Press release on the state of abandoned school building

Madam press releaseBelow is a copy of the HDI press statement on the state of abandoned school building projects granted on the 17th of September, 2015

Local Governance and Education Project Team Calls Lagos State Government on Completion of Abandoned School Building Projects

Lagos, Thursday, September 17, 2015: Local Governance and Education Project Team is appealing to the Lagos State Government to complete abandoned school buildings located in Yaba, Iwaya and Igbobi areas of Lagos State. The team which comprise of six non-governmental organizations, namely: Human Development Initiatives (HDI), Out-of-School Children Empowerment Foundation (OSCEF), Youth Child Support Initiative (YCSI), Patriotic Citizen Initiatives (PCI), The WellBeing Foundation Africa (WBFA) and Grassroots Health Organization of Nigeria (GHON) is working on a project aimed at improving and enhancing governance and accountability for effective and accessible primary and junior secondary education at the grassroots level.

On behalf of the Local Governance and Education Project Team, we want to commend the Lagos State Government on their impact in the area of education, and also for employing over one thousand primary school teachers recently. According to Nelson Mandela, education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.

Lagos State has about 1,007 primary schools; 348 junior secondary schools and 310 senior secondary schools, but a number of these public schools are confronted with inadequate and non-functional educational facilities such as chairs and desks, inadequate instructional and learning materials, dilapidated buildings, inadequate water and sanitary facilities and so on.

In a statement in Lagos, Mrs. Olufunso Owasanoye, Acting Executive Director, Human Development Initiatives (HDI) said the abandoned 3-story modern building with 24 standard classrooms and 4 staff rooms/offices is situated in four public schools which includes: Onike Girls High School, Yaba; Fazil Omar High School, Iwaya; St. Francis Junior Grammar School, Iwaya; and Igbobi Junior High School, Igbobi. “The buildings almost at the stage of completion with roof, doors and windows were abandoned by the immediate past administration and have continued to deteriorate thereby constituting nuisance.”

Information gathered revealed that construction of the modern school building in each of the above-mentioned schools was awarded by Lagos State Government Lagos Metropolitan Development and Governance Project (LMDGP) to CONTRANSIMEX Nigeria Limited. The construction which commenced on 12th January, 2009 and was expected to be completed by July 2010, is believed to be a World Bank Assisted Project. According to the contractor, “the project was abandoned because the contract was terminated and while trying to reconcile accounts as jointly agreed upon by both parties, the Lagos State Government has hitherto only made part payment, thus the project could not be completed”.

A teaching-learning environment that is conducive would significantly contribute to the attainment of educational objectives. However, “lack or inadequate buildings cum infrastructures remains the plight of most public schools, having positive correlation with decline in the quality of education”. Most classrooms in public schools in Lagos State are congested against international best practices. Without doubt, overcrowded classrooms can disrupt free flow of interaction between teacher and students thereby diminishing the quantity and quality of teaching and learning.

A project of this magnitude should not be abandoned at this point in time when access to quality education is being envisaged. Completion of these modern school buildings becomes necessary as it will go a long way in meeting the basic learning needs of pupils.

We therefore appeal to Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, Governor of Lagos State and Lagos State Ministry of Education on the completion of the abandoned 3-storey school buildings at Onike Girls High School, Yaba; Fazil Omar High School, Iwaya; St. Francis Junior Grammar School, Iwaya; and Igbobi Junior High School, Igbobi for the benefits of the students, teachers, parents, community members and as a way of improving the quality of education in Lagos State.