The Resource Center For Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED), on Sunday called for full scale investigation on the death of a pupil following the collapse of a school building in Zaria, Kaduna State.
The Executive Director, CHRICED, Ibrahim Zikirullahi, made the call in Zaria during a town hall meeting on the state of UBEC/SUBEB interventions in Kauru, Kubau and Zaria LGAs.
According to Zikirullahi, the deceased, Musa Umaru, an 11-year-old primary four pupil of Umar Isa LGEA Primary School, Dembo in Zaria Local Government Area, died when a pillar of a classroom collapsed on him.
He said that the school building was poorly constructed in 2013.
“We are calling on government to investigate this incident, hold the contractor who built the school accountable and also reach out to the family of the boy in question”.
Represented by Armsfree Ajanuku, Media Associate, CHRICED, the director lamented that, even where no death occurred, the tragic consequences of sentencing children to learn in poor environment must be addressed.
He expressed dismay over the poor infrastructure and lack of required inputs to make learning possible in primary schools.
“We see these realities everyday in school buildings without roofs, classrooms without furniture, absence of functional toilets and running water, thereby creating hygiene crisis which jeopardizes the health of the children”.Zikirullahi noted that many schools within the LGAs where projects are being monitored, lacked fences, which exposed children to security threats and vandalism of the already inadequate structures.
He therefore called on communities to make enquiries about fundings, progress and quality of work on SUBEB projects and also show interest in understanding projects and other interventions relating to basic education.
“Communities should note that goverment devotes a certain portion of public funds to basic foundational education.
“They need to enquire if these resources are being utilized efficiently and if the projects match the resources allocated.
“If otherwise, then people should raise concern and show commitment in addressing the accountability problems”.
A participant at the meeting, who doubles as District Head of Kubau and a monitor of UBEC/SUBEB projects in various communities, Ayuba Abdullahi, complained of lack of teachers in schools.
“There are about ten existing schools in Kubau with a population of about 300 pupils in a class without teachers.
“The newly recruited teachers who were transferred to our communities sought transfer and left to teach in other LGAs.
“They complain of security challenges despite our assurances of their safety in our communities. Our children are helpless despite their zeal to learn”.
Another participant, who is also a tracker of school projects, Yusha’u Abubakar, complained of abandoned schools and uncompleted projects.
“The newly recruited teachers complained of not being paid for seven months while other teachers that have been in active service and promoted to higher level are yet to receive salary upgrade”.
While responding to issues raised at the meeting, the Assistant Director, Social Mobilization, SUBEB, Aminu Ibrahim said teachers with salary arrears had some problems, which the goverment is working to resolve.
“On the issue of abandoned schools and uncompleted projects, we will do a follow-up and make investigations.
“But we must not forget to appauld this present administration’s reforms in the education sector which has made remarkable impact on the lives of the ordinary people across the state”.
Also speaking, the representative of Zazzau Emirate, Sarkin Kasuwan Zazzau, Alhaji Abdullahi Bamalli, urged both goverment and project trackers to draw out modalities to address the challenges affecting the sector.
“The issues raised in the meeting regarding the poor state of some of the schools are crucial as it affect our children’s future.
“There is need for goverment to urgently address them. Goverment needs to also track contractors in order to achieve efficient delivery”, Bamalli stressed.