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Lagos school furniture not delivered, despite contract awards

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• SUBEB Not Aware Of Non-delivery, Yet Got N41.6m To Monitor Projects
• Claims Information Wrong

A good number of the furniture to be supplied to schools in Lagos State as stated in the Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) year 2016 action plan, has not been delivered despite the fact that SUBEB awarded the contract.SUBEB, in an October 27, 2017 advertisement in one of the national newspapers, called for submission of bids to supply furniture and it gave three months as delivery period.

In the invitation for bid advertised by SUBEB, it said bid must be delivered before noon of November 9, 2017, as bids submitted would be opened on that day by noon.  In the 2016 action plan, SUBEB had a N2.08 billion budget to execute projects in four key areas, of which N176.79m was allocated for 6, 290 furniture projects. The furniture projects included procurement of 322 Early Childhood Care Development Education (ECCDE) furniture to cost N10.304m; 3840 pupils furniture valued at N96m; 1, 882 students furniture estimated to cost N50.8m and 246 teachers furniture to cost N19.68m.
 
Twenty-four schools were to benefit from the supply of teachers’ furniture; 14 primary schools and 10 junior secondary schools.For the ECCDE furniture, 33 schools were to benefit, while 38 primary schools and 21 junior secondary schools were to benefit from the supply of desks and chairs.

 
The Guardian, however, learnt that while some schools in the state have got their allocation, others got incomplete allocation. Some did not even get any. During the visit to these schools, it was observed that they are still in need of desks and chairs.
 
Some of the schools in Surulere Local Council expected to benefit from the project are New Era Girls’ Junior Secondary School, which was allocated 10 teachers’ furniture; Eric Moore Junior Grammar School, which was given 90 students’ furniture; Adebola Baptist Junior Secondary School was billed to get 90 students’ furniture, while Surulere Junior Secondary and Itole Junior Girls’ Secondary Schools were to get 10 teachers’ furniture each.
 
Findings revealed that none of the above schools in Surulere got their furniture, as at the end of July 2018. It was also gathered that in each of these schools, there are dearth of furniture with students sitting on the floor in some classes. It was also gathered that schools in Surulere were not the only ones denied their supply. Some schools in Agege, Amuwo-odofin, Mushin and Apapa local councils are still waiting for their supply. Nonetheless, schools such as Bishop Howell’s Memorial primary School, Wright Memorial Primary School, National Primary School; all in Somolu have received their furniture.
 
It was learnt that while some schools in Mushin got furniture, it was not the figure expected to be supplied that was delivered. For instance, Ilupeju Junior Secondary School was expected to get 90 students’ furniture, it got only 50 just like Sanya Junior Grammar School in Surulere, which got 59 desk and chairs instead of 90.  It was also learnt that the furniture meant for Community Primary School, Work-yard, was diverted to Majolete Primary School.
 
Ironically, while many of the furniture projects in the 2016 action have not been delivered to schools, Lagos SUBEB has commenced the implementation of the 2017 action plan with the call for bid around May-June this year.When The Guardian told the Chairman of SUBEB, Dr. Ganiu Sopeyin, about the non-supply of furniture to some schools and partial supply to others, he said the board did not have any deficit in supply of furniture. He also said he had not heard about the partial and non-supply.
 
“I am sure nothing like that happened. If you say what we have supplied is not enough, fine. Government is working and will continue to work at providing adequate facilities in our schools. As we are speaking now, contract has been awarded for supply of furniture to schools. Do not forget the nature of Lagos; people come in droves, even outside Nigeria. “So we will continue to require more infrastructure in schools, but I can tell you our governor, Akinwunmi Ambode is so passionate about education, especially basic education.”
 
When the reporter gave him specific cases of partial and non-delivery of furniture to schools, he claimed the information the reporter got was not correct.“People that have told you do so on the basis of what they need in their schools. Like I told you, it is not only their schools, we have so many schools, 1018 primary schools that we are supposed to provide furniture for, aside junior schools. And we would not say because in this school, they require 90, there are other schools where they also need furniture and so all the 90 we have, will go straight to a school. We have to ration the supply till all the schools get.”
   
On whether there was no due diligence before the allocation was done and contract awarded, Sopeyin argued that there was due diligence, though sometimes after collation of data of the needs of each school and awarding contracts, some public-spirited individuals might come to the aid of the schools and it would not be appropriate to still supply such schools the furniture.He also claimed that when the furniture is being donated to the school, especially through old students, SUBEB is usually not carried along, which gives room for hiccups.
   
Ironically, in the same 2016 action plan that provided details of school projects to be executed, a whopping N41.65m was budgeted to supervise/monitor projects, with at least, three visits to verify the execution of projects; yet they claim not to be aware of lapses.

The Chairman, Parents Forum for Public Primary Schools in Agege Local Council, Mr. Kazeem Salau, buttressed The Guardian’s findings when he said Moses Orimolade Primary School, Agege, was expected to get 10 ECCDE furniture in the 2016 action plan, but which have not been delivered. He claimed that in the 2015 action plan, the same school was allotted 10 ECCDE furniture, but not one delivered till date.According to him, at a meeting earlier this year with a SUBEB senior official, when the non-delivery of the 2015 furniture was raised, they were told that the process has not been completed, but the furniture would be supplied.


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