INVESTIGATION: Students sit on floors, under leaking roofs as multi-million naira project is nowhere to be found in Zamfara - Ripples Nigeria
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INVESTIGATION: Students sit on floors, under leaking roofs as multi-million naira project is nowhere to be found in Zamfara



Suleman Tukur, 15, an SS 2 student of Government Day Secondary School (GDSS) Bakura in Bakura local government area of Zamfara State, could not hide his dismay over the deplorable condition of his school. He and his colleagues lack a conducive environment to learn due to tremendous challenges that have crippled activities in the school.

Tukur is one of the 1,350 students of the school who take lessons on bare floors as a result of dilapidated classrooms and the absence of basic infrastructure.

“Whenever it’s about to rain, our teachers send us home. This is a result of the sorry state of our classes. We don’t have chairs, good rooftops, doors and windows in our classes. The ceilings in our classrooms are also leaking,” Mr Tukur said. “We have the zeal and interest to seek qualitative education but lack infrastructure and learning facilities. This has impacted negatively on our academics and makes us feel discouraged, ” he added.

It was a sunny morning in early August when this reporter visited the GDSS Bakura at its temporary site. It was a sorry sight to behold as the students sat on the floor without a single chair in their half-roofed classes.

Since the inception of the school in 2009, it has been operating without a permanent site. The school is one of the only two government-owned secondary schools in the Bakura community. The other is the Government Science Secondary School.

Findings revealed that the condition of the school became critical in 2021, when it was relocated from a portion of land belonging to Government Science Secondary School, Bakura – which has served as its temporary site for years – to Dankwai Model Primary School, Bakura, another temporary site.

It was gathered that the change in location was due to worsening insecurity in the area.

Lauwali Abubakar, the principal of Government Day Secondary School, Bakura, said the school is in a horrible condition and needs urgent attention from the government to save it from collapsing.

The principal of GDSS Bakura

“Whoever comes to this school must pity us considering the situation of the school. We don’t have a single chair in our classes, no doors, no windows and we don’t have enough classes. In one class we are merging more than 130 students which are supposed to have arms from JSS 1 to SS3 to accommodate 35 students for each class,” the principal, Abubakar lamented.

The principal said that hoodlums broke some of the ceiling and stole all the valuable documents in his office recently.

Mr Abubakar said although the school recently got a plot of land to use as a permanent location which was donated by the Emir of Bakura Eng Bello Sani, they are still waiting for the government’s intervention.

The newly appointed Zanfara State commissioner for Education, Wadatau Madawaki, recently lamented the decaying conditions of government primary and secondary schools across the state, saying the sector had been neglected.

“This component has been completely neglected, coupled with the challenges being faced by the component, the beneficiaries of this level are also challenged in the areas of ethical, moral, social, spiritual, as well as economic issues,” Mr Madawaki was quoted as saying when he assumed office in Gusau.

The Missing Project

According to a document obtained from the office of the Zamfara State accountant general, in August, 2021, the immediate past administration of Bello Muhammad Matawalle, had allocated a sum of N8,534,978.87 million naira to GDSS Bakura for the renovation of three classrooms and other facilities.

The contract, awarded to ABUMARSH INVESTMENT LTD was to be executed under the watch of Zamfara State ministry of education and the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC).

When this reporter visited the school, he discovered that the project had not been executed.

“I was not aware of the project”, the community leader, Bello Marafa, said.

Bakura community leader

The school principal said he was surprised such an allocation exists.

“I’m very surprised that such an amount of money was allocated to our school for renovation but the project has not been implemented despite all these problems bedeviling the school.”

When UDEME reached out to the leader of the Bakura community, Bello Marafa, he explained that nobody had come to him concerning the project. Mr Marafa blamed the contractors for not giving them the documents of the contract to sign though it is not consistent with the law.

“I was not aware of the project, nobody briefed me about it. You see, this is the problem we are facing with contractors because they don’t come to us for signing when they were given a contract”, he said.

He noted that if he had signed the documents and the contractors failed to execute the project, he would have been aware and called them out.

UDEME further reached out to the education secretary of Bakura local government area, lbrahim Hassan Damri, who said he was also not aware of the project.

Mr Damri said although he has the record of all the schools projects in the area, he has not seen the contract awarded to GDSS Bakura.

He also said neither he nor his contractor has knowledge of the project. He added that if the contract was truly awarded to the area, they would be the ones to give the site of the project for survey.

He promised to investigate the issue and get back to the reporter.

Online search shows that the contractor, Abumarsh Investment Ltd is located at No 27 Ahmadu Bello Way, Sokoto, Sokoto State with Nazifi Umar Maigona and Abdullahi Bello Maigona as directors of the company.

READ ALSO:INVESTIGATION: UBEC mum as N80m Kebbi secondary school lab equipment still undelivered since 2020

When this reporter contacted Abdullahi Bello Maigona via a phone call, he admitted that he is the owner of the company but it was his brother Mustapha Maigona who is using the company to secure contracts.

The dilapidatory condition of ceiling and roofing in GDSS Bakura

On his part, Mustapha Maigona said his company had completed all awarded contracts in Zamfara except if there was a change of site of the project.

“Actually, we have finished all the contracts we received in Zamfara, in 2021, except if there was a change of site for the project” Mustapha quipped, saying that he was not aware of this contract.

Similarly, Mr Mustapha stated that the only project his company did in Bakura was the renovation of three classrooms with an existing verandah at Mallamawa Primary school in Mallamawa community of Bakura LGA and they executed the project successfully.

He directed the reporter to visit the Zamfara state primary education board and check out the issue.

When contacted the director of works Zamfara State Universal Basic Education Board, Yakubu Abdullahi Tsafe, said they don’t have that contract in their project’s list, adding that maybe it was a mistake.

Mr Yakubu disclosed that they have the list of all the awarded contracts to each local government in the state but he didn’t see that of GDSS Bakura.

He said the Mallamawa primary school project which was awarded to Abumarsh Investment Ltd was diverted to Lambar Bakura community due to insecurity in Mallamawa village.

Nevertheless, the director shared the documents containing the details of all the projects they executed in Bakura local government in 2020/2021 to check up.

Three block of classrooms diverted from Mallamawa primary school to Lambar Bakura

ln a bid to find out where the GDSS project was located, this reporter visited the Bureau of Public Procurement situated inside the Zamfara State Government House. But the security man stationed at the gate refused to grant him entry. He however said the reporter could wait for any staff of the Bureau passing by and talk to them.

After waiting for a while, a senior staff of the bureau who however refused to reveal his name and position came to talk to this reporter. He said if the enquiries are related to the primary board they haven’t received anything.

Subsequently, when contacted, the director Zamfara state Bureau of Public Procurement, Musa Sanusi in a phone call said, “the project you’re talking about is not 2021 project but 2020 and we have diverted it to another location”. He abruptly cut the call while the reporter was trying to ask him the school where they diverted the project to, telling the reporter to stop asking him questions but to meet him in the office.

The Director of Zamfara state bureau of public procurement, Musa Sanusi confirmed the diversion in a phone call.

“The project you’re talking about is not the 2021 project but 2020 and we have diverted it to another location,” he said, ending the call abruptly.

What Does the Law Say?

The provision of section 32(1) (c) and (e) of Zamfara state procurement Act, 2020, states that “execution of a project should be effective, efficient and transparent, timely and equitable manner to ensure accountability which shall conform to the provisions of this Law and its Regulations with the aim of achieving value for money and fullness of purpose”.

Paragraph (e) of the law also regulates that “Public monitoring of the procurement process and to the implementation of contracts awarded to ensure that all public contracts are awarded pursuant to the provisions of this law and its Regulations And that all public contracts are performed strictly according to specifications”

However, the state procurement act didn’t provide any specific procedure for the diversion of projects in the state.

Nurudeen Salako, an anti-corruption advocate spoke on the effect of the diversion of public projects which he said causes untold hardship, lack of conducive environment that affects the students mentally, psychologically and even makes them unproactive to learning.

“If this corrupt act is left uninvestigated, it won’t only jeopardize the standard of education in the state, it will further worsen other sectors as culprits focus on sectors with huge funds carted away from the government coffer, what is originally meant for public projects to better the lives of the masses,” he warned

By Shehu Muhammed Shehu

This report was produced under the UDEME project of the Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID).

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