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INVESTIGATION: How Kano SUBEB awarded contracts to inactive contractors, non-existent schools

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In an effort to address issues hindering quality education, the Kano State Government in 2020 awarded N88,406,667.10 for the construction of toilets, hostels and furniture to various public schools. However, this investigation by LUKMAN ABDULMALIK uncovers how contracts were awarded to inactive contractors and non-existent schools, in breach of the public procurement act.

 

It was on a rainy and cold morning of June 21, 2021 when this reporter visited Government Secondary School, Chiromawa in Garun Mallam Local Government Area of Kano State and found students learning on a cratered floor.

G.S.S Chiromawa; Photo credit: LukmanAbdulmalik

The school, with a student population of over 600 in its junior section, is equally dilapidated. In their white uniforms and in a congested class, students of JSS3 of Chiromawa sat on the dusty floor and gazed at their teacher with rapt attention, as he tutored Social Studies.

Students of GSS Chiromawa sitting on bare floor, after failed delivery of furniture; Photo credit: Lukman Abdulmali

Other junior classes of GJSS Chiromawa are without furniture for both teachers and pupils.

Some 80 kilometers from GarunMallam LGA, students of Dan Maliki Primary School, in Kumbotso local government area of Kano State were faced with a similar challenge. Pupils were seen seated on dirty floors. To avoid dusty stains on their uniforms, the pupils often come to school with cloth and praying mats.

The picture of GJSS Chiromawa and that of Dan Maliki primary school reflects a series of neglect to basic education in the state.

Dan Maliki Primary School, Kano; Photo Credit: Lukman Abdulmalik.

According to the recommendations of the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), a teacher- pupils ratio of 1:25 is expected in formal schools. However, many public schools in Nigeria operate on a teacher-ratio of 1:50, to 1:70. This often results in shortage of infrastructure, books, instructional materials and other useful items needed for effective teaching and learning. It has now become a norm to find students learning in dilapidated, dusty classrooms, as more than 30 percent of public-school students in the country are deprived of quality education.

Many Nigerian parents who cannot afford quality education enrol their children in government schools though bereft of basic facilities.

In Kano State, despite a policy on free and compulsory education implemented in 2020 to curtail student dropout rate, poor standard of education in both urban and rural areas have remained a major problem. In an effort to address the challenges of poor education, the Kano State Government awarded the sum of N88,406,667.10 through the Kano State Universal Basic Education Board to carry out 21 projects including the distribution of furniture sets in public schools between October 2020 and September 2021. Some of the contractors were also expected to construct compartment toilets, intermediate staff houses as well as hostels to accommodate students.

Attached are documents of SUBEB award contract information for SMEs

This investigation, however, focused on 12 schools which got a cumulative allocation of N79,040,665.54 million out of the N88,406,667.10 million, released to 12 contractors to deliver sets of furniture, construct hostels and intermediate staff houses.

Non-delivery of furniture in GJSS Chiromawa, Dan Maliki raises dust

On May 14, 2021 the sum of N3,4173,446.50 million was awarded to Kadforex Int. Serv to deliver 120 sets of furniture to Dan Maliki and Kuyan Ta Inna primary schools in Kumbotso LGA of Kano State. On the other hand, the sum of N1,694,304.00 million was awarded to Yadagamo Resources to deliver 60 sets of furniture to Government Junior Secondary School, Chiromawa in Garun Mallam LGA of the state.

Picture of Dan Maliki Primary School classroom without furniture; Photo credit: Lukman Abdulmalik.

However, a visit to GJSS, Chiromawa by this reporter revealed a failed promise by Yadagamo Resources, the contracting company, in delivering the sets of furniture to accommodate students. The furniture was meant to provide relief from floor learning among the pupils.

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Speaking with this reporter, the Principal of the school, Hassan Lawan Kura who has been managing the school since 2017 said SUBEB had not executed any project in the school in the last five years. He explained that there was no delivery of 60 sets of furniture in the school.

Hassan Lawan Kura, Principal GJSS Chiromawa; Photo Credit: Lukman Abdulmalik.

A review of the contractor’s status on the Corporate Affairs Commission’s portal revealed that Yadagamo Resources is a non-existent company.

Also, at Dan Maliki and Kuyan Ta Inna primary schools in Kumbotso LGA, where sets of 120 furniture were to be shared for the two schools, our correspondent gathered that in Dan Maliki primary school, none of SUBEB furniture were found. However, SUBEB/BESDA/2021 chairs had been delivered to the school which it was gathered was not part of the project under the Kano Due Process Award Contract Information for SMEs October 2020 to September 2021.

SUBEB/BESDA/2021 chairs not UBEC/SUBEB/2021; Photo Credit: Lukman Abdulmalik.

This was revealed after a phone conversation with an official of SUBEB who craved anonymity.

When our correspondent visited Kuyan Ta Inna primary school in Kumbotso LGA, he discovered that over 50 pupils were congested in a classroom, seated on the bare floor.

Students of Kuyan Ta Inna learning on bare floor; Photo Credit: Lukman Abdulmalik.

Our correspondent who was escorted by the school security guard, who opened some other classes told this reporter that about a year ago, some chairs were brought to the school but were later carried away. During a counting process of two blocks of four classes where the set of chairs were stationed, only 51 chairs displayed the code UBEC/SUBEB/J1-3/2020/FURN. The remaining chairs were those of other intervention projects.

Partial delivery of furniture in Kuraye, Waceni primary schools

On 14 May 2021, a contract of N3,416,822.40 million was awarded to Musa Biyu Garko Nig.  Ltd to fabricate and deliver 120 sets of furniture to Kuraye Primary School, located in Garko LGA of Kano State. Unfortunately, findings by this reporter revealed the school, which has a student population of 309 pupils and 234 in attendance only received 60 sets of furniture as confirmed by the retired school headmaster, who accepted the chairs.

Kuraye Primary School, displaying 60 chairs delivered instead of 120 furniture; Photo Credit: Lukman Abdulmalik.

The former headmaster of the school, Alhaji Imam Ibrahim recounted that he received the chairs in 2021. However, after a glance at the SUBEB contract information made available to him by this reporter, Mr Ibrahim said: “I didn’t know it was 120 sets of furniture, but I signed a document showing 60 sets of chairs which I received.”

Left fmr. Principal Kuraye P.S Imam Ibrahim. Photo Credit: Lukman Abdulmalik.

“At first, the chairs were not up to 60, so I refused to sign the document they issued to me and insisted on the complete set. After deliberation with the driver, the next day, the driver brought the remaining chairs which I counted as 60 sets.”

He further said: “After that, the Education Secretary of Garko LGA, Dauda Ali Garko called and instructed me to sign the document brought by some of his cabinet members which I did based on his directives,” he said.

The current headmaster of the school, Malam Auwal Hassan explained that it was challenging accommodating 234 students with 60 sets of furniture even when they relied on some 23 previous chairs they had.

Current Headmaster, Kuraye P.S, Auwal Hassan; Photo Credit: Lukman Abdulmalik.

He explained that the 60 new sets are two seaters while the 23 old sets are three-seaters. “We merged six pupils on three-seaters and four pupils were squeezed on two-seaters,” he said.

During a phone interview with Dauda Ali Garko, the Education Secretary of Garko LGA, he debunked the claim of the former headmaster, Alhaji Imam Ibrahim that he had instructed him to receive 60 sets of furniture instead of 120. Garko said he was not aware of the delivery of furniture to Kuraye Primary School.

Non-existent address

Musa Biyu Garko Nig.  Ltd, the contractor with a location address of No.179 Club road could not be traced. A visit by this reporter to No 179 Club road in Kano discovered that no such address existed even after speaking with several residents of the community.

Credit: Club road, Kano state; Photo Credit: LukmanAbdulmalik.

At Waceni Primary School in Ungogo LGA of Kano State, our correspondent gathered that 43 chairs were delivered instead of 60 chairs as stated in the contract agreement.

Waceni P.S, with incomplete furniture in the classrooms; Photo Credit: Lukman Abdulmalik.

The contract of 60 furniture which was awarded to Yadagamo Resources, a non-existent contractor on the CAC portal at the sum of N1,694,304.00 has a deficit of 17 chairs. This situation has left students with no option but to squeeze themselves on the available desks.

How contractor, SUBEB diverted hostel construction into classrooms

The dilapidated state of facilities at the First Ladies College, Mariri in Kumbotso LGA of Kano State, has become a threat to the academic performances of students. Besides being overcrowded, the building is in a poor state and students are forced to sleep on bare floors due to non-availability of mattresses in some of the hostel rooms.

Inside Girls Hostel of First Ladies College, Mariri, Kano; Photo Credit: Lukman Abdulmalik.

Some of the students who spoke with this reporter expressed fear that there could be an epidemic due to overcrowding.

In an attempt to address this, SUBEB received the sum ofN18,902,672.05 on May 28, 2021 through the Kano Due Process office to convert and repair three halls in the college so as to accommodate students. The project, which was awarded to Tahir Investment Nigeria Enterprise; an inactive contractor as revealed by CAC was instead, diverted into the construction of three blocks of classrooms.

Project Information Board displaying Project details; Photo Credit: Lukman Abdulmalik.

While visiting the college, a group of students of SS2 confirmed that no hall was repaired and converted to hostels, whereas three blocks of classrooms have been constructed. “We still sleep in our old hostels with no repairs in them,” they said.

Photo displaying 3 classrooms built instead of 3 hostels; Photo Credit: Lukman Abdulmalik.

A staff of First Ladies College, Kano, who craved anonymity, confirmed that students were overcrowded in their hostels as no specific number of students is assigned to a room. Our correspondent gathered that the standard room setting is six students per room, indicating two students per bunk.

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An interview with a student of the school, Menan Ahmad Sani revealed that they are overcrowded as small rooms which are meant for six students contain more than 10 students while large rooms meant for 12 students contain more than 15 students per room.

“I heard that new hostels will be built but unfortunately three classrooms were erected. I don’t know why the project was changed from the initial agreement,” a staff of the school said.

Office of Tahir Investment Nigeria Limited Kano; Photo Credit: Lukman Abdulmalik.

Speaking with Nura Tahir, a member of the contracting company, this reporter was directed to the Ministry of Education to inquire why instead of a hostel, classrooms were constructed. “I am not in the position to answer this, the ministry should be the authority to address the allegation. I was given a contract which I delivered, based on the instructions of the Ministry of Education,” Tahir said.

The contractor clearified that he had cleared all dues and taxes with the Corporate Affairs Commission adding that: “I didn’t know the company status is showing inactive but I will rectify it from the CAC.”

Efforts made by the reporter to speak with the Kano State Ministry of Education on why the project of hostels were diverted to classrooms were not fruitful as this reporter was directed to Mallam Shehu Sambo, Deputy Director Physical Planning who agreed to meet our correspondent for an interview, but did not.

Ministry of Education, Kano State; Photo Credit: Lukman Abdulmalik.

However, after several calls to Shehu for the interview, Mr. Shehu did not respond. A visit to his office twice was equally unfruitful as Mr. Shehu was said to be out.

Ghost building, incomplete staff house in Ganduje community

In Ganduje community of Dawakin Tofa LGA, where the present Governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje hails from, residents have complained that the lack of staff housing in the community has forced some teachers to move to the city of Dawakin Tofa, which cost them more in transportation. Through this, several teachers have found it convenient to boycott their school duties, as told by a teacher in the school.

Incomplete immediate staff house at GSS Ganduje; Photo Credit: Lukman Abdulmalik.

However, in an attempt to curtail this menace, two staff houses were approved for construction to accommodate teachers of GSS Ganduje at a sum of N28,179,177.08 to two contractors. The first contractor, YDJ Investment, an inactive company as seen on the CAC portal received the sum of N9,389,059.04 while Hotoro Nigeria Enterprise, a non-existent company received the sum of N18,790,118.04 in 2021.

During an on the spot assessment in the community, this reporter found that only one staff house was erected but abandoned halfway. There was no sign of a second staff house being erected even though the SUBEB contract award information for SME’s from October 2020 to September 2021 has ticked the projects as completed.

CAC search for Aneesa Global Link showed that the company was inactive

A resident of the community called Nazifi Musa told this reporter that the incomplete staff house has been neglected for about five months. Investigations revealed that the contract was diverted from the initial contractor stated in the contract award information which is YDJ Investments and Hotoro Nigeria Enterprises to Aneesa Global Link. Findings from the CAC portal revealed that Aneesa Global Link is an inactive company.

In efforts to reach out to YDJ Investments to know why the contract was diverted to Aneesa Global Link, this reporter visited No.19 Murtala Muhammad way, opposite Kano residential hostel, which was displayed as its address in the CAC portal, but the office could not be traced, as they were not at that address.

CAC search for YDJ showed that the company was inactive

Top is Kano residential Hotel, while photo shows building at No.19 Murtala Muhammad Way
Photo Credit: Lukman Abdulmalik.

In an interview with tenants of the Plaza, they claimed not to know any contractor by the name YDJ at No.19 Building.

Project board of staff house construction at GSS Ganduje; Photo Credit: Lukman Abdulmalik.

While also trying to locate Aneesa Global Link with address at No.C9A Alhamsad Tower 1 Zoo road, Kano as indicated on the CAC portal, this reporter could not locate any office as No.C9A. However, there was an office numbered as C9 which this reporter discovered was a printing press shop named Banners Prints. Searches indicated that office No.C9A does not exist in Alhamsad Tower, the purported address of Aneesa Global Link.

C9 office at Alhamsad Tower; Photo Credit: LukmanAbdulmalik.

At Ganduje Islamic Foundation where the contract for six seater VIP toilets was awarded to  Dandali Global Service, a non-existent company according to the CAC at the cost of N6,347,714,04, this reporter observed that despite SUBEB’s record indicating that the project has been completed as VIP toilets, we could only sight pit toilets.

VIP toilets changed into latrine toilets; Photo Credit: Lukman Abdulmalik.

This contradicts the type of toilet to be constructed as stated in the award contract information document by SUBEB, as VIP toilets mean water closet toilet system.

However, the Kano state ministry of education reacted that, the toilets constructed are the VIP toilets according the project plan, not water closet.

“It is a pit toilet attached with soakaway which doesn’t allow stationary defection”. Kano Ministry of education said.

SUBEB awards N5,128,911 to non-existent schools in Kano

The Kano State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) spent the sum of N5,128,911 on 14th May 2021 to deliver 60 sets of furniture in Gurnabas Primary School and 120 sets of furniture to Mahe and A.ila Primary School; two schools that are non-existent in the state.

SN4 shows Gurnabas P.S a non-existenting school; Photo Credit: Lukman Abdulmalik.

A contract of N1,709,637.00 was awarded to Inuwa Musa Nigeria Enterprise while N3,416,822.40 to M. Yakasai Constructions to deliver 60 sets of furniture to Gurnabas Primary School and 120 sets of furniture to Mahe and A.ilaPrimary School respectively.

SN9 indicates Mahe P.S and A.ila P.S which are non-existenting schools; Photo Credit: Lukman Abdulmalik.

A check for the schools in the Kano State Basic Schools list on the Open Education Data of the Federal Ministry of Education website revealed that the schools do not exist. A review of the contractor’s information on the CAC website revealed that Inuwa Musa Nigeria Enterprise is also non-existent while M. Yakasai Constructions is inactive.

Public Relations Officer of SUBEB in Kano State, Balarabe Danlami Jazuli sais that the board had no knowledge of the schools.

SUBEB ignores allegations, FOI 

Calls placed to the chairman of SUBEB in Kano State, Dr. Danlami Hayyo to respond to the allegations concerning the award of contract for SMEs from October 2020 to September 2021, were not responded to.

When contacted, the board’s PRO, Jazuli requested this reporter to send questions via Whatsapp which he acknowledged both on 22nd, 28th and 30th of June 2022.

Screenshot of reporter’s conversations with SUBEB PRO; Photo Credit- Lukman Abdulmalik.

Despite assurances by Jazuli that he would forward the questions to the chairman of the board, there was no response from him. After a series of unsuccessful follow ups for an interview, this reporter followed up with an FOI request granting SUBEB seven days as stated by the law.

FOI request sent to SUBEB on 4th July and 18th July 2022; Photo Credit: Lukman Abdulmalik.

However, the board ignored the FOI request even after sending a reminder at the expiration of the seven days.

SUBEB contravenes Public Procurement Act 

A review of the status of the companies to which the contracts were awarded on the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) website revealed that six of the 12 companies are inactive while seven companies could not be traced. These inactive contractors and the contract awarded includes; Tahir Investment Nigeria which was awarded N18,902,672.05 to construct three blocks of hostels in First Ladies College, Mariri, Kano, but three blocks of classrooms were built instead. Mai Yakasai Enterprise was awarded N3,419,27.00 to fabricate and deliver 120 sets of furniture to A.ila and Mahe primary school but the company is non-existent.

Other inactive companies include Kadforex Integrated Services LTD which was awarded N3,417,446.50 to fabricate and deliver 120 sets of furniture to Kuyan Ta Inna and Dan Maliki primary school out of which only 51 chairs were delivered and Yazad Industries Development Company ltd which was awarded N3,417,080.00 to fabricate and deliver 120 sets of furniture to Kwani and Larabawa Islamic Primary School which was completed. The company, YDJ Investment Nigeria was equally awarded N9,395,059.04 to construct a staff house at GSS Ganduje, but the project status is incomplete after the project was diverted to Aneesa Global Link.

The non-existent contractors and companies include Yadagamo Resources awarded N3,388,608 to fabricate and deliver 60 sets of furniture to GJSS Chiromawa and also another 60 sets to Waceni primary school. However, only 43 were delivered at Waceni primary school while none was delivered to GJSS Chiromawa.

The contractor, Inuwa Musa Nigeria Enterprise was awarded N1,709,637.00 to fabricate and deliver 60 sets of furniture to Gurnabas Primary School which is a non-existing school and Dandali Global Services awarded N6,834,714.07 to construct six VIP toilets at Ganduje Islamic Foundation but six pit toilets were constructed. Hotoro Nigeria Enterprise was awarded N18,790,118.08 to construct an immediate staff house but was left incomplete despite diverting the contract to Aneesa Global Link.

The award of contracts to inactive and non-existent companies contravenes the Public Procurement Act 2007 under section 417 which states that: “A bidder may have its bid or tender excluded if the bidder is in arrears regarding payment of due taxes, charges, pensions or social insurance contributions unless such bidders have obtained a lawful permit in respect to allowance, the difference of such outstanding payments or payment thereof in instalments.”

Under the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), an inactive company is a legal entity that has not complied with Sections 417 – 424 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020 in filing its annual returns with the commission. Section 417 of the Act dictates that every company must make and deliver their annual returns to the CAC every year.

The CAC also describes an inactive company as one that has not been carrying out any business or has not made any significant accounting transaction in the last two fiscal years. Also, an inactive company is one that has not paid its annual dues in the last two fiscal years, while a non-existent company is one that has not registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission.

However, M Yakasai Constructions declined to comment, expressing fear that they may not get future government contracts. While addresses of the other contractors such as YDJ investment, Aneesa Global Link, and Musa Biyu Garko Nig Ltd provided on the CAC portal could not be traced.

 

This report is supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, ICIR.

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