At Kpotun Woro Primary School, the only primary school in Kpotun Woro — a community of 4,000 people in Agaie Local Government Area of Niger State — majority of the pupils receive classes sitting on the bare ground under mango trees.
This is despite the budgeting of N12million, in 2017, for the construction of “a block of three classrooms, with office”.
Kpotu Woro is about 140 kilometres away from Minna, the capital city of Niger State. The primary school is the only one in the community.
The school, which has 160 students, has only one block of three classrooms, which was built by the Niger State Universal Basic Education Board (NSUBEB) in October 2017.
One of the three classrooms has been converted to an office and staff room, leaving only two classrooms for pupils in Primary 1 to 6.
From the entryway into the school compound, the sight of many students cramped in the classrooms and many more under mango trees is easy to behold. Some students come to school with sacks, and place them on the floor before sitting on the ground.
Displeased with the state of the school, the head teacher told Tracka/SaharaReporters: “When the sun is so intense, pupils are advised to go home and now that raining season is approaching, it will be worse if shelter is not provided.”
An advocacy visit to the community by Tracka — a group of active citizens monitoring the implementation of government projects to ensure service delivery — showed that the community was ignorant of a budget provision to build and furnish another block of classrooms for the school.
The information in the 2017 Budget read: CONSTRUCTION AND FURNISHING OF 1 BLOCK OF 3 CLASSROOMS WITH OFFICE IN KPOTUN WORO PRIMARY SCHOOL, AGAIE LGA, NIGER SOUTH SENATORIAL DISTRICT, NIGER STATE. Sani Mohammed is the senator representing the area, which is under the Niger South Senatorial District; N12million was allocated for the project.
“We are not aware of the said project. We are just hearing of it for the first time a block of three classrooms with office was allocated to the community” the headmaster of the school said, confusion written all over his face.
To provide written evidence, the Tracka team shared printed copies of the 2017 FG Budget to residents of Kpotun Woro and encouraged them to follow up on projects in the community, and demand for accountability from their representatives.
Satisfied with the sensitization programme, the residents promised intensive follow-up to ensure implementation of the project.
On June 4, Tracka wrote a Freedom of Information (FoI) letter to the Ministry of Education to inquire about the implementation status of the project.
“As we await the ministry’s response, nothing has changed for the students of Kpotun Woro Primary School: some still learn, sitting cramped in classrooms, while others learn under the tree,” said Tracka official Uadamen Imoukhuede Ilevbaoje.
“However, to improve the quality of life in Kpotun Woro, the community needs more than a good primary school. The community also lacks potable water and healthcare facilities, making them susceptible to diseases, and making quality healthcare difficult to access.”