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Friday, July 19, 2024

We Live at the Mercy of Snakes — School for the Blind, Deaf and Dumb Tells Soludo

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By Izunna Okafor, Awka

The students of Basden Memorial Special Education Centre (School for the Blind, Deaf and Dumb) in Isulo, Orumba South Local Government Area of Anambra State has called on Governor Chukwuma Soludo to provide the school with electricity

The students made the call over the weekend while speaking with a concerned citizen, Ugochi Agalaba-Ehiahuruike, who recently embarked on a tour to the school.

According to them, the school lack basic social amenities, such as electricity, potable water, to enhance their comfort in the school, both in the day time and in the night time.

The students, who are disabled in one way or the other, complained that snakes and other dangerous animals usually creep into the school environment and place of habitat mostly at night; which exposes them to risk of snake bites and other such harm.

However, they said that, with constant light in the premises, those dangerous animals won’t creep in anymore, while those that creep in would be easily seen and killed.

They, therefore, called on the State Government, led by Governor Soludo to urgently come to their aid by providing them with those necessities, which, they said, would also help improve their comfort and guarantee their safety.

They say they also need teaching aids, so as to enhance and facilitate their learning process.

When contacted, the State Commissioner for Education, Prof. Ngozi Chuma-Udeh said the State Government was already working on repositioning the various Special schools in Anambra State.

According to her, the present administration of Governor Chukwuma Soludo currently has ongoing projects in different Special schools in the State, and is therefore, not ignorant of the challenges facing the schools

She also added that her Ministry had written a memo to the Governor for the repair of the school’s solar system.

“We have written any memo to the Governor so that we can repair their solar system for them. We just reconstructed their toilets and all what not. We are working there. All the special schools are under reconstruction now,” she said.

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The Commissioner further revealed that the challenges faced by the schools had been a recurrent one, while also assuring that they will all be gradually addressed.

She said, “This is a perennial problem, it did not start with this administration. So, we are taking these things gradually; it is not something that will just vanish with the wave of a hand.

“Basden (the school) told us they had problems with their sumo, and we had gone there to rectify their sumo; and they have water. And now, you are talking about light. Gradually, these things will be rectified.

“We have other special schools; it is not only Basden. And the Governor is so much interested in their affairs.”

Meanwhile, it would be recalled that the immediate-past administration of Willie Obiano in Anambra State had sometime taken the credit of transforming the Isulo-based school, popularly referred to as School for Children with Special Needs, and other Special schools in the State, sometime in 2020.

In the words of the then Commissioner for Education in the State, Prof. Kate Omenugha, during an interactive meeting tagged ‘Meet the Media’ sometime in July 2020, she stated that the school suffered neglect and abandonment until the wife of the Governor, Mrs Ebelechukwu Obiano came to rescue it from desolation and save the children from what appeared a disastrous end.

According to Prof. Omenugha, “The school wears a new look with a hostel and teachers’ quarters built by the Obiano Administration. We even built a secondary school there. But what we met on ground was unimaginable.”

The former Commissioner, at the event, narrated how the Obiano Administration met the students and their teachers as people who had been forgotten by society, while the school and entire environment was deplorable, such that no one could believe that people lived there.

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Her words: “We met them as people who have been forgotten by society. The school and entire environment was deplorable. You couldn’t believe that people lived there.

“But we set to work and before long, we turned the school around to a habitable environment befitting humans. It was the wife of the Governor, Dr Ebelechukwu Obiano that led the campaign.

“She lost sleep over the sad experience. She was so troubled that she called me and cried, saying, ‘I have been looking for these children all my life and here they are at my doorstep; I am leaving them, doing nothing’.

“Then driven by passion, she declared that we must do something about those children.

“That declaration sparked off the turning around of the Isulo School and initiated the amazing transformational intervention of the Obiano Administration in schools and facilities for children with special needs across the state.

“Governor Obiano’s educational policy of not leaving any child behind manifested quickly as government moved in to rebuild the School for Special Children, Isulo.

“We built hostels, teachers quarters and set up a secondary school there. Government gave them free tuition just as it gave other physically-challenged students schooling in Anambra state.

“The Governor also increased their monthly subvention from a paltry N50, 000.00 to N500, 000.00 monthly to ensure that the children are well taken care of.

“The children have not been taking promotion examinations. Those who got to Primary Six kept repeating the class. Many of them were abandoned by their parents but I’m happy to announce that the students at Isulo will be taking their first WAEC this year.

‘They have also grown from about 100 students to 300 because more students have been joining since the transformation of the school.”

However, it is surprising that amidst all these claims, the Basden Memorial Special Education Centre, Isulo still live at the mercy of snakes today and lack potable water.

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