Despite govt pledge, Ogun community pupils continue to learn in ‘poultry shed classrooms’
The pupils of St John’s Anglican School, Adekanbi-Agbena in Obafemi-Owode Local Government Area of Ogun State, are still receiving their lessons in a poultry shed weeks after the state government pledged to provide them classrooms and other facilities.
PREMIUM TIMES had in September exclusively reported the poor condition under which about 150 pupils were schooling at the primary school founded in 1955 by the defunct Western Nigerian government of the late Obafemi Awolowo.
Following the report, the Chairman of Ogun State Universal Basic Education Board, Olatunde Okedara, promised that the board would put up new structures at the school within weeks.
Mr. Okedara had added that the present location of the school was no longer conducive for learning and that “the government will look into the matter and do the needful to make the school a better place of learning.”
He said construction of three blocks of classrooms would be the first step to be taken by the government.
”I have been to the school. It is not the best place to have pupils. I can assure you that State Universal Basic Education has plans to erect a block of 3 classrooms within the next few weeks,” the official said.
However, when PREMIUM TIMES visited the school on Friday, the government was yet to take any step in addressing the problems of the school. The plight of the pupils and their teachers remained unattended to.
The primary school was initially located on a parcel of land that was later acquired by the state government for the Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Abeokuta.
The polytechnic upon fencing its premises, ejected the primary school into its current makeshift structure at Adekanbi-Agbena.
The Community Development Association, CDA, of Agbena provided the land and put up the temporary structure for the school to enable the pupils continue with their education.
The community wrote the state government two years ago to remind it of the need to provide a befitting infrastructure but the government has failed to act, although it has continued to post teachers to the school.
Inside its “classrooms”, pupils of St. John’s Anglican School were packed like sardine when Premium Times visited on Friday, while the staff room was small and bare of furniture.
The Vice-Chairman of Agbena CDA, Abiodun Adegoroye, lamented government’s neglect of the school.
He recalled that the school was evicted from its old location by Moshood Abiola Polytechnic without the provision of alternative accommodation.
Mr. Adegoroye said the community offered to accommodate the school so as not to disrupt the education of the pupils.
He said the community was not comfortable with the plight of the pupils and their teachers and appealed to government to provide the necessary facilities for the school.
“The place is an eyesore. Both pupils and teachers are exposed to sun and rain. The community and teachers submitted a letter to government but it is sad that after a year, the government failed to address the problem,” Mr. Adegoroye said.
Oluseye Araba, a former treasurer of the community association, corroborated the claims of the vice-chairman. He said the head teacher approached the community for help to address the problems of the school.
When contacted for update on the pledge of the government to the school, the State Commissioner of Education, Science and Technology, Modupe Mujota, said she had written to SUBEB, which is responsible for primary education, to attend to it.
“It is rather unfortunate that the school relocation planned elaborately by MAPOLY where they were occupying before did not pan out,” she said.
“We have since written to MAPOLY to ensure that what they planned to do for the school earlier should be done now. We have also written to the SUBEB to intervene and ensure what everything MAPOLY has to do is done.
“We will also be maintaining oversight on it and expect that there should be resolution within a short time,” Mrs. Mujota stated.