By MONSUR OLOWOOPEJO
…Community sues govt over stance
THE Lagos state government has outlawed the ultra modern Makoko Floating School barely seven months after the construction started. The school that is expected to address perennial flooding that truncate access to education by children of the community may never be allowed to operate after-all.
The three_storey building with an area of 220 metres was built on a foundation of 256 plastic drums and powered by solar panels suspended on the roof. It isaimed at achieving the Millennium Development Goals, MDGs, Goal II, which is to boost universal primary education.
The floating school being built jointly by the residents of Makoko/Iwaya Waterfront community, Yaba Local Council Development Area, LCDA, United Nation Development Programme, UNDP and a private firm -NLE works, Nigeria, was expected to accommodate no fewer than 100 pupils and their teachers.
The founder of NLE, and promoter of the floating school, Mr. Kunle Adeyemi who spoke to Vanguard from his Netherland office, said that the structure would have served as an extension of the only existing school in the coastal community_ Whayinna Nursery and Primary school.
Adeyemi said that the ground floor of the three_storey building serves as an open recreational space for the pupils during the day and as a public arena for community activities after school hours.
While the first and the upper floors have classrooms that would have served primary classroom purposes.
Govt says it’s an illegal structure: Speaking on government’s position on the school, the Commissioner for Waterfront and Infrastructure Development in Lagos State, Prince Adesegun Oniru said; “The floating school has been illegal since inception. The owner of the floating school waited until there was a legal issue in the area before he commenced the construction of the school.”
According to him; “So as far as that floating school is concerned, it was erected without the permission of the state government.
“The simple answer to the floating school is that it is an illegal structure and it shouldn’t be there.”
The commissioner said that its development will affect the government’s redevelopment plan for the area, saying “This wouldn’t deter us to abandon our plan for the area.”
Community sues govt
Speaking on the floating school, secretary of the Makoko Waterfront Community, Mr. John Keke, who spoke to Vanguard on Phone said that the community and the government are already in court over the legality of several activities of the residents of the waterfront community, saying; “I wouldn’t like to speak more on the issue because we were already in court.”
It will be recalled that the residents and various Non_Governmental Organisations, NGOs, sued the state government over the demolition of hundreds of structures, which the government claimed was embarked upon to address the environmental issues affecting the community and to get rid of the shanties built close to the power line that passes through the community.
On the court case, Oniru however said; “We aren’t going to do anything that would amount to contempt of court. We will do what we need to do. If the owner of the structure got money to waste, he should continue. However we will not abort our plan.”