by crossriverwatch admin
The elders and chiefs of Bedia Community in Obudu Local Government have called on the Cross River State government to intervene in the rehabilitation of Bedia Secondary Commercial School, BESCO; the only surviving government owned commercial secondary school in the whole of the local government area.
In a meeting convened recently by the community at the assembly hall of the school, community elders and chiefs decried the negligence and dilapidation of the institution since it was taken over by government. They also wondered why the renovation and rehabilitation of schools by the Liyel Imoke administration has evaded the institution.
In a chat with CrossRiverWatch, a private medical practitioner and former Chairman of Obudu local government, Dr. Abu Undiandeye “Everything in the secondary school and even the primary school in the village have been completely neglected. All the buildings are dilapidated. All the roofs are leaking, the floors are unkempt. In fact, it is impossible to accept this place as an academic environment and it is a concern that the community felt so bad about that they invited those of us who have not had cause to come here recently and we saw the situation and it is so appalling and it has been giving us sleepless nights and we are seriously thinking on how to change the situation. How can we provide a comfortable learning environment for these children who still want to go to school?
“My age grade, the Naira Age Grade has therefore decided to renovate one of the blocks of classrooms. So far, we have had some pledges and we think that before long, we will be able to raise something like N1.5m for the renovation to commence. An NGO promised to intervene but later reneged because according to them, they no longer had the funds to proceed with the intervention.
“We are also calling on government to help. We have started the work ourselves so that the government which took over the school from the community will know that the responsibility also lies with them to show concern for this terrible situation. We understand the challenge the state government is having with finances, but for goodness sake, a community like this deserve more than what we have here today as a school.”
A community leader, Mr. Ugbong Adie Ukwayi who also spoke with CrossRiverWatch said “It is honestly a surprise to all of us how government has allowed this school to deteriorate so badly. This school used to be under the control of the community and we have always tried our best to ensure the place was habitable for learning. Since it was taken over by government, everything in the school has gone bad.
“When the storms pulled the roof of almost all the buildings, we wrote to government but they did not even answer us. We go round other neighboring communities and we see how government has renovated their schools, why is our own situation different? As the only commercial school owned by government in the local government area, there was a time this school was serving over fifteen villages including students from Cameroon. But today, the population of the school has serious dwindled because of the terrible condition of facilities.
“We are appealing to government to extend the ongoing renovation of schools to Bedia, the community is ready and willing to collaborate with the government to see how the glory of this school can be reinvigorated.”
A teacher in the school, Mr. John Adie who said he was engaged by the school Parents Teachers Association, PTA owing to non availability of teachers told CrossRiverWatch that “The situation here is very terrible. The government needs to intervene. A situation where students sit on the floor, some stand or perch by the wall with leaking roofs when you are teaching them is not what any parent or teacher desire for the pupils. You cannot learn in such an environment.
“The students are poor and so are their parents. The government has to either intervene and renovate this school or shut it down temporarily until such a time when it can be made habitable for learning again”.
When CrossRiverWatch visited the school, it was clear that the environment is no long fit for learning. Beginning from the security gate, there is no evidence that it is an academic environment. The corpers lodge which stand about 200 metres away from the security gate has been over taken by weeds and rodents.
The Introductory Technology laboratory which is the next building to the left of the corpers lodge is permanently locked as one of the teacher told our reporter that only snakes leave in there.
While there was a sense of life in the staff room with a few wooden chairs still arranged as could be seen through the broken louvers, all the adjoining classrooms either had leaking roofs or have their roofs blown off by storms.
The two blocks that use to house the Biology/Agric and Physics/Chemistry laboratories have all turned to habitat for all manner of dangerous reptiles.
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