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LAGOS: We did not steal world bank N13.5bn loan – Babatunde Fashola

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Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State on Tuesday explained that his government did not steal Education loan it got from World Bank.
The governor said that rather his government utilised the $90 million (N13.5 billion) World Bank Education Loan it obtained in 2009 judiciously.
Fashola, who gave the explanation in Lagos while launching a book entitled “Eko Project: A Legacy of Excellence,” said that there was nothing to hide as the funds had been deployed judiciously.
According to reports from The Punch, Fashola said those criticizing the state needed to be well informed about the policies of government, noting that a committee was set up to monitor the use of the fund.
He said, “You might have heard some people saying that we have stolen World Bank Eko Project money. This occasion is indeed very important to prove that we did not. The Eko Project money is not in our hands; it is in the hands of the schools. The principals and the schools don’t also act alone. They listen to a group, School Based Management Committee, before doing anything.
“It is a committee involving guardians, parents, teachers, and community members together planning what will be done in each budgetary year. So, no principal can spend money without the approval of the committee. Contrary to what some public commentators think, I think that if at all there was a fault, we can only take responsibility for not communicating enough.
“I will stand up to defend our principals and other public officers because it is an insult to their integrity and status.”
Fashola, who blamed the growing population for overcrowding in Lagos schools, explained that qualitative teachers were provided to tutor the pupils.
Fashola explained that the loan was to improve teaching and learning infrastructure in schools with a view to raise education standards.
The governor said the deployment of the funds had helped students in public examinations as their performance had improved from seven per cent in 2009 to 41 per cent in 2013.
He said that he was satisfied with the results of the intervention, urging teachers to work toward achieving 61 per cent in students’ performance in the nearest future.
He said, “When you are worried about how it should be about overcrowding, you should know that we run free education here – from cradle to senior secondary school three.
“We have over one million pupils in our school system. So, this must be clear to those who want to engage in discussions and analyses. It is important also that as difficult as it may be, I can guarantee that even if the child was to learn under a tree, which is not our standard, the teacher that is instructing that child is a quality teacher.”
Special Adviser to the Governor on Lagos Eko Project, Ronke Azeez, noted that the book was to celebrate educational investment in the future of youths.