Ladies and gentlemen of the press, HipCity’s Community Monitors here present; thank you for taking the time to attend this press briefing on the state of primary education in the 17 Chiefdoms of the original inhabitants of the FCT.
HipCity Innovation Centre, a research, development and advocacy organization currently implementing – alongside 9 other Civil-Society organizations in the FCT – the project “Promoting the Rights of the Original Inhabitants of the FCT” with specific focus on advocating for improved basic social service provision, to wit, basic education, basic health and potable water in indigenous FCT communities. The project is funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation through the Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED).
It was Nelson Mandela who opined that “education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”. Without a doubt, education is indispensable to human development. It is the foundation upon which any progressive society is built and any wise government learns to prioritize it. Education equips individuals with the knowledge, skills and technical know-how necessary to thrive in any chosen field of endeavor and to contribute to the growth and development of their society. Without education, human potential is stifled and their ability to understand, interpret and impact their world is greatly diminished. Not only does education result in a better sense of self-awareness, it is the tool that empowers people to explore and deploy their innate potential, build capacity and confidence to effect change in their environment.
In Nigeria, according to the Universal Basic Education Act (2004), government is tasked with providing free and inclusive basic education for all Nigerians; however, the extent to which this mandate is carried out leaves much to be desired. While in principle Nigeria has all the necessary legal frameworks, policies and structures relevant for providing quality basic education, the reality is as exemplified by the images that we will be displaying at this press briefing.
HipCity Innovation Centre as part of its mandate under the “Promoting the Rights of Original Inhabitants (OI) of the FCT” project, commissioned 17 Community Vanguards, one from each of the 17 Chiefdoms of the original inhabitants of the FCT. The duties of these Vanguards are to identify and report gaps in service delivery in their respective Chiefdoms so as to enable the organization carry out advocacy with real-time evidence. Thus, this press briefing is based on the report of these Community Vanguards and we implore you the gentlemen and women of the Press to not only report what would be said here today, but also include in your report, the pictures that we would display as they are both real, current and factual as well carry out independent investigation to these communities and primary school to verify the veracity of these claims.
Our Community Vanguards were mandated to report about 2 primary schools each in their respective Chiefdoms, with pictorial evidence, using the following criteria:
- Schools which buildings need urgent repairs/refurbishing.
- Schools that do not have enough classrooms.
- Schools that lack a perimeter fence.
- Schools that do not have a working toilet facility within the school premises.
- Schools that do not have enough desk for pupils.
- Schools that lack adequate number of teachers.
- Schools without a well-equipped playground.
- Schools lacking a source of water such as borehole or pump.
The reports came from the following schools:
- KWALI AREA COUNCIL
Chiefdoms: Wako, Gomani, Yaba.
Schools: L.E.A Primary School, Wako
Science Primary School, Yaba
L.E.A Primary School, Kungumi Kundu
- AMAC AREA COUNCIL
Chiefdoms: Jiwa, Karshi, Karu
Schools: L.E.A Primary School, Ayenajeyi, Karu
L.E.A Primary School, Bassan, Jiwa
L.E.A Primary School Jiwa
- GWAGWALADA AREA COUNCIL
Chiefdoms: Gwagwalada, Zuba
Schools: L.E.A Primary School, Angwan Dodo
L.E.A Primary School, Shenagu
L.E.A. Primary School, Agora
4. KUJE AREA COUNCIL
Chiefdoms: Gomo, Gwargwada, Rubochi
schools: L.E.A Primary School, Gawu
Science Primary school, Angwan Gade
L.E.A Primary School, Gwargwada
L.E.A Primary School, Gombe
Science Primary School, Rubochi
Model Primary School, Rubochi
- BWARI AREA COUNCIL
Chiefdom: Sarkin Bwari
Schools: L.E.A Primary School, Bwari.
- All schools sampled except L.E.A Primary School, Angwan Dodo in Gwagwalada Area Council, lack a perimeter fence.
- All the schools have some part of the school building roofs blown off or destroyed by wind, rendering some of their classrooms unfit for use, despite the fact that said classrooms are in some cases, already insufficient for the number of pupils in the school. Also, many of the schools’ buildings are ramshackle with sagging walls capable of crumbling any day. In fact, every single school reported is in dire need of renovation.
- None of the schools have functional toilet facilities.
- All the schools sampled do not have a functional borehole or pump for water supply.
- Most schools are grossly unequipped, lack desks and other furniture. Broken bits of these furniture can even be seen littering the classrooms, thereby constituting a hazard to pupils and teachers alike.
- Most schools do not have a well-equipped and functional playground for pupils.
While the Vanguards could not ascertain whether the schools had sufficient number of teachers or the quality of these teachers as schools were on holiday, we can however deduce from the foregoing, that the quality of education received in primary schools in indigenous communities require checkmating and close attention. There is no substitute for a quality basic education as it is the foundation upon which all other levels of education rest and it sets the pace for how well children will do academically as they go higher. The children of the original inhabitants of the FCT deserve better than the government is presently providing them, considering all the sacrifices that their parents and progenitors have made for the collective good of Nigeria and Nigerians.
You may recall, that in July 2022, the FCTA ordered the closure of all public schools in Abuja owing to threats of insecurity, coming after an already extensive stay-at-home that was occasioned by COVID-19. All of these are further impeding on the learning and learning outcomes for original inhabitants’ children. Schools have resumed, but what has changed?
While we are aware, that the Education secretariat is planning to roll-out a project called “Renovate 100 schools in 100 days”, it remains an idea until the implementation begins; therefore, we call on the FCT Minister/FCT government to speedily appropriate budget allocations for the takeoff of the initiative.
The children have lost so much learning time already and cannot afford to waste more time, as such we must stop gambling with the future of these young Nigerians. We charge the responsible state actors to speedily renovate and equip these schools with adequate number of classroom desks and other furniture; provide modern toilet facilities, improved water sources such as boreholes and pumps, fans and electricity to power them, as well as, fully equipped playgrounds in all schools regardless of how remote the community is. Furthermore, in light of the current security challenges plaguing the FCT, there is urgent need for perimeter fences to be built around schools and other security measures to be put in place to safeguard the lives of pupils in schools in the FCT, which was the reason for the premature closure of the schools in July.
The right to quality basic education is a right that cannot be overlooked or treated with levity. The original inhabitants of the FCT need to be educationally empowered for the sake of equity and to level the divide so they too can begin to take their place in leadership, economic, social and political spheres.
FCT original inhabitants matter.
Thank you for your time.
|Name of Chiefdom
|Name of Vanguard
|Gomo of Kuje
|Umar Tanko kapara
|Agabe of Gwargwada
|Abubakar Bala Pai
|Etsu of Wako
|Muhammed Sani Shuibu
|Agumu of Gomani
|Mohammed Usman Aguma
|Etsu of Yaba
|Sa’ Karuyi of Karu
|Dangiwa Sunday Zaria
|Agaba of Jiwa Kingdom
|Aguma of Gwagwalada
|Mohammed Usman Iyah
|Agora of Zuba