Building Collapse: CHRICED seeks investigation in school boy’s death

Asmau Halilu,Kaduna

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The Resource Center For Human Rights and Civic Education, CHRICED calls on Kaduna State government to investigate the incident of a school building pillar collapse which resulted to the death of a school boy in Zaria Local Government Area.

The Executive Director, CHRICED, Ibrahim Zikirullahi made the call at an interactive town hall meeting on the state of UBEC/SUBEB interventions in Kauru, Kubau and Zaria LGAs of Kaduna State which held in Zaria.

According to Zikirullahi, the deceased, Musa Umaru, an eleven year old was a primary four pupil of Umar Isa LGEA Primary School, Dembo in Zaria Local Government Area, died from the tragic incident because the the school building in question was poorly constructed in 2013.

We are calling on government to investigate this accident, 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 deaths are not the result of such incidents, the tragic consequences of sentencing children to living with the outcome of poor learning environment needs to 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 further mentioned that, there are many schools within the LGAs where projects are being monitored that lack fences which exposes children to security threats and vandalism of the already inadequate structures available.

He therefore called on communities to make inquiries about funding, 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 government devotes a certain portion of public funds to basic foundation education, they need to inquire 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 questions at the meeting, the Assistant Director, Social Mobilization SUBEB, Aminu Ibrahim said those teachers with salary arrears were found with problems which government is working on resolving.

On the issue of abandoned schools and uncompleted projects, we will do a follow-up and make investigations. But we must  not forget to applaud this present administratio’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 the Zazzau emirate, Sarkin Kasuwan Zazzau, Alhaji Abdullahi Bamalli urged both government and project trackers to draw out modalities to address the challenges affecting the sector.

The issues raised in this meeting regarding the poor state of some of the schools are crucial as it affects our children’s future, hence, the need for government to urgently address them. Government needs to also track contractors in order to achieve efficient delivery”, Bamalli stressed.

Ime Njoku