Saturday, 2nd December 2023

Promise fulfilled as Nigerian government rebuilds collapsed school in Haiti

By Bridget Chiedu Onochie, Abuja
13 September 2023   |   6:36 am
As part of efforts to strengthen existing bilateral relations between Nigeria and Haiti, the Federal Government of Nigeria has completed the construction of Benoit Batraville High School located in Saut-D'eau, Haiti.

As part of efforts to strengthen existing bilateral relations between Nigeria and Haiti, the Federal Government of Nigeria has completed the construction of Benoit Batraville High School located in Saut-D’eau, Haiti.

The project was Nigeria’s response to calls for assistance from Haiti following the 7.3 magnitude earthquake that devastated the country in 2010. The project was supported by well-meaning Nigerians and the Red Cross Society.

The project, which was earlier suspended in 2015 due to unforeseen circumstances was rejuvenated by the Nigerian Government through its High Commission in Jamaica that is concurrently accredited to Haiti in 2022

Upon satisfying due process requirements, the Mission awarded the contract to a Jamaican-based Benson Construction Company. Consequently, the project began in earnest in February in spite of numerous challenges including insecurity, and it was completed in August.

The building was handed over to the Haitian Authorities on August 29 amidst excitement while the handover ceremony was graced physically and virtually by top government functionaries of both countries.

In attendance was Nigeria’s High Commissioner to Jamaica with concurrent accreditation to Haiti, Dominican Republic and Belize; Ambassador Maureen Tamuno, Minister of Education Haiti; Mr Nesmy Manigat, Director General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Haiti, representing the Minister of Foreign Affairs Haiti; Mr Azad Belfort as well as senior government officials from Haiti

In her remarks, Ambassador Tamuno applauded the bilateral relations between both countries and expressed delight at the delivery of the project.

She was categorically grateful to God for seeing her team through. She also used the occasion to thank the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, for his renewed hope agenda and commitment to strengthening bilateral relations.

Ambassador Tamuno also thanked the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yusuf Tuggar and his Haitian counterpart, Monsieur Jean Victor Geneus. Others are, Nesmy Manigat, Minister of Education, Haiti and the Municipal Council of Saut-D’eau for their support and cooperation towards the timely and successful completion of the project.

She further enjoined the students and teachers to make good use of the edifice delivered to them while expressing her willingness to revisit Haiti soon.

Nigerian top diplomat used the opportunity to advocate and urge stakeholders, most especially the United Nations, to assist with returning normalcy to Haiti.

The Haiti officials applauded the Nigerian government for the landmark project, stressing that without the government of Nigeria, it would have been impossible to achieve such a goal.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Haiti, represented by the Director of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Azad Belfort, commended the Nigerian Government for their benevolence, especially Amb Tamuno, for working tirelessly towards the actualization of the landmark project.

He recalled the close ties Nigeria and Haiti shared through descendants of the Igbo community from Nigeria.

Belfort stated that the establishment of the school would further strengthen the diplomatic ties between both countries.

Also speaking, the Minister of Education, Haiti, Mr. Nesmy Manigat, commended Amb. Tamuno and the Nigerian government for fulfilling their promise.

He said: “I was there in 2015 as Minister of Education, Haiti. A lot has happened. We have come a long way despite the educational and security challenges in my country, including problems of infrastructure.

In spite of all those challenges, today, under Amb. Tamuno, Nigeria has delivered. We are indeed very thankful for the school project.”

Manigat noted that the project would go a long way to strengthen the bonds of co-operation and bilateral relations, stating that it was very important and timely for a small community such as Saut -d’eau to have a public building of that level which he described as the envy of others.

The School’s property is about 12,500 square meters (134, 548.9 Square Feet). The size of the building is 9,411 square meters (32,000 square feet) by 4.5 meters (15 Feet) High. It has the fence perimeter of 1,250 square meters.

The building consists of an administration block housing offices of the Principal, Vice Principal, Secretary, Stationary and Printing rooms and a restroom. Others are16 standard size classrooms; staff room and restroom; the canteen; computer Lab and the storage room for the school.

There is also an auxiliary workers’ restroom; operations control room for the electrical and plumbing operations; three double entrance doors and two double exit doors.

The school consists of two playground areas including the standard football field at the back of the building and the area allotted for auxiliary sports such as basketball and volleyball.

There are also four new classrooms and auditoriums built to accommodate both classrooms and auditorium with mechanically collapsible wooden walls, flooring, walls and roof slabs and drainages.