By Paul Olaye/Markson Isaac
Gana Mixed Primary School located in Sapele Local Government Area of Delta State share similarities with an abandoned poultry farm.
The roofs are leaking, the seats in the classrooms are broken, the playground is mosquito-infested and swampy, fit only for swine, and there is no water supply, hence students engage in open defecation.
Amidst this deplorable condition, over 300 students learn under this deplorable condition only fit to breed animals. Gana Mixed Primary School is only the distance of a football field away from the Seplat operated oil field in Sapele local government, where one of the national cakes that feed the nation is located.
Overgrown weeds has taken over the school and part of student requirements for gaining admission into the school’s Junior Secondary School is two sheets of corrugated roofing sheets, nails and two thousand naira (N2,000) to go with it.
“It is not written but that is what they tell you verbally” the parent of a students who recently gained admission into the school, told journalists. “There are no roof on the top of the building, so we don’t blame them if they demand two roofing sheets from you”, she said.
Established in the early nineties to take care of children in the area of Ugberikoko road and Otonyasere Community, the school has continue to serve residents on secondary school education with private schools dotting every corner of the area.
A resident of the area told our reporter that when Gana Mix Secondary School was established, it became joy to them. “Gana Mix was a welcome development because the nearest school was Ufuoma Secondary school, that was about five kilometre, so we were happy”, the resident who introduced herself as Mama Kess said.
“They started with some building and since then the building has been collapsing and the government has done nothing about it” she said.
The old and dilapidated classrooms has neither chairs nor tables except few desk. The secondary school currently has about 400 hundred students, with no library or even a desktop computer and there are no toilets or other facilities for recreation and extracurricular activities.
The students and teachers defecate openly in a bush around the school as there is no even pit latrine.
“The students only use 6 classrooms and they share it when it’s time to teach” a student in the school told our reporter. “They teach each class a subject and then you go out and another group of students comes in”, he said.
Inside this class shared by students of class two and three, a group of young boys are playing a game of soccer. The classroom has 34 students but has no ceiling nor window coverings. A bushy clump of young stems are sprouting from the base “it’s a result of rain, and they sometimes uses these classes for teaching” one of the school staff who craved anonymity said.
Next to this classroom is the one for class five. Here, one of the roof portion that comes in different colours has been blown off by wind and there are large cracks on the walls, an indication of serious structural damage. The entire block of three classrooms has no doors, and the blocks of the entrances are crumbling and are littered with dirt.
Inside this classroom occupied by the final year students’ building lies an abandoned structure. It was supposed to serve as an extra block of classrooms but it has been abandoned.
On Wednesday, students of the school took to the area protesting lack of infrastructure. “We are tired of sitting on the floor and hanging around the windows and sharing classes with hoodlums, they come here to smoke and even dare our teachers in the afternoon to do their worst” one of the students said as they ran round the school, shouting “we are tired, don’t forget us”.
The student protest which attracted a team of journalists to the school was however disrupted by rain
Ochuko Domina, aged 17, conducted reporters round the dilapidated structures where some of the roof of the building are in different colours and holes in the roofing are obvious, even with an inscription on the wall which says “no woman no cry” which of cause was not written by any student of school which shows the extend of damage to school structures and the pains both students and teachers passed through on daily basis trying to learn.
However, it was obvious also, that the plywood ceiling which had fallen off, exposing the skeletal frames of the roof is an accident waiting to happen.
Besides these, there are two broken drown structures: One was supposed to be for staff teachers, but the teachers has found solace outside. They scamper for safety when Journalists approach to talk to them probably scared of being caught in camera.
“We have written to everyone in the education ministry in Asaba and yet nobody has bothered to come here” one teacher who craved anonymity said. She remarked that the only people that came to see them warned them not to speak to journalists or allow camera men to enter the school premises.
“We close school when it rains, and we also fear for our lives because, roofing sheet can file as a result heavy wind or storm and this could prove fatal if the school is allowed to remain in session when it rains”.
Joy Akpabio, a 16 year – old, whose ambition is to became a nurse told reporters in an emotion laden voice that she hope to leave the school for better one.
When this reporter arrived the host community for reactions, gathered that it took the intervention of well Nigerians to calm the situation as the angry community vowed to deal with our reporter because they claimed Delta government or ministry of education sent the reporter ro know what they have in mind.
According to them, the community has held several meetings with the teachers that led to written of letters to Government but yielded no results.
They lamented that despite the block votes they give to the ruling party in the state, has decided to pay them by abandoning them and state schools in the area, noted they could not afford the the private schools that dotted the area, accussed the commissioner of Basic education, Rose Ezewu of promoting establishment of private schools in Sapele and Okpe local government since she own private school before she was appointed.
Basic Education Commissioner greet allegations with silence
Our reporter contacted the commissioner for Basic and secondary education, Mrs. Ezewu Rose on phone but it was said to be switched off, short message service and watsapp messages sent to her known cell phone number was greeted with silence.