The stench and buzzing flies from human faeces greeted this reporter when he approached an abandoned building in Ansar-Ud-Deen Grammar School, Erin-Osun in Osun State.
Already taken over by weeds, the one-storey building within the expansive school compound is a structure with 32 classrooms meant to serve the school.
As part of his 2018 constituency projects, the project was facilitated by the then Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Lasun Yusuf.
It was awarded to Americlean Global Services at the cost of N200 million.
This reporter noticed that the structure had been erected, roofed, and some parts plastered, but most of the finishing works, including the hanging of windows and doors, had not commenced.
Why the project was abandoned
Residents privy to the project said construction started in the school after the contract was awarded in 2018. However, before the actual construction, the contractor had started renovating some buildings within the school.
Saka Maruf, an aide to Mr Yusuf, who is also an indigene of Erin-Osun, said the contractor started renovation in the school instead of constructing a new building.
“The controversy surrounding that project started after a town hall meeting in Erin-Osun here, where honourable mentioned the construction of classrooms at the school as one of the projects he was facilitating in the community. But I was already privy to renovation work going on at the school. Since we couldn’t publicly challenge his speech, I later visited him at his home to inform him of an ongoing renovation at the school.
“Then he informed me that what he facilitated was construction and not renovation, he immediately called UBEC, so the following day, I went to the school where I met with the contractor, and the renovation was eventually stopped, that is why if you go to the school, you will see some of the renovated buildings were not painted, Mr Maruf said.”
However, before the construction started, the contractor had already spent money on renovation, creating a fund shortage for the main work.
Lawmaker not happy about the mix-up
In a telephone conversation, Mr Yusuf expressed frustration at the continuous visits of project trackers to the project site, saying that he knew about the renovation work late.
“Do you know how painful it was to me that that project was not completed? It is the only one out of about 13 or 14 schools that I facilitated while in office. I had my modern school at that school between 1973 and 1975. I facilitated the building of all the schools that I attended because education is important to me. Those of us who go to public office, we are so determined to contribute to society,” he said
Mr Yusuf hinted he would use personal funds to complete the project if eventually it’s not completed by the contractor. He asked UDEME to speak to the supervising agency Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), on the project.
A paucity of funds stalling the project
The contractor handling the project, Kevin Ayogu, also cited a paucity of funds as the reason for the project’s abandonment.
When UDEME contacted him, he confirmed that a renovation was initially done, not a fresh construction.
“So because (part of) the money had already been spent on renovation, I have to be doing it from my end. What I do now is that whenever I do another project and make money from other sources (I spend on the project) and that is how we came to the stage we are now.”
When asked about who was meant to clarify the kind of project to be executed, he explained that he was issued a certificate for renovation and was initially paid for renovation.
The Public Relations Officer of UBEC, David Apeh, could not answer questions about the project but asked UDEME to write officially to request. As of press time, the Freedom of Information request submitted on August 11 has not been responded to.
More classrooms needed
Opeyemi Yusuf, a former student and Liaison Officer of the school’s Old Students’ Association, said the shortage of classrooms is one of the significant challenges in the school.
“The last time we went to the school, and while trying to get information on where they might need intervention, classes are one of the areas they needed intervention, but the union is not that buoyant, so we couldn’t go into that project of being able to provide classes for them,” he stated.
The principal of the school, who simply identified himself as Mr Sijuwade, could not say much about the project.
“The building has been there since I got transferred to this school about two years ago. At a time, one contractor came, and they started doing some things there. All of a sudden, not even up to two or three weeks, the work stopped, and since then, the project has been abandoned.”
Disadvantaged Youths Cry Out For Speedy Implementation Of The At-Risk Youths Project
Barely a month after the government of Liberia and its partners launched the National Fund Drive for the Rehabilitation of…
Oyo Residents Lament As Erected Transformer Not Connected To Power Grid
Sometime in 2020, Kola Balogun, a federal lawmaker representing Oyo South Senatorial District, presented a 300KVA electrical transformer to the…