How Over N230m Education Project Lay Waste, Equipment Missing in Kano
By Rabiu Musa
Reconstruction of Dangote female hostel which was gutted by fire in February, 2019 ceased at Kano University of Science and Technology, Wudil, this newspaper can authoritatively report.
The hostel, which houses 60 rooms, 2 common rooms, with 496 female undergraduate students, was destroyed by fire as a result of electrical spark, following the restoration of full current electricity, according to the University management.
Findings revealed that the incident led to the closure of the hostel and there were no adequate on-campus facilities to accommodate all the students which sent them to the surrounding localities to rent off-campus accommodations at exorbitant prices amidst economic hardships with minimal security.
Female Students Who Live Off-campus Recount Ordeal
Mariam Isah, 23, a 500 level student at the University, said when the hostel got burnt they had to vacate it and sought for accommodation off-campus.
She said, “sadly, after some months outside the campus at the popular Yan-kwaya axis, we went home for a semester break, only to come back and found out that our house was vandalized and properties carted away.
“Upon getting the accommodation, I opened my room and find it in a mess. My mattress, bag of clothes, cooking gas and other important items were all stolen,” Mariam lamented.
Unlike Mariam Isah, Theresa Thompson, 21, said “the violent activities unleashed to students off-campus has been terribly affecting our academic performance on one hand, and put us at financial disadvantage on the other”.
She said “My new phone, (Infinix Hot 11, play model), and other valuables were gone now as a result of thugs activities’’.
“The scariest thing was that the suspected buglers do not break my door”.
“What I noticed was that they removed the glass on my window and have their way into the room. I weft that day because, I was left stranded without good clothes and smart phone to conduct assignment and communicate with my parents and other family members at home”.
Habiba Sani Darma, 24, described the minimal level of the security facing the students living off-campus particularly female as unfortunate.
She said there’s a dire need for the authority concern to look into the circumstances and settle issues with the contractor if any to enable him return to site for the common good of the female students in the school.
Another student, Fatima Baba, who lives outside the university campus as a result of the Dangote hostel closure said, house owners and landlords had taken advantage of the circumstances to exploit students.
‘’I paid N110,000 for one year for a single room in the neighboring surrounding for a small size room’’.
She further appealed to Kano state government to settle grievances with the contractor and complete the construction of the hostel.
Exclusive records shown to this reporter by the Nigerian Vigilante, Wudil area council revealed a surge in gender violence within the surrounding localities occupied by the students.
The data showed that about 57 violent activities related to gender abuse have been recorded in just two months. The data indicate that female students account for about 65% of the overall data.
A source within Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps, Wudil area Command, who crave anonymity because he is not in a position to speak said, “There has been an exponential surge in the criminal cases particularly around students houses in the local government, particularly targeted against vulnerable female students’’.
The source confirmed to this reporter that the security outfit is trying its best in close association with other security agencies to curtail any violent activity that’ll jeopardize the peace and hamper academic activities of the students in the area.
Corroborating, Dr. Halima Waziri, Executive Director, Forum of Progressive Women (FOWUP), said the rising cases of attendant violence on females, particularly students is worrisome.
She further said that her organization is working tirelessly with security agencies to provide an amicable ways to curtail the menace of the insecurity at the students residential areas.
She called on the government to hasten the completion and build more on-campus female hostels. This, according to her will enable the school to provide maximum security for the female students.
The Reconstruction of Dangote Female Hostel Contract
The Kano state Executive Council via reference number (CAD/EXCO/II/13), has on 8th February 2021, approved the mobilization of B.K.I Building and Civil Engineering Company Limited on the sum of N217,628,152:38 to reconstruct the hostel and the contract was billed to finish in 12 Months.
An on the spot assessment by this reporter to the University of Science and Technology in Wudil town, discovered that the project has reached an advance stage of completion but it appears clearly abandoned by the contractor after releases of multi-million naira by the Kano state government.
The contract was awarded through the state Ministry for Higher Education. As the supervising body of the project, a Freedom of Information Request dated 13th October and a reminder on 5th November was sent to the ministry requesting for the financial progress report of the project under reference, this newspaper could not be able to obtained financial details of the contract in question from the ministry, got information explaining the amount of money allocated for the entire project.
In the information obtained, the ministry claimed that the project status was 65%, but this reporter could not independently verified the ministry’s claimed because of the withheld financial progress report to ascertain the level in which the contractor should have reached based on the money received from the Kano state government.
Information request sent to the B.K.I Building and Civil Engineering Company Limited via their official email obtained from sources ([email protected]), failed to provide the financial progress report of the contract.
The company declined comment on the status of the contract expenditures, rather directed the reporter to the Ministry for Higher Education to obtain the necessary information.
In addition, the company failed to explain to the reporter why it could not provide the financial progress report for careful scrutiny.
Similarly, In a separate contract, Kano state government approved the sum of N25,176,308,00 million for construction of clinic/sickbay at Ganduje Gifted Academy in Dawakin Tofa area council of the state.
The contract, awarded to Ngaloma Construction Company Limited which was billed to have been completed in May, 2021 was obviously abandoned.
The Ganduje Gifted Academy has not been put to use since establishment in November, 2020. The school was billed to admit five brilliant children after completion from each of the 44 local government areas of the state.
According to the immediate past commissioner of education, Mal. Muhammad Sanusi Kiru, the school will also award 2 slots to each of the 19 northern states.
A visit to the Ganduje community paints an agonizing experience as this newspaper discovered that the school was bushy with leaky roofs.
Similarly, this reporter observed that millets was planted in the compound, while weeds had taken over some part of the surroundings where it now serves as an abode to deadly reptiles posing a significant threat to the neighboring communities.
This reporter had also discovered that some residents in the surrounding localities capitalized on the abandoned structures to be fetching water from the tap attached to one of the school building that have been left unused.
Consumables drugs, Office furniture, Other Accessories Missing in the Non-operational clinic
The sum of N16,021,700,00 million was awarded to the Sight Boost Clinic and General Services Limited, for the procurement of the clinic equipment, instruments, consumables essential drugs, office furniture and accessories, according to the document obtained from Bureau of Public Procurement.
Exclusive document obtained from the state Bureau of Public Procurement revealed that the state ministry of education said the contract was successfully executed.
However, a tour in to the surrounding of the school, including the nonfunctional structure of the clinic under reference, revealed that all the alleged provision of office equipment, consumables drugs, sick beds, and other medical essentials could not be found.
A freedom of Information Request dated 12-10-2022, sent to the Ministry of Education for details on the contract could not attract response as at the time of compiling this report.
How Public Procurement Act 2007, Violated In the Award of Contract to Some Companies
In gross violation to the Procurement Act 2017, investigation revealed that inactive companies on the Corporate Affairs Commission website were awarded contracts by Kano state government.
The Act states that “A bidder may have its bid or tender excluded if the bidder is in arrears regarding payment of due taxes, charges, pensions or social insurance contributions unless such bidders have obtained a lawful permit in respect to allowance, the difference of such outstanding payments or payment thereof in installments”.
An inactive company is one that has failed to file financial returns for at least two years and so no company listed as inactive by the Corporate Affairs Commission should be awarded contract by any government.
The companies not listed or indicate inactive on the Corporate Affairs Commission portal are not eligible for contracts from the government.
Thus, raising questions on how the B.I.K Building and Civil Engineering Company Limited, Sight Boost Clinic and General Services Limited and Ngaloma Construction Company Limited were found eligible for the contracts by Kano state government.
A public search on the Corporate Affairs Commission, C.A.C, website could not found B.I.K Building and Civil Engineering Company Limited.
Also, another check at the Corporate Affairs Commission website’s indicate that the Sight Boost Clinic and General Services Limited was registered with a number, 1524704 on 13, September, 2018 with a registration address at N0.1 Iyaka Road, Kano.
An on the spot visit to the address provided by the company at the No.1 Iyaka road by this reporter, the company traces could not be found. The No.1 Iyaka road in Kano is a house to the Islamic Foundation of Nigeria.
However, the status of Ngaloma Construction Company Ltd is unknow according to Corporate Affairs Commission’a website and NG-Check.com.
Kano State Bureau of Public Procurement Reacts
In a reaction to this development, a source within Kano state Bureau of Public Procurement said all companies must be subjected to verification before approval of non-objection or otherwise is given to the ministries prior to the award of a contract.
The source stated this in a phone conversation with our reporter.
He said, it s the responsibility of the supervising ministries to provide information on the financial progress of each contact not the Bureau of Public Procurement.