Tuesday, June 24, 2014 6:06 pm
Lagos – Gov. Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State on Tuesday explained how his government utilised the $90 million (N13.5 billion) World Bank Education Loan it obtained in 2009.
Fashola, who gave the explanation in Lagos while launching a book entitled “Eko Project: A Legacy of Excellence,” said that there was nothing to hide as the funds had been deployed judiciously.
The governor dispelled rumours peddled by some groups on the matter, saying they were “unfounded.’’
He said that the loan, which was obtained to fund teaching and learning infrastructure under the State`s Eko Secondary Education Project, was achieving its purpose as it had significantly improved students’ performance.
“Some people have made unsubstantiated allegations against us that we have stolen World Bank money
“But in this government, our collateral is our collective integrity. We have nothing to hide. That is why when we mark our every 100 days in office, we give account to the people because we have nothing to hide.
“The results of our N13.5billion World Bank Education loan are in the open for everybody to see. And those who are managing the funds are providing the details of how they are spending the loan.
“So nothing really to hide. The money is not in our hands, it is in the hands of the schools and the funds are being used judiciously,’’ he said.
Fashola explained that the loan was to improve teaching and learning infrastructure in schools with a view to raise education standards.
The governor said the deployment of the funds had helped students in public examinations as their performance had improved from seven per cent in 2009 to 41 per cent in 2013.
He said that he was satisfied with the results of the intervention, urging teachers to work toward achieving 61 per cent in students’ performance in the nearest future.
Also, Ms. Ronke Azeez, Special Adviser to the Governor on Eko Project, in her detailed explanation, said the $90 million loan provided direct funding to schools between 2009 and 2013.
Azeez said that N2.4 billion of the loan was spent on the training of 16, 445 teachers and 7, 998 principals during the period.
According to her, N2.1 billion was spent on students tracking and assessment over the period while N480 million was spent on teachers mentoring programme and allowances of volunteer teachers.
The Special Adviser said an average of N10 million was released to each of the 667 schools during the period while N40 million was released to each of the 104 federal Unity Schools under the Step-B project
Azeez said the government procured 839 projectors, 753 Internet modems, 3,441 software and 656 generators for schools.
“To improve reading culture during the period, the government created 525 libraries, 305,000 textbooks, 423 students’ workbooks and about 10,899 reference materials,” she said.
She said the government spent some of the funds on 7,786 white boards, 20,592 mathematical sets, 4,668 teaching modules and procurement of 52, 532 furniture.
Azeez said the World Bank had given the state a pass mark on the funds utilisation and rated the Eko project as highly satisfactory.
She said the launched book was a documentation of all the activities of project during the period and the different projects executed.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that a group, Socio Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) had in Dec. 2013 sought the order of the Federal High Court, Lagos to direct the state government to release information on its spending of the loan.
SERAP also asked the court to demand details of the projects executed with the loan in the 667 schools across the state in line with the Freedom of Information Act.