The state of insecurity in Kano State forced the state government to conduct a ceremony to hand over 317 schools built by the Japanese Government in Abuja, rather than Kano, the state capital.
The ceremony had been postponed several times by the state government, before finally being moved to Abuja. Kano is one of the Northern cities bedevilled by the activities of the dreaded Boko Haram Islamist sect as they have carried out numerous bomb and gun attacks.
Although no official reason was issued for the shift in venue, sources confirmed that security fears informed the decision.
The ceremony was attended by the Minister of State for Education, Chief Nyesom Wike; Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria, Ryuichi Shoji; representatives of the Kano State Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso, and Minister of National Planning, Dr Shamsudeen Usman.
The schools were constructed by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency in partnership with the Universal Basic Education Commission.
According to a Kano official, efforts were made to convince the Japanese officials to come to Kano and hold the ceremony there, but they were remained sceptical.
“So we had to come here (Abuja) because we are dealing with a foreign nation here,” he said.
The Japanese envoy mentioned that there were “security threats” during the construction of the schools. He also said that the Kano State Universal Basic Education Board supported the projects.
Wike applauded the Japanese government for throwing its support behind Nigerian education, as he also called on other international partners to contribute their quota behind the development of the sector.
He said, “We must commend the Japanese government and its people for their support of our education sector.”
The Japanese government had in June 2010 signed a bilateral agreement with the Federal Government to provide technical support and infrastructural development to Nigeria.
A total of 2.31bn was spent by the Japanese government in providing the 317 classrooms in 33 with toilet facilities and furniture in Kano under phase II of the project.
According to the acting Executive Secretary of the Universal Basic Education Commission, Prof Charles Onocha, a total of 6940 pieces of two-seater furniture, 272 toilets, 317 blackboards and notice boards were provided for the 33 schools.