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Thursday, May 23, 2024

How Abandoned Multi-Million SISs in Kano Forced Students Stay at Home

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Lukman Abdulmalik 
In 2013, Kano State Government, during administration of Dr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso budgeted the sum of N1,800,000,000 for the establishment of Senior Islamic Secondary Schools in all the 44 Local Government Areas, LGAs.
The establishment of the schools was meant to mainstream Islamiyya school students into the institutions which will empower them as graduates through obtaining a Grade II teacher’s certificate.
A document obtained from the Kano State  Ministry of Finance and Economic  Development website published in 2020 revealed additional part payments made by the immediate past government to some contractors to establish SIS as well as continue the implementation of the schools.
In this investigation Lukman Abdulmalik revealed  how SIS Projects were abandoned 14 years after the project was awarded, as some beneficiaries are yet to see the light of day, while others have been left to rot and produce storage facilities.
Ghost SIS Project in Kunchi 
The Senior Islamic School (GGSIS) was introduced and established by the former Kano state governor, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso.
During his administration in 2013, millions of Naira were allocated for the establishment of the SIS schools.
However, the administration also spent a huge amount of money on the upgrading and completion of the schools.
On 19 February, 2024, on a visit to Kunchi town in Kunchi LGA, this reporter observed that the town is less busy with academic activities.
A visit to the site by this reporter revealed that there was no trace of the SIS structure, as only a flat land and a project signboard was installed without execution.
Abandoned SIS site in Kunchi LGA. PC: Lukman Abdulmalik
Sajida Abubakar, a 14-year-old girl who had completed her basic Islamic education, lived across from the phantom SIS school.
Due to the lack of a Senior Islamic School in her town, Sajida was seen standing by the side of the road wearing her Islamiyya headscarf and appearing dejected.
In 2020, Sajida graduated from Hubbul Nabby, an Islamiyya where basic islamic studies are being taught.
She told this reporter that “I have memorized the holy Quran and other basic islamic books, but I am yet to continue with my islamic education.
Sajida Abubakar. PC: Lukman Abdulmalik
Currently, I have returned to my previous Islamiyya to learn more about Quranic teaching.”
Not only Sajida, there are other young girls who are willing to further their islamic education but are now stranded as some of them either hawk, marry or stay at home.
Zahairu Abdullahi, 45, the village leader of Kunchi town, said more than 100 teenage females who have finished their basic Arabic studies and are willing to further are sitting at home due to a lack of Islamic schools.
“Most parents have no means to send their children far-away to study.
“But some parents who have the passion to further their children islamic education will have to send them to Bichi, Kazaure in Jigawa, Kura or Bagwai.
“The absence of the Senior Islamic School in Kunchi town is seriously affecting our educational system in this community.”
These irregularities occurred after awarding the contract to U.Y.K Nig. Ltd to establish SIS in Kunchi at a sum of N33,335,281.24 million in 2020.
Project Information Document
UYK Nigeria Ltd was incorporated on 14 May 1998 with the registration number, 334811, its current status is unknown.
On Ngcheck website the company’s registered office address is 37, Bello Dandago Road, Sabon-Gari, Kano.
Tracking the location, this reporter discovered that the contracting company has moved to No. 1b Ungogo Road Kano, a visit to the location it was discovered that no such name exists in that location.
However awarding contract to U.Y.K Nig ltd, an inactive company contravenes section 16 of the Public Procurement Acts under the title: ‘Fundamental principles for procurements’ which spells out these requirements: “All bidders in addition to requirements contained in any solicitation documents shall: have fulfilled all its obligations to pay taxes, pensions, and social security contributions; not have any director who has been convicted in any country for any criminal offense relating to fraud or financial impropriety or criminal misrepresentation or falsification of facts relating to any matter,” section 16 (6) (d) (e) of the act read.
However, the BPP warned that “any false declaration and submission could lead to prosecution, debarment, and disqualification for 10 years from public procurement in line with the provision of section 58 of PPA, 2007.”
Diversion of Project in Wudil
Not only in Kunchi also  in Wudil LGA, there is absence of the SIS project.
After several inquiries by this reporter discovered that the school is situated in Dagumawa community.
Discrete investigation revealed that the SIS was later diverted into a school of technical college, leading to the absence of SIS in Wudil.
However Abdullahi  Usman, an elite in Wudil confirmed to have known about the project which he said was not implemented and executed till date.
He added that they’re are over 1000 students in wudil who want to further their education in islamic school which most of them cannot due to the non-existence of the school.
Aliyu Nasir, 12, has also completed his basic islamic but currently attending government secondary school in wudil.
“I would have preferred the Senior Islamic School, than attending formal education, because I want to have more islamic knowledge.
“If I should have a chance or we will get the SIS in our community, I will quit and register.”
In an interview with a top official at Islamic Secondary School Board, wudil, revealed that although the school was constructed in Dagumawa of Wudil LGA, the Kano state government diverted the SIS with Technical College.
“This diversion of project has caused many students not having easy access to study Islamic education, except they travel to Kano or other neighboring states to study.
“To date, nobody has explained to us the reason for the conversion of the SIS and the land allocated for the construction of the S.I.S is still stranded in the local government 10 years after.”
Bunkure SIS Left to Rot
At Bunkure Local Government Area, just from the outside alone, you can tell that the school environment is conducive to learning.
Although it is a public school, the environment looks appealing to the pupils and their teachers.
In Bunkure town, it was confirmed by this reporter that the establishment of the SIS project was already awarded and completed by the previous government.
However despite being completed, the school according to Usman Abubakar an elder in Bunkure town, said it has been abandoned and left to rot for over 8 years.
He added that “Some part of the school has turned to farmlands due to absence of academic activities.
“Also, the unused Bunkure SIS school in the evening is turning into a chamber of drug abusers and smokers due to the school not being well secured which also attracts vandalism.”
This reporter discovered that the school administrative block, which is intended to supervise and direct the school’s academic activities, has been converted into a storage facility for farm products and other farming items.
SIS in Bunkure. PC: Lukman Abdulmalik
Bello Dan Hassan, a resident in Bunkure and also a staff at Kano state teachers board explained that the establishment of SIS has not achieved its goals yet.
He added that “the students that finished primary or islamic studies  in bunkure, their school management will send their names to  Kano State Ministry Education for admission.
“After screening the ministry will admit both students from Bunkure to the established SIS in Kura.
“However, this resulted due to the non-functioning of the SIS in Bunkure. If the school is functioning, the one in Kura will not be congested, and it will also minimise the expense of commuting for the pupils in Bunkure.”
He stated that the government’s lack of monitoring resulted in the abandonment of SIS schools in Kano, with only 10 fully constructed and operational as of now, including Kura, Ajingi, Gaya, Bichi, Bagwai, Gwarzo, and Karaye while the rest of the are either abandoned or ghost by contractors.
The establishment of SIS Bunkure was awarded to Armtech Consult Ltd., at a sum of N101,752,235.77 million, the contracting company is a private company limited by shares that was incorporated 03 January 2014.
Project Document
Investigation revealed that it was registered shortly before the contract was awarded.
However, award of the contract contravenes Section 16 of the Public Procurement Act stipulates that for any company to get a contract, it has to have been in existence for three years, during which it would have been paying taxes and filing returns, among other obligations.
The project awarded to Armtech Consult Ltd by the Kano Ministry of Education is currently not being utilized by the primary section as verified by this reporter, thereby violating the provisions of the Federal Public Procurement Act of 2007.
Section 16 (1) e and f of this act provides that “All public procurement should be conducted with the aim of “achieving value for money and fitness for purpose” and in a manner which promotes economy and efficiency.
According to Barrister Isah Abdulazeez, a Kano-based private legal practitioner at Abu-ruqqaya Legal Consult, explained that this means that the service being provided must be appropriate for the public institution that wishes to use it.
As a result, the project in question did not provide good value for money because it was not used for its intended purpose.
Parents Lament Out of Pocket Spending 
The non-operation of SIS Bunkure in Bunkure LGA is costing parents extra spending because their children enroute 10 kilometres away to study at Dan Hassan SIS in Kura LGA.
Sometimes students have to trek 10 kilometers everyday to attend classes.
As indicated in google map it takes about 13 minutes from Bunkure to Dan Hassan on a car and bus, while 16 minutes on bike and 2 hours 20 minutes if trekking.
Usman Kabir, 65, is a peasant father in Bunkure and expressed that he spent over N700 to N1,000 for transporting his daughter (Amina Kabir) to SIS in Dan Hassan.
He added that “We have the SIS in our community but no academic activities there, due to that it has caused me out of pocket spending.
“Sometimes my daughter stays at home for weeks without attending school due to transportation expenses.
“We urge the current government to open and commission our SIS in Bunkure so that it can relieve many students and parents from spending transportation fare.”
Habibu Usman, 55, resident of Bunkure, has 6 children and also decried expenses of transporting 3 of his children to attend SIS in Dan Hassan.
“On a daily basis around 7am I used to take Amira, Fatima and Abubakar on my bike to school.
“It usually takes me 20 minutes before I can reach Dan Hassan in Kura from Bunkure.
“Whenever my bike is spoiled I usually spend more than N2,000 to transport while sometimes they stay at home.”
This reporter observed that the SIS in Dan Hassan is not a boarding school, but a school that operates on a daily basis.
Former Commissioner Speaks
In an interview obtained by this reporter, the former Commissioner for Education, during the administration of Kwankwaso, Tajuddeen Gambo, revealed that the establishment of the schools was meant to mainstream Islamiyya schools students into the institutions.
Mr. Gambo said after completion, the schools will be empowered to train and graduate students with a certificate equal to the Grade II teacher’s certificate.
He added that “In Kano, a mammoth number of students are graduating from Islamiyya schools but could not proceed with their education because of unavailability of relevant colleges in their immediate environment.”
“These schools will assist significantly after completion to admit students and equip them with Islamic knowledge as well as prepare them for the competitive labour market.”
In an interview with Haruna Umar Doguwa, the current Commissioner of Education stressed that the current government will investigate the matter of all abandoned or unexecuted projects.
“We have started reaching out to some contractors and discussing how we can revive the abandoned schools in all LGAs.’
Experts react
In a conversation with this reporter, Comrade Idrees Shehu Burun-Burum, President of the Society Against Corruption (S.A.C), stated,
“The SIS projects to some extent has become a means of looting funds, so the state government has so many questions to ask regarding this.
“Kano State released 1,800,000,000 as a mobilisation fee and claimed to have deployed contractors in all 44 local governments; yet, how would they explain the absence of schools in some local governments?
“The state government should also explain the reason behind intervention by Universal Basic Education (UBEC) and the mode of the intervention in completing the projects in some local government areas.”
Another expert and also an islamic cleric, Usman Sabiu said the existence of SIS school in Kano LGAs will grow the nature of Arabic knowledge among the younger generation.
“Islamic education is an essential part of any  muslims, so what differentiates Islamic education from regular education is the fact that all the concepts and teachings of Islam are taken from the Holy Quran which is  the sacred scripture of the Islamic religion.
“So the existence of SIS will keep their religion close to their hearts and minds.
“The students learn several new things from their teachers, read Islamic books, and that’s how their interest arises, and they go on to explore more about their religion.
“So, providing formal Islamic education is as or maybe more significant than providing regular education.”
Sabiu added that the absence of SIS schools could lead to illiteracy regarding islamic teaching among young children.
This report was supported by the Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) under its Accountability Project funded by MacArthur Foundation.

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