Jet Stanley Madu
The sorry state of public primary schools in Satellite Town in Lagos State lay credence to the fact that, like every other sector, the education sector is “bleeding”, depressed and begging for attention.
Located at the ever busy Buba Marwa Road, Satellite Town, Lagos the school houses four nursery and primary schools. The level of infrastructural decay in the schools speaks for itself. It mirrors the condition of most institutions of learning across Nigeria.
The sight of the schools which can be accessed through Fi-niger and Abule-Ado entry points of Satellite town is appalling, pathetic, condemnable and a scorn on Lagos State which pride itself as the Centre of Excellence.
The four schools domiciled within the school premises are; Satellite Town Nursery/Primary School 1, Satellite Town Primary and Nursery School 11, Ijegun-Egba Nursery and Primary School 1, and Ijegun-Egba Nursery and Primary School 11.
Findings by The Education Report revealed that the present premises of Oriade Local Council Development Area (LCDA) secretariat was carved out of the school by state government in power then. It meant the school compound was split into two to accommodate Oriade LCDA Secretariat.
It was further revealed that not only a part of the school land was taken, some of the structures were converted to serve as LCDA administrative offices. By this act, the authorities were left with the only option of making use of few available classrooms for the children. Presently, the image of the schools reflects years of total neglect.
Only a fence separates the school compound from Oriade LCDA. Most of the roofing of the classroom blocks are worn out, with many of the sheets blown off. Both sun and rain take their turn on the desks in the classrooms, resulting in quick decay.
The school surroundings is, obviously, not habitable. It appears miserable, overgrown by weeds, and has become a comfortable defecation site for passersby, hawkers and street urchins. Just like other institutions of learning in Lagos and beyond, groaning under the weight of the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, Satellite Town Nursery and Primary Schools are not an exception.
The school gates are shut in the morning hours, but in the evenings especially, at weekends, the school field becomes a theater of games, serving as play ground for the young adults in the area.
The major road leading to Ijegun-Egba schools is the major access way to Ijegun-Imore oil tank farm. Residents are afraid that with fuel tankers transporting fuel to and fro, they fear that danger may visit the community as a result of the activities of fuel trucks transporting petroleum products.
Much as the people are concerned over the condition of Satellite Town and Ijegun-Egba Nursery and Primary Schools, so they are, over the home school feeding programme of the Buhari-led administration.
The programme was said to had gulp billions of naira, resulting in public criticism of the Federal Government intervention. Nigerians had suggested that instead of wasting tax-payers’ money to feed pupils who are being fed by their parents at home during lockdown, the resources should have been invested in schools and other areas that would have great impact on the lives of the people.
Mrs. Caroline Samuel is a Satellite Town resident. She decried the state of Ijegun-Egba Primary School and what is expected from the authorities. “The public primary school we have in Satellite is in a shameful and despicable state. Considering the rising cases of coronavirus and other infectious diseases in Lagos, it’s important that the state government attend to the basic needs of these schools before reopening.”
She added: “Sadly, the palliatives that were shared during lockdown was only on television and pages of newspapers. To us, the right palliatives is to enhance schools across the country. President Buhari should re-channel the money for that wasteful venture to local education districts and education quality assurance offices. Incidentally, they are copying and pasting wrongly.
“They should begin now to provide face masks for all pupils and students, provide sanitisers to schools upon resumption, install clean portable water in all schools. It’s disheartening that the leaders we have in this country do not have the interest of the citizens at heart. It’s also sad that Nigerian government is happy training her children in structures that best qualifies as pigsties.”
Another resident, Oyebanjo Abbey, said that the condition of the school has been a source of worry to all, particularly, parents whose children are there, adding “It’s a shame that thousands of schools across Nigeria are also in this kind of rotten, despicable state. Yet, government is wasting trillions of tax-payers money to feed children who are at home 24 hours, seven days a week. And they think they can fool Nigerians? No!, they are only fooling themselves before the world. What an administration!
“I am eagerly awaiting for 2023 so I can join to vote out this administration, leaders whose only delight is to put Nigeria and Nigerians into perpetual indebtedness.