Wednesday, May 30, 2018 12:50 pm
Gov. Abubakar Bello of Niger on Wednesday said his administration had invested more than N4.3 billion on renovation of nine schools under the Whole School Development Approach Programme in the state.
Bello told newsmen in Minna that the funds were expended on renovation of classrooms, toilets, provision of water and furniture for staff and students.
He added that the state government also provided pieces of furniture and electronics for staff in some selected schools, according to the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN.
“When we came on board as government in 2015, we met a system that was almost at the verge of collapse; we had schools that were built but have never seen paint in 40 years.
“Schools that had no toilets, roofs and some of the students sleep on bare floor with no dining halls for those in boarding schools; and that is the same school our children go to.
“Some girls’ schools had no fence and girls were being raped and nothing was done; yet, we have had governments all these years.
“Why is it that nobody thought that there was need to protect people’s children and provide them decent living conditions in schools?
“How do you expect us to produce good leaders out of that environment? Certainly nothing good can come out of that because we have children growing up with hatred against the system.
“We have children growing up thinking what has government done for us when they don’t feed well in schools,” he said.
The governor added that his administration additionally provided schools with laboratories, dormitories and conducive teaching and learning environment.
He disclosed that plans were underway to provide school principals and senior staff with vehicle loans to restore dignity in the educational sector.
Bello said the whole school development approach programme was part of state government’s efforts to investing in the lives of children as future leaders.
“We all have a responsibility to play because we all went to public schools.
“I have never seen where somebody will sleep comfortably on a floor or bare spring; in a whole dormitory, you can only see one double bunk.
“It got to the extent that our students were eating rat-infested rice; I went to a school in Izom and saw a lady cooking black Garri for children to eat.
“When I queried her, she said that was what was given to her to cook.
“She said whenever she boiled rice the children refused to eat because it was rat infested, fearing that they get Lassa fever.
“For students in boarding school to refuse to eat rice, you should know that something is wrong.
“I also went to a school during my local government tour and I saw girls’ school without toilets; and that they usually go to the bush to ease themselves.
“And we had two cases of snake bites and as a result, they started easing themselves in front of their hostels.
“This was the bad situation our children were living in; and as government, we couldn’t fold our hands, we had to act immediately by renovating the schools.
“So, we decided to invest in our children by building new toilets, provide them with mattresses, good food and classrooms so that when they grow up they can appreciate what we have done and impact on others,” he said.
According to him, special units have been set up to address welfare of children in schools.
The governor, however, solicited for collaborative efforts from all stakeholders.