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How vandals destroyed Abuja community schools

The LEA Primary and Junior Secondary Schools, Dei-Dei, which serve the immediate community and seven other neighbouring ones, have been reduced to ruins by scavengers…

The LEA Primary and Junior Secondary Schools, Dei-Dei, which serve the immediate community and seven other neighbouring ones, have been reduced to ruins by scavengers in and around the communities.

The schools, which are located off the Kubwa-Zuba expressway in Bwari Area Council of the FCT, have come under relentless burgling of its facilities, usually carried out at night and during the holidays.

 The most affected is the pioneer primary school in the community, established in 1975.

Daily Trust correspondent, who visited the schools, observed that the iron doors and windows had been removed allegedly by both scavengers and their counterparts among them some jobless youths in the area.

As primary and secondary schools in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) resumed for the second term calendar this January, teachers and pupils of the only public primary and secondary junior secondary schools in the Dei-Dei community are worried about the destruction by the vandals in the schools.

The chairman of the Parents Teachers Association (PTA), of LEA Primary School Dei-Dei, Ibrahim Galadima, told Daily Trust that the school serves the immediate community and other surrounding villages like Zhibi, Apiyawai, Saburi, Bagusa, Filin-Dobo and Dakwa, among others.

“The two schools are on the verge of collapse due to the activities of scavengers, who continued to remove their infrastructures like doors, windows and even roofing sheets. There was a time the village head of the community went to the school following a distress call over such vandalisation.  I joined him immediately but to our shock, we were confronted by the vandals who were in the process of removing the roofing zinc of a whole classroom block,” he said.

He said: “We quickly alerted members of the vigilante, who rushed in and got the vandals arrested.”

Galadima lamented that most of the doors and windows of the classes have been burgled, with some of the facilities being converted as toilets, as people defecate on their floors.

“Scavengers and pickpockets operating around the main road are the ones responsible for these atrocities, and we lack the power to deal with them,” he lamented.

Also speaking, the vice principal (Administration) of the Junior Secondary School, JSS Dei-Dei, Mrs Mercy Uche Chukwu, said a whole block of classrooms was burgled of its windows and doors during the just concluded first term school holiday.

She said other items stolen included whiteboards from the school’s store and library. One of the air conditioners in the office of the vice principal was also burgled during the holiday.

She further explained that eight stolen ceiling fans in the school’s classrooms were uncovered hidden inside the broken ceiling of one of the school’s offices.

The vice principal said the destruction happened almost on a daily basis due to the patronage received by the perpetrators, from a nearby scrap material market, better known as Panteka, situated opposite the school.

“There was a time some items stolen from the school were traced to the site, and the matter was reported to the police outpost in the community. The police came for investigation, but that was the end of the matter,” the vice principal said.

Also speaking about the situation, the school principal, Abdullahi Mamman Lakuza, described the school as a neglected government property that has become dilapidated, with many infrastructures completely destroyed.

He said the roofs of the classes were leaking during the rainy season.

He listed some of the affected offices in the school as the exam office and staff room, where teachers usually sit and prepare their scheme of work, or mark exam papers.

 “The exam office windows and door have been stolen by vandals, a development that gave them an opportunity to steal other facilities like the wash hand basin, toilet squat, and even the cabinet in which we usually stored our records and students’ results,” he said.          

The principal described the scavengers as very violent and can attack people easily in any attempt to stop them from carrying out their criminal mission.

He said some of them are residing in makeshift shelters surrounding the school. He accused some community leaders of giving shelter to the perpetrators for a mere token.  

“They would smoke and defecate inside the classrooms of the primary school section, which the community used as their playing ground during off school hours,” Lakuza said.

The Chief of Dakwa, Alhaji Alhassan Musa Babachukuri, described the primary section of the school as the historic institution from where many illustrious sons and daughters of the community started their education.

He called on the FCT Administration to save the two schools from collapse.

Reacting, the chairman of the Panteka market in the community, Yahaya Abdullahi, said he had ensured that all bad eggs among them were sent away from the market.

He charged the school’s authority and other community leaders to expose anyone they found wanting among them for prompt investigation and disciplinary action.

When contacted on the development, the FCT UBEC chairman, Hassan Sule, said he was yet to receive any official report about the situation. He promised to set up a monitoring team to intervene in the situation.

He said all hands must be on deck, and charged the leaders of the community to look after the school.

The UBEB chairman commended the recent approval of about N13 billion by the FCT minister, Nyesom Wike, for upgrading of schools, rehabilitation, and provision of furniture, saying that would give a facelift to the public education in the territory, and enable them to compete favourably with their counterparts.

 

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