June 24, 2014 – Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola on Tuesday bowed to pressure from the Socio Economic Rights and Accountability Project(SERAP) by explaining that the state government has nothing to hide on how it spent the $90million (N13.5billion) which the World Bank granted the State Government in 2009 specifically for development of education.
Fashola made the remarks at the launch of the book “ Eko Project : A Legacy of Excellence in Lagos. He explained that concerns raised in some quarters that the money was not spent in a transparent manner was unfounded, adding that the money was used judiciously.
He said the money was used to fund teaching and learning infrastructure under the State`s Eko Secondary Education Project and that it was achieving its purpose as it had significantly improved student`s performance.
SERAP had in Dec 2013 sought an order of the Federal High Court, Lagos compelling the Lagos State Government to disclose how it spent the money.
SERAP also requested for specific details of the projects executed with the loan in the 667 schools across the state in line with the Freedom of Information Act but the state government replied by saying it was not bound by the FOI Act since it was not domesticated in Lagos State.
The governor said some even made unsubstantiated allegations that the money has been squandered.
“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 is been used judiciously” he said.
Giving details of the spending, Special Adviser to the Governor on Eko Project, Ms Ronke Azeez said the $90 million loan provided direct funding to schools between 2009 to 2013. According to her N 2.4billion of the loan was spent on the training of 16,445 teachers and 7,998 principals during the programme period.
Azeez added that N2.1billion was spent on students tracking and assessment over the period while N480million was spent on teachers mentoring programme and allowances of volunteer teachers. The Special Adviser said an average of N10million was released to each of 667 schools during the period while N40million was released to each of 104 federal unity schools under the Step-B project.
Azeez said the government procured 839 projectors,753 internet modems,3,441 softwares,656 generators for schools during the period.
“To improve reading culture during the period, the government created 525 libraries,305,000 textbooks,423 students work book 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 set ,4668 teaching modules,and procurement of 52,532 furniture.
Azeez said the World Bank had given the state a pass mark on the funds utilization 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.