State of UBEC projects in states (I) | Dailytrust

State of UBEC projects in states (I)

LEA Primary School Lokongoma, Kogi State
LEA Primary School Lokongoma, Kogi State

The Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) is a federal government agency saddled with the responsibility to reform programmes aimed at providing greater access to and ensuring quality of basic education throughout the country. Fundamentally too, the agency also ensures development of education infrastructure with a view to achieving this objective. Through some degrees of its commitment to these responsibilities, the primary and secondary education has witnessed an appreciable development. The agency has failed to fully live up to the expected standard due to certain shortcomings. Daily Trust begins a series report on the current states of the agency’s projects across the states.

Kogi SUBEB no longer in charge of UBEC projects

The activities of the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) in Kogi State has remained under strict restrictions from public domain. Investigation by our correspondent in the state revealed that the state chairman of SUBEB, Comrade Suleiman Ndalaye Abdullahi, is not in the picture of either contracts granted or executed in the state.

Our correspondent gathered that some of the contracts for the execution of projects have been removed from the office of the chairman. A principal staff of UBEC in Lokongoma, Lokoja, who spoke to our correspondent said projects, mainly of class rooms executed in 2014 were poorly done.

Our correspondent, who visited another school in Adankolo in Lokoja, gathered that the office ceiling boards were merely hanging with the support of nails due to effects of leaking roof of offices in the school. 

The state chairman of the board, declined comment on the issue. 

Despite billions of naira, some projects fall below standard in Kwara

In Kwara State, our correspondent gathered that the state government has accessed a total amount of N14.2bn including counterpart funding between 2014-2020. While speaking on the issue recently, Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, said about 600 schools had been pencilled down for renovation. He added that aside the state-wide wholesale remodelling of schools, construction of new classrooms, rehabilitation of existing ones, construction of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities, information and communication facilities, there would also be training and retraining of teachers.

The chairman of Kwara State Universal Basic Education Board, Professor Shehu AbdulRaheem Adaramaja, said apart from off-setting the inherited debt of N450m to UBEC, the present government had to pay N7.1bn six-year counterpart funds (2014 – 2020) that qualified Kwara to get N14.2bn.

Although the National All Progressives Congress Team scored the state excellent and first among the party-controlled states on the issue of utilisation of the UBEC funds, some of the projects, it was discovered, were below standard.

 

The government, however, blamed some of the contractors handling the affected projects. Speaking on the issue, Adaramaja threatened to revoke/blacklist some of the contractors that performed below specification.

While speaking at Gorobani Village, Kaiama Local Government Area of Kwara State during one of the assessments of ongoing UBEC/SUBEB intervention projects for 2014-2019, the state UBEC boss said: “Some contractors performed excellently well, while others performed below expectations. Those that are below the standard, we have told them what to do. We rejected some projects outrightly and we have instructed the contractors to start again.”

He said from their supervision, it was discovered that a number of infractions were identified at Ipe, another one at the Evangelical Church Winning (ECWA) All primary school in Oyun LGA and another in Ala in Isin LGA. 

When Daily Trust visited one of the sites at Junior Secondary School Amule, in Ilorin East Local Government, the renovation work was still ongoing with few chairs and desks already supplied.

However, many critics have continued to criticize the government, saying the work on ground does not justify the huge amount released. The Coordinator of the Elites Network for Sustainable Development (ENETSUD), known for its anti-corruption activities in the state, Dr. Abdullateef Alagbonsi, said: “We have not been able to access documents on the SUBEB projects and assess those projects. That makes it difficult for us to make an informed comment on the execution of those projects.” 

Niger’s projects completed, but 2012 remains abandoned 

In Niger State, Daily Trust gathered that more than 50 percent of projects in 2012 have been abandoned by contractors due to non-release of funds by the Universal Basic Education Board. It was gathered that over N200m was unaccounted for by the immediate past administration in the state. A source told our correspondent that some of the abandoned projects include IBB Primary School Minna, among others.

However, available documents show that in 2013, the projects focused on construction and renovation of classrooms with offices and stores, provision of classrooms and office furniture/computers and hardware and instructional materials to JSS/Primary schools at the cost of N2, 023, 037, 532.7

In 2014, construction and renovation of classrooms with offices and stores, provision of classroom and office furniture/computers and hardware and instructional materials to JSS/Primary Schools, cost N1, 865, 461, 795.3

However, in 2015, projects focused on construction and renovation of classrooms with offices and stores, provision of classroom and office furniture/computers and hardware and instructional materials to JSS/Primary Schools at the cost N1, 718, 379,972.9

Daily Trust also gathered that in 2016, a total of N2, 042, 189,175.6 was released for construction/renovation of classrooms, construction of VIP toilets in basic schools, perimeter fencing of selected schools, purchase of computers and hard ware, drilling of hand pump boreholes, provision of furniture for JSS & primary school pupils’/teachers’ tables and chairs/Instructional Materials to JSS/Primary schools among others,

The 2017 projects, mainly construction/renovation of classrooms, construction of VIP toilets in basic schools, perimeter fencing of selected schools, purchase of computers and hard ware, drilling of hand pump boreholes, provision of furniture for JSS & primary school pupils’/teachers’ tables and chairs/Instructional materials to JSS/Primary schools among others cost N2, 397, 849, 311.

Similarly, the 2018 Construction/renovation of classrooms, construction of VIP toilets in basic schools, Perimeter fencing of selected schools, purchase of computers and hard ware, drilling of hand pump boreholes, provision of furniture for JSS & Primary Schools pupils’/teachers’ tables and chairs/Instructional Materials to JSS/Primary Schools among cost N2, 715,339, 128.9 

Benue consistent in counterpart funding 

The Federal Government’s Universal Basic Education Board (UBEC) projects are visible in Benue State, especially in the past six years of Governor Samuel Ortom’s administration in the state. Ortom’s administration had been consistent in paying a counterpart fund to match the UBEC intervention funding for various school projects across the state.

In 2020, the government disclosed that it was to source for a counterpart funding of N1.6bn allocated to the state to match it with UBEC to make it N3.2bn. Out of that, the governor explained that his administration would provide another set of desks and continue to upgrade the facilities in primary schools.

Our correspondent’s findings at SUBEB showed that there is a total of 15,754 teachers in 2755 primary schools and 437 Universal Basic Education (UBE) centres in the state. These are maintained through the intervention of UBEC fund.

The former State Commissioner for Education, Professor Dennis Ityavyar, had in 2020, informed that the state government had so far invested the sum of N14bn on primary and basic education across the state. The feat was mostly achieved through the SUBEB/UBEC collaboration.

In the same year, Ortom expressed his administration’s readiness to inject more life into primary education in the state with a fresh sum of N5.6bn as he noted that the combination of the 2018 and 2019 counterpart funding totalling N5.6bn would be properly utilised to provide infrastructure and instructional materials in basic and primary schools which remains his administration’s main focus.

Our correspondent who went around some public primary and secondary schools in the state, reports that the UBEC projects on ground include classroom blocks, plastic chairs and tables as well as training programmes organised for teachers.

At least, over 60,000 plastic chairs and tables had been procured by the Benue State government for distribution to basic schools across the state under the UBEC project.

 

Abubakar Akote (Minna), Hope Abah Emmanuel (Makurdi), Adama John (Lokoja) & Mumini AbdulKareem (Ilorin)

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