Four weeks after the resumption of the 2015/2016 academic calendar across the country, government-owned primary schools in Rivers State have remained shut.
The schools were locked up by security personnel who are protesting non-payment of several months’ salaries, according to Premium Times, which added that the lock-down has continued despite a promise by the Rivers State government to pay the aggrieved guards.
“We want to unequivocally state that for no reason should our children be locked out of their schools because of government’s inefficiency at properly managing her institutions,”said Solomon Okocha, head of the Port-Harcourt based The Patriots Alliance.
“We believe that a Nigerian child should not be dragged through the traumatic lane of abandonment by a resource endowed government. More so, no primary school pupil in Rivers State should suffer because of the refusal of Rivers State government to maintain her own part of payment agreement with security staff.”
In 2012, then state governor, Rotimi Amaechi, completed about 250 Model Primary Schools across the state, to replace old dilapidated schools as well as ease access to education.
According to Media Vanguard for Change, MVC, another Port Harcourt based organisation, the model primary schools were equipped with lCT facilities, modern libraries, science laboratories, football fields, basketball and volleyball pitches, and nursery playgrounds.
Amaechi had recruited private security personnel to guard the model primary schools. “These primary schools were built to the standard of the United Nations and measured with other parts of the world,” the MVC said in a statement by Sandra Briggs, its Secretary, on Friday.
“The MVC reminds Rivers people that Amaechi developed the education sector by building 24 model secondary schools across the 23 local government councils in the state; these were well planned and structured and fully equipped with modern day educational, recreation and boarding facilities with standard housing for teachers,” Ms. Briggs said.
Ms. Briggs noted that the previous administration of Mr. Amaechi ran a free education with free books and uniforms, provision of libraries and internet facility for the primary schools.
“The MVC wishes to remind Governor Wike that 13,000 teachers were recruited by Amaechi and some retained to handle the world class primary and junior secondary schools,” she said.
“He sanitised education in Rivers State in order to produce quality graduates. He provided an enabling and conducive atmosphere that enhanced education excellence in the state before he honourably left office after the end of his prosperous tenure.
“The refusal of Governor Wike’s administration to reopen these public schools, the deplorable nature of these schools’ environment and the eventual decay in education both in primary and secondary have sadly come to the notice of the MVC.”

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