The people of Tal village in Gombe state have expressed displeasure over the current state of an abandoned school project in their community. Tal community is located in the southern part of Billiri Local Government Area of Gombe state. Majority of the residents depend on agriculture as their source of livelihood while others engage in weaving and hunting.
The Tal school project initiated by Senator Joshua Lidani in 2016 attracted the sum of N15 million budgeted for the construction of an exam hall with furnishing at Government Day Secondary School, Tal. During a visit to the school, the principal, Mr. Maxwell Lasere mentioned that when he contacted the contractor working on the project, he was informed that funds released for the work has been exhausted and the construction would be placed on hold pending another disbursement.
BudgIT Tracking officers held an advocacy programme in the community and wrote a letter to the Senator which brought about a prompt response as furniture for the exam hall was delivered to the school in April 2016. However, the construction of the exam hall has not seen the light of the day since July 2016.
Tracka is a BudgIT initiative which enables citizens to collaborate and give feedback on public projects in communities across the nation. Recently, BudgIT tracking officers revisited the project site and were shocked to find the project in its abandoned state.
Abandoned examination hallThe Government Day Secondary School in Tal which has over 1000 students lack an exam hall which could ensure proper conducts of external examinations such as WEAC and NECO. Oftentimes, most students are deprived of the use of their classrooms in other to make room for those sitting for examinations. Despite continued efforts in engaging Senator Lidani on the completion of the project, nothing has been done. The community desires that the construction is completed so that students can have a conducive exam hall during examination in order to reduce the rate of exam malpractice and improve the standard of education in the area.
It was also observed during the advocacy visit that the security level of the school is at an abysmal low as there is no perimeter fence around the school compound, making it easy for students to sneak in and out of surroundings at will.
BoreholeApart from the absence of amenities suffered by the school, residents of Tal community are also faced with the problem of inadequate water supply. The village head, Mallam Abdullahi explained that the entire community depends on a single solar borehole for water supply. He also added that another neighboring village, Tanglang also depends on the solar borehole even as the pumping machine has become weak, working for just an hour in a day as a result of pressure. Abdullahi further noted that fights often break out when villages struggle to get water from the single pipe serving both communities.
It was learnt that water scarcity has been a serious burden on the community. Efforts at the community level to repair some of the hand pump boreholes has not been successful.