Oshodi Nursery And Primary School In Tatters, Long Forgotten
IN the past, government takes school policies and programmes as priority because of impact they have on future generations. But now, that is not the case, as it appears education is no longer its priority.
Oshodi Nursery and primary school, Oshodi, Lagos is in deplorable state for a long time. Almost the entire roofs of the school building have been destroyed in such a way that whenever it rains, the school children would run for shelter to neighboring buildings.
Even some of the walls of the buildings have cracks, indicating that the building structure has become weak. There is a pool of water in almost all the classrooms. If action is not taken very soon, the building would collapse.
The neglect of the school has given miscreants in the area opportunity to hide in the premises to smoke Indian hemp and some times defecate in the open classrooms without anybody interrupting them.
When The Guardian visited, there were more than 20 classrooms with open roofs, littered with empty bottles and sachet water bags. It was particularly observed that the stagnant water in the classrooms emitted offensive odour as some of the residents, who live opposite the school complained it endangered their health.
Some of the residents, who spoke with The Guardian pointed out that they have, on several occasions, written letters to government, informing them about deplorable state of the school, but there was no positive response.
They said because of the ugly condition there, they have taken their children to other schools. They further explained that some of the pupils who still attend classes are seen as indigent.
One of the residents, Mr. Daniel Walter said parents of the children who attend Oshodi Nursery and Primary school have raised the issue of renovation on several occasions with school management during Parents and Teachers Association (PTA) meetings, but it was not taken seriously.
Walter said: “This school has been in this condition for a very long time and nobody is saying anything about it. We have written letters to government but there was no response.
It is few parents that bring their children here. I want to use this opportunity to plead with government to come to our aid because our children are our investment, so we would not like to play with their future.”
“We even want government to come and renovate this school, so that touts in this area would not turn it to a place for criminal activities because the school has become something else.
This is the kind of building kidnappers hide themselves. We pray that government would intervene to avoid ugly occurrences. ” Education Secretary of the School, Mr. Olalekan Alausa Adekoya, said it was rainstorm that blew off the roof of the school last year and government has not intervened to renovate the school.
He said the school might be renovated this year. Adekoya said: “Lagos state government has a lot of school projects this year and Oshodi Nursery and Primary School might be one of those to be renovated.
Though we have other classrooms in the school, which are in good shape and again we have other schools within our area, where we can transfer the children if we wish. “We believe a contractor would come at any time for the renovation.
We have told the parents to be patient with us and that their duty is to monitor the project by the time the contractor comes. Responding to questions of criminals, who hide in the school, he said.
“We have touts and hoodlums around, who defecate in the school, but we have arrested some of them before with the assistance of the Nigeria Police on several occasions, but they pleaded with us.
The school has a very strong fence and gate, but the touts burgled the gate and found their way into the school. We discovered that some sons of the landlords, who have their buildings in the area including some tenants and traders in Oshodi market that are responsible for the sorry state of the school environment”.
Asked if the renovation contract had been awarded in the past he said, “the contract has not been awarded to anybody; we feel that government has not yet decided to renovate the school”.
“By the time the school would be renovated, all the old buildings you see now would be removed because we cannot afford to leave the old structures with new. We would also make sure that there is adequate security to avoid activities of those touts and hoodlums.”
Adekoya said they have been advising parents to take their children from private schools back to government schools because of benefits derivable from government educational institutions.
“There are a lot of benefits; we used to feed the children in the school every day, free of charge. We have good programmes that would benefit the children in future.
Though the bad condition of the school might have affected the children’s studies, but the effect might not be much because we have another building in the school that would serve the children for now.
“Writing letter to government is important because it would be forwarded to Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) and also to Lagos State government. Luckily, they would approve the letter.
It is the responsibility of Lagos State government to renovate the school. We have more than 3o nurseries and primary schools in Oshodi/Isolo local council and many of them are under reconstruction.”