by Opeoluwa Quadri
Iwaya is one of the slums in Lagos that benefitted from the World Bank assisted Projects for about five slums. But unlike others, only one of the four categories of projects was completed. One was not even started at all.
The three modern school buildings were not completed, the roads and the town hall. These World Bank assisted projects were coordinated by the Lagos Metropolitan Development and Governance Project (LMDGP).
Each of the slums to benefits from the projects all had technical committees that interface with LMDGP on the progress of the project and monitoring. The Iwaya technical committee headed by Alhaji L.A Balogun shared their travail with us on the abandoned projects and how the government has failed to yield to their frequent calls on them to complete the projects.
According to the members of the Technical Committee, Iwaya was one of the slums that were to benefit from the World Bank Project for slums. Other slums included were Amukoko, Ajegunle, Makoko, Bariga and Mushin.
Chief Ogunbanjo who is also a member of the technical committee stated that “The projects they gave us were 15 roads, seven boreholes and four modern school buildings, but three were implemented while the other one was taken to Igbobi college. The three implemented were not completed”
The Chairman of the Committee, Alhaji Balogun disclosed to YMonitor in a meeting that the 15 roads were not even touched at all. However the seven boreholes also meant to be constructed in the community were completed and were working fine until they became faulty. According to the members of the technical committee, the projects started in 2009.
When asked whether the community was part o the process of selecting the projects to be implemented and how the committee came about, Chief Ogunbanjo replied that “Each community or slum has technical committees made up of seven members. We told them what we wanted after we became aware that the World Bank wants to implement some projects in the named slums. We told them w wanted schools, roads, boreholes and a community hall. They started the community hall, but later stopped claiming that the land cannot take the kind of structure they wanted to build. The boreholes were completed in four months”
The projects were supposed to be completed in less than a year after it started. But they were never completed and no credible reason was given, especially on the part of the policy makers. There had been insinuations that the project was stopped because the Lagos state government was not able to meet up with counterpart funding, but this is an insinuation. The state government is yet to provide reason on why the schools were abandoned or why none of the World Bank projects in Iwaya were completed, apart from the boreholes which many believe to be substandard.
The chairman of the Iwaya Technical Committee claimed that “When we noticed that they have stopped work on the projects, we started writing letters to the governor, as well as the Lagos Metropolitan Development and Governance Projects (LMDGP), since the projects were supervised by them. Then we do have meetings with the LMDGP chairman. But after work on the project stopped, we met with the chairman and he told us that the project has not stopped, stating that there was a problem with the contractor, and that it will be given to another contractor. On the 15 roads, they kept telling us that they will do the roads, but the roads were not touched. After we discovered this, we wrote several letters to the state government as well as the local government chairman. We even held meetings at the local government. But all were to no avail.”
Presently LMDGP is no more, they have been disbanded, according to the technical committee. It is perhaps difficult to tell whether these projects will be completed, since the parastatal set up to facilitate execution of the project is no more. The chairman of the technical committee disclosed to us that, at an event to mark the execution of the projects and to bring an end to the World Bank projects in the selected slums in the area were not included in the document prepared, and were they raised the issue, they were told it was an error.
“There was even a closing party, where all the slums were represented. At the event, there was a document containing all the slums and projects executed. Iwaya was not in the list and we were there. We raised the issue and they told us that it was an error. It was only Iwaya that was omitted. At the ceremony, only three people in the technical committee were invited instead of the seven, which was not so for other slums,” the Chairman reiterated