Imagine a government-owned educational institution without basic facilities such as toilets, water and other conveniences, that’s the current situation with the Amikanle Community Nursery and Primary School.
The school, whose construction had been abandoned since 2013, is located under the Agbado Oke Odo Local Council Development Area of Lagos State.
A bit of background
The contract for the construction of the school under the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFUND, was awarded in 2006, but in 2013 work stopped when primary and secondary schools projects were removed from TETFUND area of coverage.
Since then, the one-storey structure that services nine communities in Amikanle with over 200 pupils, has received little or no attention from either the state or local government administrations.
To ensure the completion of the abandoned school project, a non-governmental organisation, Involve Africa, on Saturday 25, January, 2020, brought together stakeholders in the education sector, government officials and members of the Amikanle Community to a Town Hall meeting to chart a way forward.
Forging a new agreement
The goal of the Town Hall meeting, according to the Project Coordinator for Involve Africa, Mr Taiwo Michael, was to forge a new agreement with the relevant stakeholders on how to get contracts back to site for the completion of the school project.
“The townhall meeting was scheduled to agree on the way forward as it serves as an interface meeting between the community, stakeholders and the state actors,” he said, adding that he believed that “after today’s meeting, there will be a new agreement on the completion of the construction and Involve Africa expects to see contractors back to site as soon as possible.”
He also said that “as an organisation that cares for the future of the pupils, we are calling on every stakeholder involved in this particular project, community based organisation, State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), TETFUND itself and every other relevant stakeholders which includes; local government chairman, education secretary and the Lagos State Commissioner for Education, to chat a way forward on this project.”
Stakeholders lament the current situation
Speaking at the townhall meeting, Mr Faluse S.A, who represented the Education Secretary, Alimosho, said it was so unfortunate that the project remain abandoned.
He explained how series of letters were written with no response from the government.
He said Tetfund money is no longer available to complete the abandoned project, charging the local government and SUBEB to find a lasting solution to the project.
But the Chairman, School Based Management Committee, Mr Akin O.A blamed both the SUBEB and TETFUND for inflicting hardships on the pupils of Amikanle Nur/Pry School.
According to him, the inability of both agencies to ensure the completion of the school project exposes the over 200 hundred pupils to dangers daily as the school has no windows and befitting staircase.
However, Eng. Banjo Adeboyega from the Department of Projects, SUBEB, representing the Director of Projects, explained the steps the agency took on the Amikanle primary school project.
“Letters were written to Tetfund at Abuja, and SUBEB also appealed to the former Governor of Lagos State, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, to complete the project but no response came,” he said.
Expression of optimism
Eng. Adeboyega expressed optimism that, with the project being brought back to the table through efforts of young minds at Involve Africa Youth Organization, the project will have headway soon.
The Secretary to the LCDA, Alhaja Ayilara Abiodun, who represented the chairman at the meeting, thanked Involve Africa for bringing the project back to the table for discussion.
She promised to deliver the resolutions reached at the meeting to chairman for prompt action.
The Project Coordinator for Involve Africa said the group is also working in partnership with the Centre for Democracy Development to track the project which has reached 70 per cent completion, and ensure that it is completes before the end of the year.
Through its, Strengthening Community Resistance Against Prevalence of Corruption, SCRAP – C, philosophy, Involve Africa, has been over the years, focused on revitalizing abandoned educational projects within Alimosho, Agbado Oke-Odo and Ikotun local government areas.
Involve Africa is a Pan-african youth driven NGO working to increase young people’s involvement in governance processes.
It has sponsorships from the Center for Democracy and Development, Actionaid, Ukaid and Center for Communication program Nigeria.