigeria

The UK government’s Department for International Development (DFID) has hailed the Jigawa government for its reforms in the education sector, saying it is key to its development.

A statement from the British High Commission in Abuja on Saturday said Jigawa was the first state to access the Universal Basic Education Intervention Fund (UBE-IF).

It described UBE-IF as one of the most important national initiatives that channelled more oil revenues directly to the states.

The statement, signed by the head of DFID (Northern Nigeria) in Kano, Dr Audu Grema, said: “The funding backlog has been cleared, implementations of projects are proceeding smoothly and Jigawa was the first state to access its 2009 UBE-IF funding.”

According to the statement, in August 2009, contracts valued at N2.6 billion were awarded for the construction of classrooms and provision of furniture in 401 schools, majority of which are completed, easing the problem of overcrowding and dilapidated structures.

It said the fund was to be spent on primary and junior secondary schools in the provision of amenities such as classrooms, books and teacher training.

It said that Jigawa had a fund utilisation rate of only 25 per cent and that it did not make any contributions to the fund in 2006 and 2007.

It said the DFID was encouraged by the efforts of Gov. Sule Lamido and his team in implementing the reforms, and in particular commended the state’s Commissioner for Education, Prof. Ruqqaya Rufai in getting the education sector back on track.

The statement said a report commissioned by DFID found that as at March 2008, five per cent of funds (N54 billion) had yet to be used, while millions of children were still out of school.

It said the partnership between the Nigerian government and DFID of UK had resulted in the 106 million pounds, six-year programme from 2008 to 2014.

It said the fund supported federal and state governments, which include Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Kwara and Lagos, with Enugu added in 2010.

The statement said it would be used to develop effective planning, financing and delivery systems that would improve the quality of basic education.