The lid has been blown off a monumental fraud in Area Ibo State.
A project for the construction of a classroom block in Akwa Ibom has ‘gulped’ N56 million in three years. However, the project is nowhere to be found.
For three consecutive years, Michael Okon Enyong, the lawmaker representing Ibesikpo Asutan/Nsit Arai/Uruan/Uyo Federal Constituency of Akwa Ibom State, nominated the construction of a three-classroom block for a sum of N56 million in a school.
In 2018, N30 million was budgeted for the construction of the phantom classroom block at Community Secondary School, Oku, Uyo. In 2019 and 2020, N13 million was allotted each year for the construction of the block in the same school.
The project was originally assigned to the Council of Nigerian Mining Engineers and Geoscience (COMEG).
Then in 2019 and 2020, it was assigned to the Federal College of Veterinary and Medical Laboratory technology, in Vom, Plateau State, under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development.
A visit by media investigators to Oku Uyo in Akwa Ibom State, revealed that neither the school nor the block of classrooms exists. Oku is one of the four clans in Uyo Local Government Area and spans 14 villages and residents of the community told this reporter that no school with such a name exists in the area.
“I am from this clan and I grow (sic) up here. I have never seen that kind of name of school in Uyo,” said Akpan Nsikak, a resident.
This reporter visited other government secondary schools in the local government in his quest to locate the school.
“This is Four Towns and not the school you are looking for. I’ve never heard of it. We don’t have any project of that kind here. You can check the school at Ikot Okubo,” Aniedi Essien, principal of Community Comprehensive Secondary School, Four Towns Uyo, told this reporter.
“This place is Offot and not Oku,” a female teacher adds. “The only government secondary school in that Oku is the CCC Girls’ School in Afaha Oku (Cornelia Connelly College), the other ones are primary schools.”
The school, Community Secondary School Oku Uyo, was also missing on the list of government secondary schools in Uyo Local Government Area, provided by the Akwa Ibom State Secondary Education Board.
If it was released in full, the N56 million allocated to the phantom school would have gone a long way towards solving Akwa Ibom educational problems.
The state lags behind most states in the country in educational development.
A 2019 report by the Federal Ministry of Education, ranked Akwa Ibom as one of the states with the highest out-of-school children with 581,800 children, only behind Kano State.
The report jointly prepared by the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), National Population Commission, and the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) pegged the total number of out-of-school children in Nigeria at 10,193,918.
The construction of the classroom blocks, had it been assigned to a real school, would have supplemented crumbling infrastructure and reduced overcrowding in classrooms, which are common features of public schools in the state.
@ Premium times investigation