The Federal Government spent between 40 and 50million naira to construct toilets and bathrooms in each unity school across the country, our reporter investigation has shown.
The government has over the years built dozens of these toilets termed “VIP toilets” in the unity schools.
It had spent a total of N3.1 billion to build VIP toilets and bathrooms in 64 unity schools in 2014 and 2015, according to investigation.
Funds are also provided in this year’s budget for such facilities. There are 104 Unity Colleges in the country.
The Federal Ministry of Education defended the cost saying the toilets were introduced to improve bathroom and toilet hygiene practices in schools.
An analysis of the expenditures of the schools as contained in the budgets showed that N1.45 billion was spent on VIP toilets and bathrooms in 2014 and another N1.64 billion in 2015.
The review of the budgets obtained from the budget office of the federation showed that 29 Unity Colleges spent N1.45 billion in 2014 with each getting N50million.
In 2015, 41 of the colleges got N40million each, making a total of N1.64 billion for the year.
It was observed that six of the colleges benefitted from the VIP toilets and bathrooms project twice. They are Federal Government College (FGC) Sokoto, FGC Okigwe, Federal Government Girls’ College (FGGC) Bauchi, Efon Imnringi, Ezzamgbo Abakaliki and Ibillo. Each got N50 million in 2014 and another N40 million in 2015 all for same projects.
The expenditure which was captured as: “VIP toilets and bathrooms for hostels and classrooms” was coordinated under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) now known as Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Under same heading, the provision for modern kitchen and renovation of dining halls were also made.
In two years, all the Unity colleges in the country spent N12.4 billion on renovations, rehabilitations and other capital projects.
The schools that got the fund for the VIP toilets in 2014 are FGC Bani Yadi, Garki, Keffi, Ogbomosho, Okigwe, Port Harcourt, Rubbochi, Sokoto, Zaria, Billiri and Ikole.
Others are FGGC Akure, Bauchi, Efon Imnringi, Enugu, Ezzamgbo Abakaliki, Gboko, Gusau, Ibillo, Ikot-Obio-Itong, Ipetumodu, Jalingo, Kabba, Kazaure and Umuahia. Federal Science Technical College (FSTC), Awka, Michika, Usi Ekiti and Dayi also benefited.
The schools that got N40 million each in 2015 for the VIP toilets are FGC Sokoto, Ganye , Iket Nise, Iket Vandakya, Ikot Ekpene, Ikurin, Kaduna, Kano, Kiyawa, Maiduguri, Minna, Odogbolu, Ogoja, Ohafia , Okigwe, Okposi, Onitsha, Ugwolawo, Ido-Ani, Anka, Bajoga and Bakori.
Others are FGGC Bauchi, Bakori, Efon-Alaye, Efon Imnringi, Ezzamgbo Abakaliki, Ibillo, Langtang, Lejja, Omu-Aran, Oyo, and Yola. FTC Ikare, Federal Technical College (FTC) Ilesha, Kafanchan, Ohanso, Uromi, zuru and Suleja Academy are also among beneficiaries. Only one FSTC Jubu-Imushin got the N40m in 2015.
VIP toilets to improve hygiene – Ministry
The Deputy Director, Press and Public Relations, Mr Ben Bem Goong said the VIP toilets were introduced to improve bathroom and toilet hygiene practices in schools. He said the toilets were less expensive and had child friendly facilities that reduced the incidence of communicable diseases. He said the toilets did not retain water like the normal WC to avoid water splashes on the body.
He said about five to seven toilets were being constructed in each school with each having an overhead tank to store enough water for the flush system.
The analysis revealed that in 2014, all the Unity Colleges in the country spent N8.818 billion on capital projects for building rehabilitation and renovations.
Aside from the VIP toilets projects, all the 104 unity schools nationwide were allocated funds for renovation and rehabilitation of projects from N50 million as minimum to maximum of N450 million.
The FGGC Gumi Tambuwal got N450 million; FSTC, Ekiti, N142 million; FGC Ipetumodu N133 million and FSTC Michika N132 million.
Our correspondents report that 23 unity schools received N50 million for capital projects, 43 got N75 million each and 12 others got N125 million each.
Also, 13 unity schools spent N100 million for capital projects even as seven unity schools received N82 million for the same purpose.
Other projects that featured in the expenditure of the schools were the completion of perimeter wall, building of classrooms, administrative blocks and hostels.
In 2015, the 104 unity colleges in the country spent N3.6billion on the building of toilets, dining halls, perimeter wall fences among others, an analysis of the expenditures of the schools has revealed.
It also revealed that more than 90 percent of the colleges including the Federal Science and Technical Colleges (FSTCs) and the Federal Science Colleges (FSCs) were all given N13.5m each.
The money, according to the budget breakdown obtained on the website of the federal budget office was used for the construction of sickbays, halls, access roads, staff quarters and classrooms.
While the Federal Government College (FGC), Sokoto topped the list in the allocation for construction and renovation in 2015 with N66.5million, FGGC Jalingo, King’s College, Queen’s, FGGC Gboko and 36 others only got the N13.5milion that was given to all the colleges.
But Queen’s college got the highest allocation of fund in the year under review with N621million, followed by FTC Yaba which had N606million, and FGC Ijanikin, Lagos came third as regards total allocation with N562million.
The review revealed that FSTC Dayi, Katsina got the least in total allocation for 2015 with N118million and FGC that topped the list in capital expenditures got a total allocation of N380million.
Further look at the expenditures of the Unity Colleges showed that each of the schools got between N40million and N70million for meal subsidy. This appeared in all the spending of the schools.
Also, the expenditure for fumigation and cleaning which ranged between N500, 000 and N1million appeared in all the spending of the colleges.
Meanwhile the analysis of the 2016 budget estimate submitted by President Muhammadu Buhari to the National Assembly has shown that the 104 unity schools will spend over N14.3 billion mainly on renovation, reconstruction, provision of street lights, perimeter fencing and purchase of motor vehicles among others in 2016.
Leading the pack is FGC Buni Yadi in Yobe State, which is to spend the sum of N962.5 million for the fiscal year 2016. Scores of students were killed and the school virtually destroyed when Boko Haram insurgents attacked it over three years ago.