Magnus Eze, Enugu
The people of Amagunze in Nkanu East Local Government Area of Enugu State and students of the only community secondary school in the area are in a quandary.
They are wondering what the fate of the students would be once schools resume after the nationwide closure occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic.
Their situation has become more precarious as students of the school in the senior secondary class 3 would be writing the Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE) as well as the National Examination Council (NECO) examination.
A destructive rainstorm on March 31 reduced virtually every structure in the school to rubble.
This happened barely two months after a mysterious fire incident, which gutted critical facilities at the community secondary school in Amagunze, the only post-primary school in the area.
In fact, the day of the inferno has gone down in history as one of the worst days in the life of the people of the agrarian community, before the rainstorm visited them with another bout of anguish. The strange fire had, that fateful evening of January 17, burnt down the building housing the school library, laboratory and offices, including those of the vice principal, the dean of studies and the staff room.
A community leader, Ozor Francis Nnamani, who accompanied the principal of the school, Mr. Ignatius Obusi, to inspect the extent of damage after the rainstorm, described it as disheartening and worrisome. He was particularly disillusioned by the destruction of the school laboratory, which, according to him, was recently renovated by some individuals from the town after the January fire incident.
The principal, it was gathered, has since taken inventory of what was destroyed and submitted it to the Post Primary Schools Management Board (PPSMB) and other relevant agencies for necessary action.
Two witnesses, Mr. Christian Nweke and Sunday Nnamani, who were in the school, said the incident was calamitous and has created a very big problem for Amagunze.
They joined Ozor Nnamani in appealing to Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, the State Emergency Management Agency, the Nkanu East Local Government authorities, and other relevant agencies to immediately come to their assistance to ameliorate the sufferings that the damage has brought to the people of the town.
The school’s dean of studies, Mrs. MaryRose Nwatu, whose office was affected by the fire incident earlier in the year, lamented that all her text books, lesson notes and personal belongings were consumed alongside those of the vice principal and other teachers.
“I have no office now, I loiter from one place to another and I only teach out of experience because we lost everything to the fire.
“The students are getting ready for WAEC exams, I wonder what will be their fate when it comes to practicals, because the lab was burnt to ashes,” she said.
Also, traditional ruler of Okeani-Aniyi Amagunze Autonomous Community, Igwe Emmanuel Nnamchi, expressed sadness over the incident, and pleaded with the Enugu State government to urgently come to their rescue for the sake of the students whose future was under threat.
His plea: “My worry is that this is the only secondary school serving students from our four autonomous communities. And what is a secondary school without a library and a laboratory? It’s almost useless. So, how will our children cope with the situation?
“This is why I appeal to the Enugu State government, ably led by Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, to come to our rescue”.
With a population of 875 students, Community Secondary School, Amagunze, is jointly owned by the four autonomous communities of Ohuani-Amagunze, Okeani-Aniyi Amagunze, Isienu Amagunze and Onicha-Agu Amagunze.
Some students from neighbouring communities of Akpofu and Amaokpala also attend the school.
Daily Sun could not ascertain from the PPSMB whether there would be intervention from government in the nearest future, given the urgency the situation deserved, because of the general lockdown in view of COVID-19.