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Market Blocks Converted to Primary School in Niger Despite N11 Million Allocation

The only primary school in Lukoro, a town about 140 kilometres away from Minna, the capital city of Niger state, is being constructed on a site originally earmarked to house a market.

                                               Photo of the converted market blocks
I recently paid a visit to Lukoro to host an advocacy awareness programme on the construction of a single  block of 3 class rooms for the Lukoro Primary School project. The project was nominated by Hon.
Ahmed Abu, a house of reps’ member representing Lavun/ Edati /Mokwa Federal Constituency with an N11 million allocation

I interacted with leaders within the community namely, Mallam Mohammed K Jubril, Alh Suileman Usman and Yakubu Isah. Two persons among these leaders hold the positions of chairman of the Youth Development Association and the Headmaster of the school respectively. These men acknowledged the inclusion of the project in the 2017 budget but admitted to not being able to ascertain the budgeted amount for the project

Tracka is a community of active citizens tracking the implementation of government projects in various communities in order to ensure service delivery whilst demanding accountability in governance. The Tracka team distributed the 2017 printed federal government budget publications to residents of Lukoro community, urging them to follow up with projects in their community by demanding accountability from their representatives. We believe development in any nation is a function of a leadership which subscribes to the principle of accountability at various levels.

                       Photo of Tracka engagement with community stakeholders
It was observed that the construction of the single block of three classrooms had yet to commence and the existing construction was done on a market store built by the Federal Ministry of Work
as a donation to the community a long time ago. A single block of five stores was constructed for the market space but since the space was not big enough for use by the community, it was converted into classrooms in order for children in the community to be able to acquire primary education.

Three of the stores were sectioned into Primary 1-3, thereby accommodating close to 86 pupils. The other two stores were used for the Headmaster’s office and staff room for the teacher. We observed pupils sitting on the floor during classes with no adequate teaching aids in sight. In short, the environment falls short of a manageable low-cost school. The Headmaster takes all subjects,  moving intermittently one class to another as there are no teachers to take many subjects.  His salary is being paid from the proceeds of financial contributions from community members.

                                               Photo of the pupils sit on the bare floor

I was informed by the headmaster  that there is always  a set-back for  pupils who  reached primary 3 but can’t further their education because there are no classes to accommodate them.

I listened with sadness as the headmaster further narrated how the execution of the project will help boost the standard of education in the community as parents would be encouraged to enroll  their children in  school. ‘BudgIT is our voice to the government’, he said with a glimmer of hope in his eyes.

For the estimated 6000 residents of Lukoro community, it is indeed  sad that the only presence of the dividends of democracy in the town is a primary school constructed on a market space. The community is also in dire need of potable water and health care facilities in order to ensure better living conditions for the community members.

 

Published in Federal Government Report Tracka

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