It is not entirely strange that trees have long provided shelter for pupils in some parts of the country but in Benue State, chairman of the state Universal Basic Education Board or SUBEB, Dr. Philip Tachin has said the practice must stop forthwith.
On a tour of projects being built or rehabilitated in the state schools, Tachin found pupils studying under a mango tree because classrooms were inadequate.
The SUBEB chair seized the opportunity to urge contractors handling school projects to expedite action and save children the agony of learning under trees, among other inconveniences.
In some places, Tachin read the riot act, saying any contractor who did a shoddy job or was lazy would not be paid until the work was redone or finished according to schedule.
He, alongside management and members of a special task force, inspected projects whose contracts were awarded under the UBEC/Benue State Government intervention funds for the years 2012 to 2015. In the state’s northwest senatorial zone, they inspected primary school projects comprising Local Government Authority (LGEA) Gbajimba, RCM Primary School Daudu in Guma Local Government Area. Others included Col. Nenge LGEA Primary School and LGEA Primary School, Tarhembe in Tarka Local Government Area as well as LGEA Primary School Adem, Uchen CAC Primary School, Wadadta in Makurdi Local Government Area.
At Gbajima, the SUBEB chair praised the contractor for the good work done, but urged him to ensure he met the three months deadline. From Gbajimba, the team headed to Daudu where a block of four classrooms was completed with modern toilet facilities, though Tachin noticed some shoddy work and asked that it be corrected before payment.
At Tarka Local Government Area, the county home of the leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Senator George Akume, Tachin and his team expressed satisfaction with the work done Nenge, the SUBEB chair was less satisfied with the dressing of a school teacher, which he described as shabby.
“You are dressed like those on construction site,” he charged the teacher.
At Tarhembe, he sought better work attitude, asking for the number of teachers at a junior secondly school and warning that he would return for a head count.
In Makurdi, the state capital, there were some leaky roofs, which must be fixed before contractors could expect pay.
The team also saw a school which was razed down by suspected Fulani herdsmen. The entire school is to be renovated.
In some other places, it was observed that pupils now have good water supply, thanks to a borehole which also served the community.
Addressing journalists, Tachin expressed satisfaction with the quality of work done and the professionalism of the contractors. He also hailed the state governor Samuel Ortom for releasing funds to enable the SUBEB change the face of schools in the state.
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