Three years ago, the Universal Basic Education Commission, UBEC, released the sum of N97 million to three companies for the construction and rehabilitation of classrooms in schools in the federal constituency, Bauchi State, represented by Yakubu Dogara, former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Wikkitimes has reported.
The money is part of a N1 billion consistency projects sponsored by the former Speaker, who still represents the area at the National Assembly.
Quickfix Property Limited, Delta Force limited and Maridiq Nigeria Limited received the money for the construction and rehabilitation of schools in the area, according to Budeshi, an open contracting platform.
At the Government Day Technical College in Tafawa-Balewa, no single project has been executed despite the school being listed as one of the beneficiaries of the intervention project.
Mr Jatau Daniel, principal of the college told WikkiTimes that the school had been neglected for years, adding that he was not aware that it was billed to receive such intervention.
But it is not only the Government Day Technical College in Tafawa-Balewa whose classroom renovation and construction are up in the air despite money being released by UBEC. Investigations by WikkiTimes show that other schools that were listed as beneficiaries either got shoddy construction or none.
Built-in 1978, the college in Tafawa-Balewa is the only technical school in Dogara’s constituency, but it has deteriorated, leaving more than 1,400 students in a poor learning environment without basic amenities.
The principal said the last building in the school was constructed about 20 years ago and renovation has been done only through the contributions of the Parents Teachers’ Association (PTA).
“I have had the privilege of meeting with Hon. Yakubu Dogara last year,” Mr Daniel said.
“I tabled all the challenges faced in the school and how the school is on the verge of total collapse. After receiving my proposal, we have not gotten any response from him till date after telling me he would get back to us.”
Inside the school, are cracked walls, inviting reptiles and insects into the classrooms.
“See how bad the school looks,” said exasperated Mr Emmanuel Barau, head of sciences laboratory in the school.
Students suffer the neglect. At Samuel Alheri’s classroom, the ceiling is about to cave in. The windows and floor of the classrooms are all broken. The students sit four per chair with some sitting on each others’ legs. “The chairs are not enough to accommodate all of us,” Alheri said.
“Throughout the last term, we could not have Physics class because we don’t have a Physics teacher,” Alheri told WikkiTimes.
“I am in the Computer Science Department. I only go to the lab with other students where we just sit for a while and then return back to our classes,” said Idi Miyaki, Alheri’s classmate.
“We don’t have a Computer Science teacher,” Miyaki continued. “No light or generator to even power the few computers, I don’t know anything about computers. I am just here wasting my time. As soon as we close, I just rush to the farm where I can make meaningful use of my time.”
Another school in the area, Central Primary School, was listed as a beneficiary in the zonal intervention project by UBEC, but like the technical school, no construction was ever carried out, despite money being released to the contractor.
In 2018, a contract for the construction of a block of three classrooms was awarded to Maridiq Nigeria Ltd, the same company that also got a contract for that of the technical college. It was awarded at N19 million.
The most recent block of two classrooms in the school was built in 2016 under the Sustainable Development Goals’ Intervention Project.
“Look at all the roofs falling apart with so many classrooms, not in use,” Mary Maikomo, a native of Tafawa Balewa town, pointed out. “They are so dilapidated and not habitable for learning”, she added.
Mr Emmanuel Iliya, youth leader of Zaar Youth Development Association, ZAYODA, told WikkiTimes that children in the area deserve a better school and quality learning to secure their future.
“You can see the pitiable state of the school,” Iliya said. “It’s at the mercy of God. This is a school that has graduated a lot of prominent people in this country, and the school in its bad look has lost its entire legacy.”
However, at Nahuta Primary School in Tafawa-Balewa, another beneficiary of the zonal intervention project, the contract was executed but was incomplete. A block of three classrooms was constructed but the supply of teaching materials and furniture was left out.
The block was built within three months, according to Mr Amos Bature, the headteacher at the school. It was hastily and poorly done with the doors and windows looking out of shape.
The contract was awarded to Quickfix Property Limited for N19 million but the contractor failed to supply classroom furniture and teaching materials as contained in the contract.
“I just wish Hon. Yakubu Dogara will come and see for himself and then tell the public how proud he is of the school,” Mr Bature said.
“Primary schools are supposed to give a foundation to children especially these ones in rural communities. These children have to suffer what their counterparts in urban cities enjoy.”