Ogun Schools: dilapidated classrooms, uncompleted projects litter schools despite N10.2 billion rehabilitation claim by govt

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A dilapidated classroom in an Ogun State school.

Over 400 primary and secondary schools in Ogun State have been renovated, according to Governor Dapo Abiodun’s statement a year ago.

However, when PREMIUM TIMES travelled the state’s three senatorial districts in the late 2022, their correspondent discovered that many public schools still had facilities in appalling shape.

According to Premium Times, the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) and the state government each donated N10.2 billion to the refurbishment project, equally.

In order to fix the deteriorating infrastructure and inadequate amenities in the 236 public schools spread around the state, UBEC released its portion of the grant to the state government in 2019.

Yewa North Local Government Primary school, Gbokoto, Ketu, Ogun State (Photo Credit: Premium Times)

PREMIUM TIMES found that in many schools captured under the rehabilitation project, the exercise has either not been completed or started at all. All the schools mentioned in this report are those the Prince Dapo Abiodun administration listed as schools it has renovated.

The rehabilitated blocks of classrooms all had yellow roofs, the signature of the Dapo Abiodun administration.

Cracked walls, leaky roofs

Students at the St. Joseph RCM Primary School in the Ogun Waterside Local Government Area’s Ayila neighbourhood were learning in partially finished structures with leaking roofs and damaged walls. Some students had to sit on the bare floor because there weren’t enough desks and chairs.

Kuto Abeokuta South Local Government, Ogun State, St. John Primary School

St John Primary school, Kuto Abeokuta south local government, Ogun state (Photo Credit: Premium Times)

One of the school’s two buildings appeared to be on the verge of collapsing at any moment. A instructor told PREMIUM TIMES, “We cannot abandon it because we have no alternative.

The teacher said classes are suspended whenever it rains, because of the leaky roofs and low walls.

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“When it rains, there is no class because all the pupils need to be moved to the two classes that are still manageable,” the teacher said.

Toye, one of the pupils, said he wants the government to repair and upgrade the school.

Gboko community in Ketu, Yewa North Local Government Area, has only one primary school. The mud-walled school has no teachers.

Yewa North Local Government Primary school, Gbokoto, Ketu, Ogun State (Photo Credit: Premium Times)

According to reports, a three-classroom block constructed as part of the UBEC project fell after a particularly strong downpour. Following the event, community members pooled their funds to construct the mud-walled classrooms in 2021.

The junior classes were combined into one class to accommodate all the students in the temporary structure, while classes five and six shared another classroom.

Fakonbi Paul, the PTA Chairman at the school, claimed that despite a letter from the administration to the government requesting additional block of classrooms, no response had been received.

Chairman of the Parent Teachers Association (PTA) Fakonbi Paul (Photo Credit: Premium Times)

“The structure was a UBEC project; it fell last year during a period of heavy rain” (2021). Despite our letters to the authorities, nothing changed. The community decided to build this mould block classroom with the help of our Kabiyesi (traditional ruler) after realising that nothing was happening.

A Primary Four student told our reporter, “Goats, hens, and dogs enter our classrooms since there are no doors or windows.”

“Each morning when we arrive, we sweep the animal droppings out of the classrooms. Our teacher gave us such lesson, the student continued.

At Yewa North Local Government Primary School in Kakanfo, the circumstance is comparable. There aren’t any windows or doors in the handful built classrooms.

Abiodun Michael, a parent whose children attend the school, claimed that because the classroom roofs are damaged, students are typically sent home whenever it is likely to rain.

The roofs have been shattered and left in that condition for a very long period, Mr. Michael claimed.

The classrooms of District High School in Agosasa also have crumbling walls and wet roofs. All the local public elementary schools appear to have these characteristics in common.

Same situation in the capital Abeokuta

One of the schools where classrooms were erected or rebuilt was Owu Baptist school, Ita-Iyalode in Oke-Shokori/Totoro ward. But when our reporter visited the school, they discovered that the initiative had been shelved.

The building was still surrounded by the scaffold that had been used to plaster the wall, although some of the boards were deteriorated.

A staff member at the school who only gave his name as Baba Jamiu claimed that the project had been shelved for many months prior to the reporter’s arrival.

He claimed that the unfinished classrooms, which were secured when our reporter visited, were already in use.

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“Leaving the scaffolding after plastering is dangerous. They don’t have any usefulness, but the contractor has refused to come and remove them.
Pupils are already using the classroom that way because we don’t have enough classrooms.

“The contractor was to plaster and paint the building, but they abandoned their work halfway, which is really bad,” he said.

The situation is not different at AUD Primary School, Ikatedo in Ago-Ika ward of Abeokuta North local council. A large building marked for rehabilitation but abandoned has become an abode for smokers around the area.

African Church Primary school, Odeda. (Photo Credit: Premium Times)

The renovation, according to the locals, was began in 2019, but nothing new has been added in the interim.

The reporter discovered numerous classrooms with damaged roofs all around the school’s grounds. The buildings’ structures appear flimsy, and the surrounding atmosphere doesn’t seem to be ideal for instruction or learning.

Additionally, the administration asserted that it had renovated some of the town’s St. Peter’s College’s classrooms. One of the classrooms had its entire ceiling renovated, but the work on the other classrooms’ ceilings was not finished.

A block of four classrooms has a yellow roof, but the walls were not plastered and it has no windows. The building does not look like one where work was ongoing.

A worker who took this reporter around the school refused to give his name for fear of sanction by the authorities. He said the building has been completed despite not being plastered and not having windows.

Budgetary allocation to education sector

In December 2021, Governor Abiodun signed the N338.6 billion 2022 budget of the state and later adopted a 2022 Supplementary budget of N100.2 billion in August 2022.

St John Primary school, Kuto Abeokuta south local government, Ogun state (Photo Credit: Premium Times)

The education sector received N56.07 billion from the original budget. Out of it, N529.1 million went toward maintaining public schools; N22.9 billion went toward secondary education and N3.2 billion went toward basic education under the heading of total spending by functional classification.

The state’s overall budget for 2022 was N350.74 billion. The second-highest estimate, at N56,071 billion or 16% of the entire expected budget, was for education. The largest portion went to infrastructure, which ate up N77.8 billion, or 22% of the whole budget.

For the 2023 fiscal year, the governor voted N66.79 billion for education, representing 14 per cent of the total budget of N472 billion.

African Church Primary school, Odeda. (Photo Credit: Premium Times)

Many citizens yet hold out hope that these money will improve the state’s failing schools.

Abayomi Arigbabu, the commissioner of education for Ogun State, did not return calls or texts requesting comments on the issues presented in this article.

However, when questioned about it, especially about whether UBEC is keeping an eye on how its funds are being used by the Ogun government, UBEC spokesperson David Apeh refused to comment. Mr. Arigbabu claimed at a briefing in September 2022 that infrastructure decay at schools predated the current administration.

Mr. Apeh requested that this reporter call back on Wednesday when they originally spoke on the phone on a Tuesday.

The spokesperson instructed this reporter to call back in two hours when he was called per his instructions, but ever since then, he has not returned calls or texted instructions.

Additionally, a message submitted to UBEC’s official email address did not receive a response.

St Thomas Anglican Nursery and Primary school, Abigi (Photo Credit: Premium Times)

Source: Premium Times


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