By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State, Tuesday, formally gave a breakdown of how his administration spent the $90million about N13.5 billion, education grants by World Bank to state in 2009, saying the state government had nothing to hide.
Fashola stated this at the launch of a book, “Eko Project: A Legacy of Excellence.”
The book was a documentation of all the activities of project during the period and the different projects executed.
According to him, contrary to concerns raised in some quarters that the money had not been spent in an open manner, is actually not true, “the funds had been deployed judiciously.”
Fashola said the loan, obtained to fund teaching and learning infrastructure under the sate`s Eko Secondary Education Project was achieving its purpose as it had significantly improved student`s performance.
It will be recalled that Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, had in December 2013 sought the order of the Federal High Court, sitting in Lagos, to compel state government to release information on its spending of the loan.
SERAP also asked the court to demand details of the projects executed with the loan in the 667 schools across the state in line with the Freedom of Information Act.
Speaking in reference to the move, Fashola stated: “Some people have made unsubstantiated allegations against us that we have stolen World Bank money.”
He continued: “ 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 “.
Fashola stressed that the World Bank intervention was to improve teaching and learning infrastructure in schools with a view to raise education standards. Hence, “The deployment of the funds had helped improved students performance in public examinations as performance had improved from 7 per cent in 2009 to 41 per cent in 2013.”
While saying he was satisfied with the results of the intervention so far, Fashola charged teachers to work towards achieving 61 per cent WAEC performance in the nearest future.
Giving details of the spending,Ms Ronke Azeez, Special Adviser to the Governor on Eko Project disclosed that 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, while N2.1billion was spent on students tracking and assessment over the period and N480million was also 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 added that the World Bank had given the state a pass mark on the funds utilization and rated the Eko project as highly satisfactory.