In the 2022 Federal government budget, two projects were allocated towards improving the experience and transition of secondary school students in Taraba state who would be writing the UTME for admission into higher institutions.
Below are the details of the two projects allocated to JAMB, situated in Taraba state.
|ERGP202200214||CONSTRUCTION OF JAMB CENTRE IN JALINGO, TARABA STATE||NEW||127,500,000||SHEDA SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COMPLEX – ABUJA|
|ERGP202200215||EQUIPPING/PROVISION OF COMPUTERS TO JAMB CENTRE IN JALINGO AND PROVISION OF GENERATOR||NEW||85,000,000||SHEDA SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COMPLEX – ABUJA|
We first tracked this project in August 2022 by visiting the Taraba State JAMB Office to make inquiries. When we notified the CEO, Mrs Veronica Ayuba, she said she was unaware of the project, and no one had contacted her.
She further stated that constructing a JAMB centre would be a welcome development because the current CBT centre owned by the board had only 250 computers and 25 backups.
In May 2023, we revisited the office to ask for an update on the projects, and we were asked to come back another day for a full inspection of the site where the construction was ongoing.
Three days after the second visit, we were taken to the site. It was located in Yagai, Yorro LGA, on the outskirts of Jalingo. A 40-minute drive from the city centre. We were greeted by a one-storey building with one hall on both floors. There was no signage on the field and no sign of ongoing construction. The building was empty, and the roofs were already showing signs of peeling off.
Mrs Ayuba was embittered about the location of the centre, stating that it was far away from the city centre and in an area famed for kidnapping and other forms of insecurity, which would discourage students from actually patronizing the centre because a previous CBT centre cited in the same area was not patronized by candidates and this would ultimately defeat the purpose of the project.
She said there was a free land in the JAMB office that they could have sited the building on, but the contractor did not inform them about the work.
An investigation into the project using www.govspend.ng revealed that N95.9m was paid to Gorrion Engineering LTD on the 23rd of December 2022 for this project. For the second allocation of equipping the centre, N37m was paid to Pure Diamond Consult LTD also on the 23rd of December, 2022. A search on www.ng-check.com revealed both companies are owned by the same man – Kenneth Ejiofor Ifekudu.
This was when we discovered the foul play. Occasionally, we cannot make an assertion on the under-delivery of projects because we understand that allocations do not equal disbursements, and many times, the actual disbursement might be a 50% fraction of the amount budgeted. But in this case, there had clearly been mismanagement of funds and under-delivery of the project.
How can N95m only construct a one-story building without any additional amenities? As of the day we visited, the roofs of the building were already pulling off. This a clear case of using substandard materials and potential collapse in the coming years.
Kenneth Ifekudu is a popular businessman tagged the ‘Czar of Engineering and Construction’. How can a man dubbed an expert in his field deliver such abysmal, shoddy, and foul-play-laced work, with taxpayers’ funds no less?
Despite the disbursement of N37m five months ago to Pure Diamond Consult LTD, no equipment has been disbursed to the site, and we wonder if the equipment will ever be delivered.
We call on the ICPC to investigate this grave mismanagement of public funds by Gorrion Engineering LTD and for an investigation into Pure Diamond Consult LTD to ensure the delivery of the equipment worth the amount paid.
We also strongly condemn SHEDA SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COMPLEX – ABUJA, the implementing agency headed by Professor Paul C. Oyenekwe, for failing to perform its oversight and quality control duties and allowing this brazen mismanagement of public funds to occur. They should also be probed to fish out who allowed this to happen.
Story by Sam Bisong and Ayomide Ladipo