Despite over N1 billion grant to Edo State given by the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), the government continues to endanger the lives of pupils in an almost collapsed building used as a school in one of its communities.
Okponha Primary School, Okponha, located along Okada road and Igbogor town in Ovia Local Government, Edo State is in a pathetic state.
Edo State with N1.3 billion accessible to it is one of the 24 states yet to claim its share of the grant.
Residents of the community who spoke with CAMPUS REPORTER expressed their displeasure saying pupils are at risk as the walls of the building shake when they rest on them.
“You can see classrooms looking like a farm in this 21st century. Yet Edo State Government boasts of representing its people well. This nothing but unjust,” Esther Ntia said.
The single block school has just three classrooms for Primary 1 to 6 pupils. It has dilapidated doors, windows, roof and no toilet.
One of the teachers who spoke with our correspondent under anonymity because of fear of being sacked said: “Government abandoned the teachers exactly the way the school is abandoned. We hope the building won’t fall off when pupils are in school.”
Meanwhile, efforts to reach the state’s Commissioner of Education, Emmanuel Agbale on the state of the school proved abortive as his line was switched off. He did not also respond to a text message 24 hours after.
According to UNICEF, over 58.3 per cent of pupils in Nigerian schools are not learning effectively, while 50 per cent of grade six pupils cannot read at all.
An economist at the Lagos State University, Abiola Ayoola, lamented the situation in an interview with our correspondent.
“It pains that our leaders don’t take education seriously. It is time for elections and what you see them talk about is how to win,” he said. “Seeing the future of tomorrow suffer is pathetic.”
Also, the programme officer of Amplify, a civic organisation that advocates for sustainable development in rural, underserved Nigerian communities, Ayodele Ibiyemi condemned the Edo State government. He urged it to pay attention to rural communities to ensure effective service delivery.
“Asides the primary school, the quality of life is very low and this is unacceptable. The government has to do something to make the people feel like they’re part of the country,” he said.
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