By Akinwale Gang, Lagos
In what appeared as the inability of Kano state government to guarantee security of Minister of State for Education, Barrister Nyesom Wike, Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria, Ryuichi Shoji and other dignitaries, the handing over of 317 schools constructed by Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for Kano state government on Thursday was performed in Abuja.
Though no reason was given by either the Kano state government or the office of the Minister, sources in the Ministry said the event was shifted from Kano as a result of fear of a possible attack by the militant Boko Haram group.
It was gathered that the Minister had insisted on having the hand over in Kaduna since Kano state has been one of the flash points for Boko Haram attacks in recent times.
This was much confirmed by the Japanese envoy who in his speech said there were some security threats during the project implementation but he noted that the various projects were securely done with the support of the Kano State Universal Basic Education Board and the state government.
The Japanese government had signed a bilateral agreement with the federal government in June 2010 though the former has been providing support in infrastructural development and technical support to Nigeria in the past.
A total of N2.31billion was spent by the Japanese government to provide 317 schools in 33 schools with toilet facilities and furniture in Kano state under the phase 11 of the project.
Giving the details of the project, the acting Executive Secretary, Universal Basic Education Commission, Professor Charles Onocha said a total of 6,940 two-seater furniture were provided, 272 toilets, 317 blackboards, and 317 notice boards in the 33 schools.
He disclosed that JICA had during a pilot stage of the project constructed a block of three classrooms in two schools in Kano state.
The Minister of State for Education, Barrister Nyesom Wike who commended the efforts of Japanese government in supporting Nigerian education called on other international partners to also contribute their quota to the development of Nigerian education sector.
He gave assurance that government would do everything possible to maintain all the schools constructed.
Governor Rabiu Kwankwanso was represented at the event by the Permanent Secretary Kano state Ministry of Education, Alhaji Tajudeen Gambo.