How Nomadic Education Commission, contractors siphoned over N290m in classroom projects in Kano state
By Elijah Ojonicko Akoji
Six briefcase companies were used by Nomadic Education Commission to divert N290 million. Two of the companies belong to the same individuals; WikkiTimes investigation revealed that the last set of schools either constructed or established in Kano State by the National Commission for Nomadic Education was in 2016, two years even before the current projects were conceived.
In 2018, the National Commission for Nomadic Education, under the Ministry of Education budgeted over N500 million for the Construction of 20 Nos of one Block- of 2-Classrooms with Furniture, Toilets, and Offices in Selected Locations across the three senatorial districts in Kano State.
Four years down the line and after payment of about N300m to companies selected to undertake the project, the benefiting communities are yet to see any of the classrooms set to be constructed.
The classroom projects were awarded to 6 contractors including S.A.T Engineering Service LTD, M. Sulum Nigerian LTD and Emacs Engineering Consultant. The rest are Pyramid Investment, MGK Global Service LTD and Haitel Nig LTD.
Cumulatively, the 6 companies were paid about N290m in the first tranche, for the construction of the classrooms. However, almost 3 years after collecting the various amounts, WikkiTimes can authoritatively report that the supposed benefitting communities are yet to see anything on the ground.
Communities to benefit from the classroom project include Bauni, Karshi and Kanwa in Karaye Local Government Area, Fulatan, Zagon Gulya and Jiyayia in Ajingi as well as Garo, and Ungwan Wusama, in Ajingi and Kabo local government areas.
Others are Falgore, Jangefe and Sabon Kwara in Doguwa Local Government Area as well as Tsaure, Mamargu and Sanakur in Bichi Local Government Area.
The rest are Dandago and Galandachi in Gwale Local Government Area, as well as Kafin Argur and Burji in Madobi LGA.
Data from the Commission’s website titled Nomadic Schools and their Location revealed that the last set of schools built by the agency in Kano State was in 2016. These are the schools built in Kakinda in Rano, Komawa and Y/Dalla Fulani in Warawa, Tukwane, K/Yardan Fulani, Dalawa, Kan Iyaka, T/Kano, L/Gada in Takai, Dogari in Rogo and Digawa in Gabasawa as well as Chezawai in Bebeji local government areas.
A visit to these communities showed that not a single classroom block was constructed by these companies within the period under review.
For instance, across the 3 communities in Karaye LGA (Bauni, Karshi, and Kanwa), WikkiTimes could not trace any of the supposed projects, as the classroom blocks cited boldly carry the insignia of the State Government or the Universal Basic Education.
Sani Aliyu, the Ward Head of Karshi ward in Karaye LGA, told this medium that there has not been any such project in his community.
“I have been the District Head even before this administration assumed office. All we have had is the renovation of the old primary and secondary schools by the state government. We have not had any new structure by the commission you just mentioned.”
“We are nomads, and there has not been any nomadic school built here, except if it’s a shadowed building we can’t see. You may want to go and speak to the headmaster or principals of the schools, maybe they are aware of one, at their level.” Aliyu Said.
Mal Umar Dan’Sarki who retired from Karaye Local Government as the educational coordinator in 2020 narrates the state of schools in the LGA.
“Karaye local government has over 30 primary schools and all of these schools I must say were constructed by the state government. The recently constructed ones were done by the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) in 2019 but were not used until 2021 because of the lockdown of schools due to Covid in 2020,” Umar said.
For Zango-Gulya community in Ajingi LGA, the villagers claimed that they were only hearing about the project for the first time.
Salisu Gazali, the Ward Development Committee Chairman, whose leadership supervised projects across Ajingi LGA, denied knowledge of the construction of any classroom block purportedly by the Nomadic Education Commission.
“There are only three nomadic schools in the whole of Ajingi, these schools have even been taken away and controlled by the state government, they are not new buildings, they are there for over 15 years now.”
“These nomadic schools are located around the Kano Jigawa border due to the inflow of the Fulani’s who usually migrate from Niger and settle around the border side,” Gazali added.
For Jangefe and Sabon-Kwara community in Doguwa LGA, nomadic residents who decry poor access to quality education and the increasing attacks by kidnappers into their communities from the Folgore forest, lament government neglect over the years.
WikkiTimes observed that over 1000 children in these communities are left to struggle with just a block of 2 classrooms in their shared primary school.
Hauwa Zubairu, in Jangefe community, laments how her children have to walk several kilometres to get to their school in Doguwa town, the LGA headquarters.
“We are typical farmers and Fulani who depend on the rearing of cattle. “We have always lived with the hope that the government will help us at least construct one block of the classroom here, to help our children stay close to us.”
“Salisu Dauda, the community head, revealed how they were contacted that there was going to be a new block of classrooms in their community. “I received a call sometime in 2019 from the local government, that some persons will be coming to secure land for the construction of a secondary school for us, it was good news for us then, I called other community stakeholders and notified them, we prepared the land, yet, and we never saw anyone,” Salisu said.
“I have tried to call the contact ever since then, and the number wasn’t reachable thereafter, so I gave up, and I wish I can still find the number,” Salisu added.
While in Bichi LGA, Sanakur community shares the same fate. Sanakur a border community with Katsina state, which is usually a hub of migrants from Niger and Katsina states also faces the same neglect from the nomadic commission despite being captured as beneficiaries.
Muhammad Abubakar, the ward head of Sanakur community denies any such project ever constructed in their community, explaining that the only school in their community is owned and managed by the state government through the local government education department.
“This primary school ‘Sanakur Primary School’ has been constructed for 20 years now, since then there has not been any primary school here in Sanakur, for the secondary school, our children walk kilometres away to attend secondary education,” Abubakar said.
In Kano Central, Suleiman Baba Ali, Dagachin Dandago in Gwale LGA revealed that their community has not seen or even heard of any such nomadic school project.
“Sometimes, when we hear how the government has helped us on the radio, we wonder if there is another Dandago community in Kano state, but unfortunately, there is none aside from this. In this community, there are no traces of any of the nomadic schools as you have asked; we only have one primary school a few kilometres from here where our children attend. Kindly go back and tell the government, we don’t have the school they claimed to have built for us,” Baba Ali said.
In Kafin Argur community in Madobi LGA, Ismail Jibril, the ward head was surprised to hear how his community is said to have benefited from the multi-million-naira schools by the nomadic commission.
“Kwankwaso, built most of the schools here, I am not trying to campaign for anyone, in saying the truth, we must mention names. So, I don’t know at what time the commission you mentioned built school blocks for us here. There is no nomadic school in this community, we just have an LGA primary school,” Jibril said.
How Contractors Cashed out
A breakdown of the amount expended on the contract according to records from Open Treasury showed that S.A.T Engineering Service LTD received 52,870,275.02 in 2018, M. Sulum Nigerian LTD 40,070,275.02, Emacs Engineering Consultant received 69,421,428.57, Pyramid Investment was paid 40,047,619.04, while MGK Global Service LTD received 60,021,428.57, and Haitel Nig LTD 25,380,952.38 all as the first tranche of payment.
Two companies, same directors, fake locations
Records from NG-Checks and the Corporate Affairs Commission CAC show that M. Sulum Nigeria LTD and Haitel Nig LTD, belong to Alhaji Surajo Marshal, as both companies have the same directors.
The directors of M. Sulum Nigeria LTD and Haitel Nig LTD include; Alhaji Surajo Marshal, Ibrahim Surajo Marshal, Sani Surajo Marshal, Sadiq Surajo Marshal, Yusuf Surajo Marshal, Khairat Surajo Marshal, Fatima Surajo Marshal, Zainab Surajo Marshal, and Surajo Surajo Marshal, all as directors of the two companies.
According to their registration details on the CAC, M. Sulum Nigeria LTD, Haitel Nig LTD, and S.A.T Engineering Service LTD operates from the same location, Hotoro in Kano state meters away from each other.
While M. Sulum Nigeria Ltd claims it operates from No: 9 Eastern By-Pass Road Hotoro Kano, Haitel Nig LTD is located at No, 214 Mohammadu Vice Adamu road Hotoro GRA.
In the same vein, S.A.T Engineering Service LTD also operates from No. 30 Sabara Avenue Hotoro GRA Kano.
WikkiTimes’ visit to the addresses the companies claim revealed that the entire locations are residential, even long before the companies were established.
No contact information of these companies, was available online; as there was no website, emails, phone numbers or social media address of any of the companies. The reporter could not have any means of contacting them; this is even more compounded since the addresses they claim to operate from, remain fictitious.
For Haitel Nig Limited, the firm was registered as a Hotel and Hospitality Company-a clear evidence that the company is unqualified to be awarded the contract.
WikkiTimes could not find any area of specialization for M. Sulum Nigeria LTD as its profile on the CAC portal does not specify any business type.
These two companies, M. Sulum Nigeria LTD and Haitel Nig LTD, received a total of 60,451,227.04 million naira from the commission as the first tranches of payment on the same date.
When this medium visited the location of the 4th company MGK Global Service LTD, which claimed to be operating from Suit 3 ground floor 12/133 as provided to the CAC, it was discovered that the address is occupied by Standard Constriction Limited.
According to Saidu Jakada, a staff of Standard Construction Limited, “MGK is just the initials of Muhammad Garba Kauga, who used to be my colleague and staff of Standard Construction Limited, he left the company and established his own MGK Global Service LTD, I don’t know anything about him or where he stays.” Jakada said.
Commission withholds information
Hajiya Binta Saeed, Zonal Director North West region which covers, Kano, Jigawa and Katsina declined to respond to questions.
“We have been restricted from talking to journalists. I am afraid I can’t respond to any of your questions. I will advise you to visit the Kano state director of Nomadic commission under the State Universal Basic Education Board, he might provide some relevant information to you,” Saeed said.
Knowing this school project is a federal government project, one will wonder why a zonal director declined to speak, and instead, referred the reporter to a state director.
Musa Wada, the state director of Kano state Nomadic Education Commission under the Kano State Universal Basic Education, claimed that the projects have been completed, but refused to provide further information.
“The project has been executed Musa told the reporter, but if you want more details as regards the project, kindly go to the headquarters of the nomadic commission that executed the project, they will provide more details for you,” Wada said.
Emails, calls, text messages and FOI requests sent to headquarters of the commission in Kaduna state, were not responded to one month after.
This publication is produced with support from the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ) under the Collaborative Media Engagement for Development Inclusivity and Accountability Project (CMEDIA) funded by the MacArthur Foundation.