Minister threatens to shut down FGC Umuahia
* Says prisons better than students’ hostels
* Blame FG not staff for decay – PTA
By Steve Oko
The Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, has threatened to shut down the Federal Girls College Umuahia over dirty environment and poor maintenance culture by the management of the school.
Nwajiuba who made the threat during a visit on Saturday, expressed disappointment over the level of infrastructural dilapidation and poor sanitary condition of facilities in the school.
The Minister who was visibly angry as the management conducted him round facilities in the school could not hold his peace but openly scolded the management over his observations.
Irked by the sight at one of the hostels, the Minister made an emotional outburst expressing dismay that students could be haboured in such an place.
His words : ” Are you running a prison here? Even prisons are better than this! Are parents allowing their children to be here? You people are in trouble!”
Still boiling with anger, the visibly livid Minister looked at the direction of the Chairman of the Parent Teacher Association, PTA, Mr. Chuka Agonmuo and thundered:” Are you impressed with what is here?
“This school will fall into the category of schools we will close for two years!”, He yelled.
Redirecting his rage at the management, the Imo State – born junior Minister fumed :” I should come and pick ‘komkom’ (empty cans) for you, or you write to Abuja to award contract for the cleaning of your premises?
” You have 200 staff here and you cannot manage 2000 girls. Are you not paid? You want this place to be shut down!”
His anger snowballed into rage when he visited the school’s clinic as he openly expressed his displeasure at the poor condition of facilities at the clinic located in a miniature colonial structure at the Northern part of the premises.
The Minister who didn’t hide his emotions was calling on the camera man covering his visit to take shots of the poor and dirty condition of facilities at the clinic.
“Some of you must go on transfer. You think you are managing a community primary school? This is a federal government college for crying out loud!
“God have mercy! Is this Olokoro Community Primary School? He queried rather rethorically.
Another port of call which raised the Minister’s emotional temperature to plus 100 degrees was the school’s multi -million naira altra -mordern Library, reportedly built under the watch of Gov. Yesom Wike as Minister of State for Education.
Unimpressed with the arrangement of books at the library library the Minister scolded the Librarian.
“Look at a library! You just go about collecting salaries. So, you can’t even catalogue books? That is why books are still on the table for months. “
The Minister was also furious with the management over the state of covid -19 isolation centre which he said was not in compliance with the federal guidelines.
“Let me go, this people are not serious”, the Minister thundered as he beckoned at his driver, removing his garland and placing it on the neck of one of the senior staff conducting him round the facilities.
Ordering his driver to move, the Minister zoomed off, leaving his hosts bewildered even as they were still gasping for breath as they were in constant race to be able to catch up with the rather unnatural speed of their visitor as he marched round the premises.
In an interview with our correspondent, the PTA Chairman, Mr. Chuka Agonmuo, thanked the Minister for the visit which he said would help the management to improve.
He said that the observations made by the Minister were in order but blamed the decay in the school on previous managements.
The PTA Chairman said that the few improvements witnessed so far were recorded under the incumbent Principal, Mrs. Anthonia Idika -Kalu, who he said assumed duty only last year (2019).
He commended the new Principal who he said had set an enviable record despite paucity of funds.
The PTA Chairman however, blamed the Federal Government over the inadequacies and delapidations in the school, saying that applications for funds both from the school management and PTA don’t receive positive response.
His words : “It’s not just enough for the federal government to observe faults or aportion blames but to release funds for effective running of the school.
“If you go to Abuja our applications are lying there without attention. They keep telling us ‘there is no funds’.
“Can you imagine that out of 200 staff in this school, PTA pays 80 of them. FG should assist us because we can no longer sustain them now due to the effects of covid -19.
” It’s not all about cobwebs because school is not in session now. Do you expect the staff to be picking dirts around the premises now that students are still at home? Government should do its own part”.
No staff agreed to speak with our correspondent as the Principal was said to be away for an official duty in Abuja.
But a source which pleaded anonymity confided in our correspondent that the major challenge of the school was the federal government’s inability to adequately fund it.
The source alleged that while federal government gives attention to unity schools in the Northern region, those in the Eastern region are scarcely adequately catered for.
“They will recruit 3000 teachers for unity schools, send only few of them to the East and the rest to the North where they claim are educationally disadvantaged. That’s why about 80 teachers here are being paid by PTA.
” There is inadequacy of the needed facilities here. Even when they award contracts do they involve us? You will be here and somebody will come with papers from Abuja and tell you he has been awarded so and so contract by the federal government. Who are you to say otherwise ? They determine everything.”
The source, however pitied the Junior Minister who he said is working very hard to transform the system but regretted that the deep federal politics in the country is a major huddle he may not be able to cross.
He said that tribalism had remained a serious change impeding development in the country, adding that if all the unity schools are fairly equally treated there will be no basis for any complaint.
“Up there in the North they have facilities. A teacher will have decent accommodation but go to staff quarters in the East and you will weep for our people.
“Every year we go to defend projects in Abuja, and they tell us :don’t worry ,the contract has been awarded. The contracts are awarded in Abuja not schools “.
Some of the observable major challenges of the school include inadequate hostel accommodation following occasional fire outbreaks at the school, insufficient structures as most of the buildings there looked colonial, and poor perimeter fencing of the compound.Steve Oko, Publisher/C.E.O, WaWa News Global. For more information on advert placement and news coverage, contact us on: 08038725600, or via email email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org Always read WaWa News Global - Your most dependable online news platform for the latest breaking news in Nigeria.