In early August 2023, at 12:12 pm, during a visit to a school named GDSS Mabera, this reporter found nobody in all the classrooms. Instead, a young man was seen smoking marijuana in one of the abandoned and dilapidated classrooms.

As soon as he noticed the reporter’s presence, he left immediately. The classrooms were deteriorated and abandoned. Due to the dilapidation caused by contractors refusing to execute projects for which they were mobilised to do, the secondary school section often used the primary school segment for internal and external examinations.

Worse still, both teachers and students shared the same run-down toilets. The school’s poor condition was compounded by more than four blocks of decrepit buildings, which had reduced the school’s intake capacity.

Despite the award of an N117.634 million contract to Shenuus Solid Minerals Limited for the expansion of GDSS Mabera, students and teachers continued to live in unhabitable environment. This contract, awarded by the Sokoto State Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, was given to the same company handling the phantom school expansion project at A.A. Raji School.

A staff member, who pleaded anonymity due to fear of intimidation, confirmed that no project was carried out in the school in 2022, and numerous challenges still persisted.

Another staff member confirmed the lack of expansion and renovation in the school, noting that the situation had led to inadequate laboratory facilities, fewer staff toilets, dilapidated classrooms and absence of other essential amenities that would make life better.

The staff member further emphasised the absence of capital projects in the school and highlighted that the many classrooms in the school were dilapidated.

“Our classrooms lack chairs and tables. We don’t even have an exam hall. Our students face difficulties during exams, especially external ones. Many of our classrooms are unusable due to their state of disrepair,” the staff member said.

Salaudeen Bello (not real name), a teacher at the school, disclosed that the deteriorating state of the classrooms had led to a decline in student enrollment. He noted that while they previously accommodated over 100 students per class, the number had now dropped to 20–15. He further explained that the school had initially categorised classes into groups A-E for SS1 to SS3, but now had put all students in the same class.

This situation had paved the way for hoodlums using the abandoned, dilapidated classrooms as spaces for smoking hard drugs. “The fact that students and staff share the same run-down toilet facilities has further compounded the challenges,” a teacher said.

The contract award notice for the expansion of the Existing Schools, GDSS Mabera

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