News Column

Lagos Govt Urged to Declare State of Emergency On Education

July 2, 2014

Chukwudi Nweje

The Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL) has demanded that the Lagos State Government declare a state of emergency in its education sector.

This came on the heels of the defence put up by the Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, against the allegations that the state mismanaged the $90m loan given to it by the World Bank for improving educational standard.

The governor had during the inauguration of a book titled, "Lagos Eko Project 2009-2013: A legacy of Excellence", last week claimed that the money was used for what it was meant, adding that the state could give account of how the fund was utilised.

Fashola stressed that those criticising the state needed to be well informed about the policies of government, noting that a committee was set up to monitor the use of the fund.

However, Executive Chairman of the Coalition, Debo Adeniran maintained that the activities of the state government have been shrouded in secrecy, making it difficult for Lagosians to believe the governor.

He said "The activities of Governor Fashola's administration have been ones shrouded in so much secrecy that his word alone is unacceptable. If the state has spent so much on the schools as they claim, why is it not reflecting on the projects they have executed?

"Why are they afraid to allow independent assessors asses the projects vis-a-vis the grants got from the World Bank? These and many questions need to be answered before people could be convinced that the money was judiciously spent as claimed by Mr. Governor.

"This is a government that failed to render its account to Lagosians even when they demanded for it. It is worthy to note that we wrote to the government many times for permission to assess some of the projects the schools claimed they expended the Eko Project Funds on; all we met was brick wall. If the schools, by extension, the government do not have anything to hide, they shouldn't have shielded people from inspecting their projects."

CACOL argued that what was on ground in many schools in the state did not reflect what the governor was claiming.

"Newspapers' reports show that pupils still sit on window sills, broken chairs and even bare floor to receive lessons; no good toilet facilities. Our visits round the Lagos schools reveal that contrary to what the government of Babatunde Raji Fashola is claiming, many schools across the state are in total shambles. Apart from the over-crowdedness of the schools which accommodates almost 80 students in a class, the food given to students in those that are boarding schools is terrible and unsatisfactory while the hostels facilities are in total mess."

He further argued that; "We are also not contending the fact that the teachers are qualified but most of them are only qualified on paper not in practice because the way we discovered some of the teachers treat the pupils didn't show that they put their training into practice in some of those schools.

As a matter of fact, we are calling that a state of emergency be declared on primary, secondary and tertiary education in Lagos State," he said.

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Source: AllAfrica

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