Home Community Development How N50m FG Constituency Project in Kano Municipal Remains a Mirage

How N50m FG Constituency Project in Kano Municipal Remains a Mirage

by Isiyaku Ahmed
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By Hadiza Musa Yusuf

A contract for the Provision of Reading Shades at Tsangaya Schools in Kano Municipal Federal Constituency appears clearly to be a mirage.  

The 2021 Federal Government Consolidated Project document contained the sum of N50 million for the provision of Reading Shades for Tsangaya Schools in Kano Municipal with the project code ERGP554000800, the project type is PPP under education.

The constituency project was initiated as a means to create easy learning for the Almajiris in some selected tsangaya of Kano municipal, as most of the students suffer learning under the scorching sun.

Tsangaya is a form of Islamic education. In Hausa Tsangaya literally means a learning center.

An individual or person who attends tsangaya is called Almajiri, a Hausa word derived from the Arabic word “Almuhajirun”, meaning an emigrant. Almajiri is used to refer to a person who migrates from his home comfort to other environments in search of Islamic knowledge.

A freedom of information request was written to the Executive Secretary, Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) Headquarters in Abuja to get the facts on whether the funds for the project were released, name(s), and contact(s) of the contractors.

However, investigations to ascertain the number and status of the Tsangaya schools showed that there were about 50 Tsangaya schools with an estimated number of 7,200 Almajiri (students) in the Kano Municipal Council.

The statistics revealed that 30 schools account for 80 percent of the total number of students with each having not less than 150 enrolled students mostly from neighboring states.

Nasiru Hamisu is a professional carpenter at Danladi Nasidi estate, Mariri section of Kumbotso Local Government Area of Kano.

He said the N50,000.000.00 (Fifty million Naira) Federal Government constituency project can share N180,000.00 pro-rata to the over 50 tsangaya schools depending on the size and nature of the land, it can construct a shade of 40 x 40 for all the tsangayas.

However, all effort to get the bill of quantity for the award of the contract was frustrating as it looked like the contract was never awarded. A check on www.eyemark.ng to ascertain the status of the project revealed ‘Not Started.’

An on-the-spot assessment visit to one of the Tsangaya schools in the Gwangwazo (What is the name of the school) section of Kano Municipal paints an agonizing experience. The Tsangaya, renowned for higher enrolment (How many students) of the Almajiri was covered with tarpaulins and cement sacks, while about 50 meters of the veranda is an open space.

Malam Sabiu Abubakar, owner of Rabiu Mai sittin tsangaya in Kano municipal PC: Hadiza Yusuf

The students in the tsangaya disclosed that the old tarpaulin-covered veranda was built through a financial contribution of the senior Almajhiri who used to go out for menial jobs after reading sessions.

29 years old Mallam Ghali Musa Bakori is one of the senior Almajiris of the Tsangaya. He hails from Bakori town in Katsina state.

In an interaction with him, he disclosed that he has been in the Tsangaya for close to 8 years and has not seen any government intervention let alone reading shades.  

He laments the obvious negligence of the government and called upon the authority to come to their aid in areas of provision of social amenities to enhance the learning and teaching processes of the Tsangaya.

This Reporter observed that the Almajirai in Gwangwazo Tsangaya, particularly those not covered by the old tarpaulin had no protection against severe cold.

Similarly, another Almajirai Tsangaya was found studying at the mercy of scorching fog without protection. The Tsangaya was named after Mal. Balarabe Musa is located at Yakasai B of the Kano Municipal area council.

A shade at Madarasatul Balarebe Musa Tsangaya, Kano municipal                   PC: Hadiza Yusuf

At Madarasatul Balarebe Musa Tsangaya, located at Yakasai B in Kano Municipal LGA, is one of the tsangaya schools visited by this reporter. The school which was founded in 2006 is known as a training center for Islamic education and has graduated over seven hundred almajirai.

In the school, there was no provision for shades, and most of the students study sparsely in a tiny, unplastered room while others are in an open space as if they were on break time.

Sadiq Umar is a student of the Tsangaya; he revealed that about 50 students are currently sleeping in a small room that is also used for reading.

”I and other students sleep in this room. This is the only room we have here and during day time we use the room for reading or use the neighbor’s veranda which is where they rare livestock.

“It is either enduring the smell of urine and excretes of these animals or enduring the heat in our room, which most of us are already used to,” Umar disclosed.

His claims were later confirmed by Malam Balarebe Musa, the owner of the Tsangaya.

Similarly, a visit to Madarasatul Nurul Quran, at Lallokin Lemo in Kano Municipal, LGA, which was founded in 2008, revealed that no shades were constructed and many students take their Islamic lessons in an open space under the sun.

On 5th October 2022, a visit to Nurul Quran revealed that a large section of the pupil study in the evening because of exposure to the sun. 

A senior student of the Tsangaya, Aminu Abdullahi lamented that for the past ten (10) years he has been a student, no project was constructed by the government.

Alternative shades of one of the tsangaya schools in one of the schools                                        PC: Hadiza Yusuf

He said: “learning under the sun is disturbing as most of us lose focus due to the unavailability of reading space and shades that is why the afternoon recitation was canceled, we only study in the morning from 6 am to 10 am, 4 pm to 6 pm and 9 pm to 10 pm.”

The story is the same at Rabiu Mai Sitin Tsangaya School in Sheshe, Kano Municipal LGA which was established in 1993.

Malam Sabiu Abubakar who is the founder of the schools disclosed that he is not aware of any government project in his tsangaya.

He recounted that the current tsangaya roof was provided by the then Governor Ibrahim Shekarau’s administration in 2008.

“This roof was constructed since the previous administration of governor Shekarau, from that time nothing has been provided in this Tsangaya by any level of government.

“Many of my pupils learn under the sun because the roof is not sufficient to contain all of them.

“Let’s not talk about how we cope during raining season, it’s not a site to see, we sometimes do not read when it’s raining, and the roof leaks badly. 

”I have more than 150 students, we usually use this old shade, neighbor’s frontage, mosques, and other alternatives,” he disclosed.

On his part, Mallam Muhammad Usman, Head Teacher at Muhammadiya Islamiyya School in Kano Municipal, revealed that he has received a lot of promises from lawmakers who come for study visit, but after the survey has been conducted with estimates of what is needed, it turned out to be just words without action.

Students of Balarabe Musa Tsangaya , Yakasai B                                                    PC: Hadiza Yusuf

“Tsangaya schools and their pupils are really suffering, that’s why most tsangaya are now revolutionized into modern islamiyya schools to generate funds in order to sustain the system. 

“This school is a typical example as we have both Tsangaya and islamiyya schools combined.”

“Although some Tsangaya schools are privileged to get help from philanthropists and good neighbors, the system still needs help from the government.

Usman lamented that the government has abandoned them and only visit them during the election period seeking prayers and support.

Of all the over 50 tsangaya schools, 10 were visited for a spot check in different locations in the nook and crannies of the Kano municipal, interactions with teachers and students revealed that no shades were built.

However, all efforts to get the Federal House of Assembly representative of Kano Municipal, Hon. Sha’aban Sharada proved abortive at the time of compiling this report.

Experts react

Ibrahim Garba Maryam, Budget Analyst and Project Manager, Gender and Socially Inclusive, a civil society organization in Kanoshares his perspectives on the implications of none implementation of the project included in the constituency budget as an abuse of power.

“If a representative fails to implement a project while the money is available, it’s an abuse of power.”

“It is an abuse that will lead to underdevelopment and increase the suffering of the people.”

A prominent education advocate and the Kano State Coordinator of Civil Society Action Coalition on Education for All (CSACEFA), Dr. Auwalu Halilu said: “Poor infrastructure brings much increase in the number of dropouts due to congestion, dilapidated classrooms, lack of toilet facilities and more.

“This makes a majority of the school-age children detest school as structures serve as a motivator for students attendance coupled with other factors,” he disclosed.

Dr. Halilu advised the government at all levels in Nigeria to as a matter of urgency address the issue with a pragmatic approach which includes remodeling and re-branding the Almajiri or tsangaya system of learning and empowering the indigents.

An insight on the health implication of students reading in an open space, Dr. Musbahu Aminu, a health expert at Rahama Yunur Health Services, Kano revealed that studying under the sun for a long time might lead to cancer due to solar ultraviolet (UV) exposure and sunburns contribute to the pathogenesis of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and malignant melanoma (MM).

He also added that SCC and BCC rarely metastasize, but MM often grows and metastasizes aggressively, with a high rate of mortality. “Actinic keratosis is another type of lesion caused by sun exposure and is now considered an early form of SCC.

UBEC ignores FoI Request

Efforts to get information at the Universal Basic Education Board Commission in Kano were rebuffed.

FoI Request to UBEC, Abuja                                                                        PC: Hadiza Yusuf

A Freedom of Information (FoI) request sent to UBEC, Abuja on 8 November 2022, through Mustapha Suraj Logistics services has also not been responded to after repeated follow-ups.  

The FoI request specifically asked why the Tsangaya Shades constituency project in Kano Municipal has not executed the names of the contractors who were awarded the project.

To this moment no correspondence on the FoI request from UBEC Headquarters in Abuja.

This publication is produced with support from the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ) under the Collaborative Media Engagement for Development Inclusivity and Accountability Project (CMEDIA) funded by MacArthur.

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