INVESTIGATION: While Turaki, Lamido are accused of stealing billions, Jigawa pupils sit on bare floors to learn

A dilapidated block at Government Primary School, Bali in Babura LGA
A dilapidated block at Government Primary School, Bali in Babura LGA

The sky was blue and bright and the heat was biting as we drove into Hadejia – it used to be called Biram – in Jigawa State, northeast Nigeria, said to be one of the seven founding states of the Hausa Kingdoms.

We had learnt that many of today’s elite in northern Nigeria had their formative education in Kofar Arewa Primary School located in the ancient town.

But driving into the premises of the school that sunny afternoon, one was shocked at the level of rot that has reduced one of the first centre of Western education in northern Nigeria to what looked like a goat pen. What with the weather-beaten walls, leaking roofs, broken ceilings, windows without louvers, doorposts without doors and floor with gullies and dust and sand.

From one block to another, the picture was the same: that of misery and abandonment inside and outside. It was difficult to believe children still came here to learn.

But the school had just closed for the day and pupils had retreated home. Only the headmaster and a few teachers were around.

Kofar Arewa Primary School was established by the British colonialists just before Nigeria attained Independence in 1960, making it the oldest in Hadejia Emirate Council in Hadejia Local Government Area.

But at the time we visited, we learnt that no fewer than 720 pupils sit on bare floor to study.

With a little over 920 pupils, the school, which should have a minimum of 30 teachers and three security men has only 20 teachers and a security guard.

The Headmaster, Mohammed Daniya, said many prominent men and women from the state passed through Kofar Arewa.

These include the Jigawa State Head of Service, Mohammed Tahir; serving Senator, Ubali Magama; and Chairman of the State Universal Basic Education Board, Salisu Zakar.

Mr. Daniya, however, lamented that the school had been let down by the many prominent men and women it produced over the years.

“We do not have seats for our teachers and pupils and that is why you find that all our pupils sit on the floor to learn. We have written to the authorities to urgently intervene and save our school from going further down,” the headmaster said.

In Gwaram town, a teacher who gave his name simply as Musa (he declined to provide his surname for fear of being punished by authorities), said most primary and junior secondary schools in the area have no furniture, a fact PREMUM TIMES confirmed.

Popularly known as Saigodiya, Mr. Musa said the Government Day Secondary School, Gwaram, had been in a deplorable state for years.

With soaring enrollment resulting from the free and compulsory basic education programme introduced by the Sule Lamido administration, Musa said facilities in primary and junior secondary schools became overstretched and teachers overworked.

For instance, in the Government Day School, Gwaram, he said the junior secondary class one is divided into two streams with “A” stream having a total of 170 pupils and the “B” class 154.

“Our pupils were sitting on bare floor until the school authority and parents managed to buy mats which are spread on the dusty floor. Pupils here are lucky to sit on the mats to learn. The situation is worse in many places across the state,” he told PREMIUM TIMES.

When it was impossible to accommodate one of the classes at the junior secondary wing, Musa said the principal got permission from the headmaster of the primary wing located on the same premises to use one of their classrooms.


Another indigene of the area, Shuaibu Ibrahim, corroborated what Musa told this newspaper.

He, however, blamed the Gwaram Local Government Area administration and indeed all local government leadership across the state for not doing anything to address some of the problems faced by their people.

“Once, our youth nearly lynched the local government chairman when he reported for work and since then, he has been going about with armed policemen,” Mr. Ibrahim told PREMIUM TIMES.

“While they spent several millions to construct and furnish official quarters for local government chairmen across the state, none of them live in those houses.

“The millions of naira used in building each of the quarters could have bought furniture and renovated schools in every council area of the state.”

In Miga Local Government Area, we saw pupils in Hantsu Primary School sit on the hard floor marked by dust and craters.

The school, which is said to have been established in 1976, had one of the best structures and furniture until successive administrations in the state failed to carry out basic repairs on the buildings and facilities.

With a population of 600 pupils, Hantsu Primary School has only six teachers including the head master and his deputy

In an interview, the Deputy Headmaster, Safuwan Hantsu, said the school has no toilet; a situation he said forced both staff and pupils to use nearby bushes for defeacation.

With three blocks of six classrooms available in the school, it was observed that only two classrooms have seats while pupils in the remaining four classrooms sit on bare floor to learn.

“We don’t have tables and chairs for the teachers and as you can see, there are no seats for majority of the pupils,” he lamented.

Due to the prevailing situation, he said many parents withdrew their children from public schools and registered them with private schools now multiplying all over the area.

In Kazura, Birniwa Local Government Area, where the roofs on the three blocks at the Government Primary School were intact, termites had eaten up the rafters, leaving the ceiling boards hanging loosely.

Only a few broken desks were found in two of the classrooms in the school.

Headmaster Muhammed Bulama said no fewer than 400 pupils sit on the crater-marked floor to learn while teachers perch on half-walls after lessons because there are no tables and chairs for them.

“This school was renovated in 2010 but as you can see, termites have eaten the wood and ceilings away,” he told PREMIUM TIMES.

While appealing for help, he said, “Our pupils have been sitting on bare floor during the last three years and we have reported to the local authority but nothing has been done about it.”

Another example of why Jigawa state occupies a prominent position at the bottom of education rating in the country is Takur Commercial School located behind the palatial Government House, Dutse, remained dilapidated.

With 5, 320 students in its junior and secondary wings, the school has 34 classrooms, only 15 of which have furniture. The school has only four functional toilets for its teeming pupils.

An official in the school, who asked not to be named for fear of being sanctioned, told PREMIUM TIMES that 2, 660 students sit on bare floor to learn.

The situation was the same in many schools across Dutse Metropolis where PREMIUM TIMES found dilapidated classrooms.

They include the Junior Secondary School and Central Primary School located in Sakawaya and Government Junior Secondary School, Fagoji- Dutse, among others.

Surplus promises for a broken system

Jigawa state was at the nadir of development indices in 2007 when Sule Lamido became governor after Ibrahim Turaki, also a member of his political party, the Peoples Democratic Party, had ruled for eight years, beginning 1999.

According to the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics, NBS, in 2007, Jigawa ranked worst among the 36 states of the Federation and Abuja on the Human Development Index.

During electioneering campaigns, Mr. Lamido promised to introduce sweeping economic reforms to reverse the situation.

During his own tenure, Mr. Turaki introduced what he called the Jigawa State Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy, J-SEEDS, purportedly to reduce poverty, create a conducive climate for investment and develop human resource. Those objectives were clearly never achieved.

Shortly after he was sworn in on May 29, 2007, Mr. Lamido set up a Public Financial Management Steering Committee to study how his predecessor utilised state funds, determine performance and recommend measures for improvement.

In its report, the committee validated the developmental rating of the state by the NBS.

For his role in allegedly impoverishing the people of his state, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, is prosecuting Mr. Turaki for criminal conspiracy, stealing, money laundering and misappropriation of public funds to the tune of N36 billion.

“We were at the lowest level with so many competing needs and when you come in and face such situation, how do you holistically address them,” Mr. Lamido justified his approach in an interview with the PREMIUM TIMES.

Mr. Lamido’s education scorecard

Two years after he assumed office, 2009 that is, only 2.5 percent of Jigawa indigenes scored at least five credits – including English and Mathematics – in the West African School Certificate Examinations, taken by senior secondary students in Nigeria and the West African subregion.

For a governor who won the seat promising reforms in education, what he ended up delivering was disappointed, residents said.

So, when the WAEC pass rate improved significantly to 10.5 percent in 2010, after the State Government allocated 17. 3 percent of the capital budget for education, the government went to town trumpeting that achievement.

In Dutse, the state capital, in 2011, a proud Babandi Gumel, the then commissioner for Information, Youth, Sports and Culture, announced that the government had offered scholarships to successful candidates to pursue further studies anywhere in the world.

In 2012, the high school pass rate rose to 33 percent, one of the highest ever recorded in the state’s history.

While significant progress was recorded in terms of structures, furniture and academic performance at the senior secondary school level, the situation with basic education was anything but impressive.

In 2005, according to the World Data Atlas, Jigawa State had a total of 1683 primary schools. In 2006 that number rose to 1, 959 and to 2,114 in 2007; but declined to 1788 in 2008. No reason was given for the decline.

In 2005, the number of pupils was put at 576, 212; 384, 056 in 2006; in 2007 it was 487, 812 in 2007 and 398, 030, in 2008.

But in May this year when PREMIUM TIMES commenced this investigation, the elements had ravaged most primary and junior secondary schools in the state.

Where roofs were still atop school blocks, multiple streaks of sunlight filtered into empty classrooms from the gaping holes that dot corrugated iron sheets while damaged ceilings, dripping with bat dung hung precariously in many.

Misplaced priorities

While schools remained dilapidated, with pupils sitting on bare floors to learn, authorities shelled out billions building new executive quarters and guest houses for local government chairmen in the state.

The Chairman of Birnin Kudu Local Government Area, Khaleed Ibrahim, told PREMIUM TIMES each of the 27 local government councils in the state has new quarters, consisting of a five-bedroom duplex, a guest house and Boys Quarters, and cost N108 million each, excluding furnishing.

Chairman of Birnin Kudu LGA, Khaleed Ibrahim speaking with  PREMIUM TIMES
Chairman of Birnin Kudu LGA, Khaleed Ibrahim speaking with PREMIUM TIMES

Mr. Ibrahim also said two secretariat complexes with each costing N400 million have been built in two council areas in the state, namely Birnin Kudu and Gwaram.

Apart from the multi-million quarters and the new secretariat complexes embarked upon by the local government bosses, Mr. Ibrahim said the 27 council areas in the state have constructed and furnished guest houses in Dutse, the state capital.

The Permanent Secretary, Jigawa State Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Abdulahi Hudu, said a lot of improvement were recorded after sMr. Lamido became governor, but that things soon deteriorated.

According to him, at the time the former governor came into office, a survey was conducted and the result showed over 70 percent of the infrastructure in primary schools were dilapidated.

“But from 2008 till date, a lot has happened and based on our annual school census, the level of dilapidation has reduced drastically.

“One of the factors responsible for the dilapidation of schools is the seasonal windstorm. This year alone, we received several reports of wind damages. The same thing happened last year and the previous years.

“From 2013 till date, not much has been done in terms of renovation. But before then, the state government had renovated over 779 schools out of 1996 primary schools, 446 junior secondary schools and 151 senior secondary schools.”

Mr. Hudu said the government was unable to repair the schools because of the failure to access the UBEC intervention funds during the last three years.

Due to revenue shortfall from the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee, FAAC, he said the state was unable to contribute its counterpart funding for the UBEC funds.

Asked why many schools in the state do not have seats, he said, “I want to remind you that seats are breakable and have a life span. After some years, they have to be replaced because of the activities of children and wear and tear.

“But between 2013 and now, children in many schools have been sitting on bare floor and the issue has been raised over and over again.

“We were planning to purchase the seats in the 2015 budget but the funds were not available due to the dwindling allocation from the Federal Government. If we had had the funds, we would have bought the furniture for the schools. I agree with you that in majority of the schools, children are sitting on the floor.”

But former Governor Lamido, who is being prosecuted by the EFCC for won’t agree that he didn’t keep his promise to reform education in the state.

“We raised the budgetary allocation to the extent that we even exceeded the UNESCO target of 25 percent,” he said in an interview.

His explanation for the decay: “Again because of our terrain, by the time you reroof one primary school, the following year, the storm will come and remove the entire roof. So it was a continuous thing. No matter what you do, because the area is very windy, you find that most of the roofs will be blown off.”

Plan affected by plunder

Permanent Secretary Abdulahi Hudu insists schools in the state remained dilapidated largely because of paucity of fund to fix them.

But two immediate past governors of the state are being prosecuted for allegedly mismanaging billions belonging to the state, a development that appeared to strengthen argument that the education sector, like other sectors in the state, are being hurt by corruption.

While ex-Governor Saminu Turaki is standing trial for criminal conspiracy, stealing, money laundering and misappropriation of public funds to the tune of N36 billion, his successor, Sule Lamido, is being prosecuted for allegedly receiving over a billion naira kickbacks from contractors in the state, with the funds allegedly paid into accounts managed by his sons. The former governors denied any wrongdoing.

Investigators and activists believe the funds suspected to have been stolen could have been used to fix the state’s broken education system, including building more classrooms, hiring more qualified teachers, procuring furniture so pupils stop sitting on bare floors, repairing leaky roofs, providing books and other instructional materials and feeding primary school pupils at least once a day.

“The media must tell the people what the amount politicians steal could do for them, how many schools with quality teachers and text books the funds could have provided and how many water projects could have been provided,” said Olanrewaju Suraj, chairman of the Civil Society Network Against Corruption.

“The people must be made to understand how they have been surcharged by the so-called governors and political leaders rather than celebrating them. Politicians who are found to have ripped off the people must be brought to justice.”


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  • Dr Pat Kolawole Awosan

    In law there is what we call vicarious liability which some argue is a consequence of the agency theory. I believe it is on the basis of this that Premium Times has reached the conclusion that Grand thief Lamido & Co is responsible (liable). But we must also not make haste to forget that Mohammadu Buhari who has budgeted N107.4m (approximately N238,000 per day) for FEEDING & REFRESHMENT for his family in 2016 while the kids in Taraba sit on bare floors to learn is as vicariously liable as thief Lamido under the law. This is because just as Lamido was an agent (steward) holding trust for the people, so also is Mr Buhari and their treatment and the references thereof should not be mutually exclusive. Buhari is as guilty today as Lamido was yesterday. Is Rotimi more saintly than Lamido?

    • Waohhhh…. Thanks @ Dr Awosan for this cerebral comment. This is a good investigative journalism by premium times that must set the stage for more conversation. I also saw the unbelievable pictures of a College of Medicine hostels in Lagos State, and wondered how the students sleep and study in that environment.
      Let’s bring out the books to see the budgets of prior administrations on education. This mess is the outcome of autocratic and dictatorial and mediocre governance we had for decades. Buhari was once a “dictator” and part of this mess.

      • How are the primary and secondary schools in Otuoke? How good are they? Are the schools in rural Anambra and Ebonyi States any better than those in Jigawa? I have often told you that you the biafrans are brainless. Here you are again proving me right. Poor you.

        • 5 yrs of Jonathan’s administration couldn’t wipe clean 45 yrs of mediocre military administrations of which Buhari was complicit.

          • DanielOsazuwa

            The Miltary government built 90% of the infrastructure we have presently in Nigeria. Lagos- Ibadan- Ilorin Road was built by the military. Lagos – Benin-Onitsha-Enugu-Port Harcourt were all built by the military. All the airports in Nigeria were built by the military ( minus the few built by State Governors for their personal aggrandizement except Imo Airport built by Mbakwe solely for the upliftment of Imo State) 95% of the teaching hospitals in Nigeria was built by the military. Abuja was conceived and built by the military. Close your eyes and imagine Nigeria without Abuja and Lagos still the Federla capital: NIGHTMARISH! Nigeria Airways, Nigeria Shipping line, the 4 vandalized refineries. 3rd mainland bridge.90% of the Federal Universities.

            Now the sad part: the total collectable revenue of the Federal Government in 2011 was more than all the collectable revenue of the Federal Government from 1960-2001 COMBINE!
            General Babangida highest budget as President was 150 billion Naira. Yet he built Abuja from foundation, 3rd mainland bridge, 1st train of our LNG. Compare it with Obasanjo (civilian govt) lowest budget expenditure was in 2000 was 470 billion Naira. and Jonathan last year budget of 4.8 trillion Naira.

            Our country performed better under the military than under the looting gang called democracy.

          • I laughed as I read your comment and the celebration of dictatorships. Look around the world and see what people’s governments achieved when they have a choice to elect their leaders. All those listed low rated achievements did not transform our nation into Eldorado. Nigeria was still a mess when OBJ handed over. 5 yrs of democracy couldn’t erase 45 yrs of mess.

          • DanielOsazuwa

            It’s not about celebrating dictatorship but about laying the facts bare. Figures don’t lie. Dubai that you people glamorize is absolute dictatorship. China is not only a dictatorship but also a communist. Singapore was built under a dictator. Do you know that you need a prescription to buy a chewing gum in Singapore? Nigeria life expectancy was higher than that of China in 1999. Today whenever China sneezes, US catches cold due to their massive lending power and their growing economy.

            I am not limiting myself to your inert and incompetent Jomathan but the total failure of governance since 1999 taking the humongous revenue inflow and what we have to show for it.

            That is the bottom line.

          • China, Dubai etc cannot continue the economic growth without political reforms. We saw it in USSR. Those countries you listed have no social safety nets for the large % of it’s citizens left behind. Let’s focus on Nigeria. I believe we would be better off if the people had the choice to choose and to reject their leaders. That was what we never had for many decades. There is no other credible rationale for this mess. The dictators would want to demonize democracy to justify their crimes. Just as Jonathan was rejected, we should have that rights to reject nonperforming administration. We were denied that fundamental rights for decades.

    • Okafor

      But are they really ready to give those ‘boys’ good education? Who will the ruling class use to fight their political war? It’s a strategy to keep them there for the ‘rainy days’

  • yorubaparapo.com

    interesting

  • Rollingdollar

    In Nigeria we are good at identifying problems, but when it comes to REAL solutions we buckle and retreat, with our tails tucked behind our behind. How can a state government run primary education? how can a federal government run primary education? Why should federal governments be the sole administrators of airports, unity schools, etc. There is too much bureaucracy. The system we operate is programmed for failure. We need to re-structure this country otherwise this is the kind of result that will continuously stare us in the face. Its not only in Jigawa, go round the country the same evidence of shame and decandence. Visit hospitals, schools, if it is owned by government, I bet you it is poorly run. Restructure, restructure, restructure or… we shut up and accept it as it is.

    • Dele Awogbeoba

      Not sure your drugs are meant for the ailment that was diagnosed. The schools refered to in the article are state schools. I fail to see your point on restructuring. Nigeria has spent the last 16 years selling off state owned enterprises. Most Nigerians were opposed to the sale of obsolete refineries because it was alleged that they were sold to cronies. Today, those refineries will not be taken if they were given away for free.

      • Damilola

        So what are u suggesting? That 3.9billion Naira shud be spent on vehicles? What happen to the ones on ground? That 247million Naira shud be spent daily on food? Is he dinning daily with Mr. Mephistophilise? That billions of Naira shud be spent on purchasing same items changed at the villa just last year? Is this how we intend to change things? Is this the restructuring you’re talking about? That one corruption case shud sit with the EFCC for months without court subjection with “one EFCC Source” feeding us revelations without statement papers? That the EFCC shud be turned to court, the agents turned to lawyers and Buhari the judge?? Is that what you’re insinuating?… look at this Jigawa case, what is delaying the process? Can any of these men be properly prosecuted at all? I pity ur thinking

    • DanielOsazuwa

      The 24 hours news circle globally has made citizens of every country to be guilty of what you just highlighted about Nigerians. Why I am with you completely, our situation to me is either demonic or Charles Darwin is completely correct about the black men.

      Right now, this is my predicament. We all saw PMB drinking sachet milo and sachet milk during the campaign, how that same man is now budgeting approximately 245 thousand Naira budgeted for daily feeding beat my imagination.

      The same mistake that allowed vandals, 419ners, drug dealers and looters to take over the government in 1999 is playing itself out once again with this PMB government. All the NGO evaporated when Gen Abdulsalami called for election: “siddon-look”was the their theme song. Before they said Jack Robinson, the like of James Ibori became king makers. PMB is a social media installed government. The question now is where are all the social media warriors tthat fought a good fight in getting and kicking out Jonathan inert Governmemt?

      Let it be clear to all and sundries, failure of PMB government will spell doom for all and sundries. Let all the social media warriors form a platform to put PMB govt on it toe.

      Starting point is PMB budget proposal for his feeding. WE MUST NOT ALLOW IT.

      • Rommel

        We are still very much around and for me,I am fully employed outside the shores of Nigeria and scarely have the time but I still make out time to visit such sites regularly to know what is going on, we are watching the unfolding drama with keen interest,I tell you now that the war against corruption has not even started,I have recommended that the president should begin an aggressive expansion of all federal penitentiary and possibly approach other friendly common wealth nations to give us some tough judges to help Nigeria in this fight because it is difficult to find untainted judges in Nigeria today,president Jonathan destroyed all sectors of Nigeria including traditional and religious institutions.

  • Romberg

    Problems like these are a common phenomenon in every part of Nigeria. How can a reasonable government choose not to fix this decadence but to feed children in these kind of conditions? Will they sit in the air when they are served the food? If schools are like this, how will the teachers be? How many of them will be willing to call these shambles their offices?

  • Gidi

    “Again because of our terrain, by the time you reroof one primary school, the following year, the storm will come and remove the entire roof. So it was a continuous thing. No matter what you do, because the area is very windy, you find that most of the roofs will be blown off.”–Hudu (PS Jigawa Ministry of Education)

    This is the most pathetic explanation given by a government official on why state failed to equip primary schools with basic infrastructure. Do we need to remind this incompetent fools and thieves that we are in 21st century. If nothing is done to curb the re-occurrence of stealing public fund in Nigeria as whole, i don’t see how we can survive the consequences.

    • Fadama

      Shame on that Permanent Secretary for such a pedestrian excuse

    • tunde008

      There is a way the locals build their houses. They safe guard the edges of the roofing with blocks so the wind will not be able to get to the roofing. Most local houses in kano are built in this way

  • Quirkycox2016

    Breaking News:

    “Shocking details have emerged from the recent presented 2016 budget that
    the executive arm of the government would spend the lion share of N5.87
    trillion, or about 96.5 per cent of the total N6.1 trillion about N205
    billion or 3.5 per cent to the other arms of government, with the
    Legislature and the Judiciary, spending N115 billion and N90 billion
    respectively, Vanguard revealed. The breakdown of the budget also
    indicates that the government intends to spend N39 billion in running
    the Office of the President with major allocations going to car purchase
    at N3.9 billion and another N189 million to change tyres
    for some specified vehicles in the Presidency.”

    ……NIGERIA BULLETIN

  • Damilola

    Please what is delaying theses people from prosecution? Why is it taking so long?? Is this going to end at all? Chei

    • Okafor

      Because there is no concrete evidence. We are just beating about the bush, chasing shadows, intimidating our opponents and covering up our shortcomings.

      • Damilola

        … in the name of fighting for the masses. Meanwhile, the reality is that, they fight the opponent and fight even the masses join with their silly unscrupulous policies.

  • Fadama

    My sadness after reading this report is total. I can see children sat inside dilapidated buildings, and upon the event that whatever is left of these structures finally collapses, can cause serious injuries or death to poor school children. If domestic animals are housed in such buildings, it can easily go down as animal cruelty; how much more school children. How long will those that have, through their greed and looting, left us in this sorry situation continue to evade justice?

  • Chidinma

    Trending Now: Muhammadu Buhari has taken back his 2016 budget to hell again. Lol!
    How can a president present a Budget and take it Back? After all the bogus figures, huh? Shame to all those who defended Buhari’s ‘padded’ budgetary plans in the first place, anyway. Buhari and his cronies wanted to steal us dry with that budget, though!

  • niko

    Many dilapidated Lagos public schools like the old Bishop Aggrey Memorial School Mushin have become den of criminals

    The school was previously owned by Catholic missionaries and was named as the Bishop Aggrey Memorial School.

    Located on Layi Oyekanmi Street in Mushin, the school was taken over by the Lagos state government after the Catholic missionaries left

  • Rommel

    According to the order of administration,there is a local government Councillor,local government chairman,member representing a constituency in the house of assembly (constituency development allocation),member representing a constituency at the federal house (constituency development allocation),senator representing a senatorial zone at the senate (constituency development allocation),then a state governor,how come with all these state apparatus,we still have such things,or are we wasting money that could have been used to eliminate such eyesores on maintaining these state apparatus? we really need to start thinking like human beings.

  • Sad to see such wickedness perpetrated by human adults against children. These unscrupulous elements of our society who unfortunately had their way to become our representatives and leaders must be identified and brought to full justice.

    • Okafor

      Are those big boys still in primary school? Primary schools are under local govts and should be funded by them as they receive their allocations from the FG. Corruption cuts across all tiers of govts unfortunately. A secondary school in Rivers state has a class of 500 students under Amaechi’s watch and a primary school in his village, Ubima was as bad as the one in Hadeija. But today Amaechi is a saint who will go to heaven. We are watching!

  • Dominic Jaja

    This is the bane of the Northern elites. Go find out where they train their own children….selfish people.