December 8, 2022

School vandalism in Akwa Ibom

THERE is an epidemic of vandalism and theft of school furnishings in Akwa Ibom State. It has been going on for quite a while, and the state government appears powerless to stop it.

In March 2022, Government Primary School, Aka Offot in Uyo, Akwa Ibom, was serially vandalised and its roofing sheets, wash hand basins, toilet seats and other fittings taken away by hoodlums who invaded the school. The vandalisation was first noticed after the COVID-19 lock-downs of 2020. Two culprits were later caught in the act, while one was found dead in the roof of a classroom.

Apparently, the malfeasance has continued in the state till date. The Akwa Ibom State Universal Basic Education, AISUBEB, recently addressed the media on the menace and pointed to a pathetic situation in Itam, Uyo where even the overhead tanks were stolen or vandalised in addition to the removal of school furniture.

Said the SUBEB Director, John Udoh: “It is disheartening that government will provide toilet facilities and human beings will destroy them. For instance, the primary school in Itam UBE school. The hoodlums removed the overhead tank…in broad daylight…this is a recurring thing in so many schools in the state”.

That this has continued “for a long time” as officials and community leaders kept saying, is an indictment on the entire society in Akwa Ibom State. Following the outcry over the vandalism of Government Primary School, Uyo, government renovated the school and sent 545 desks there. The impression being created is that government only knows how to spend huge sums to build and equip without plans to secure its property.

The act of awarding contract is the easiest part of government responsibility. It is the security and maintenance of the facilities to enable them serve their original purposes that shows the difference between competent and incompetent government. There is obviously a syndicate at work. If the Police has proved incapable of rooting out those behind the inhuman acts, we advise that the Governor should act, as the Chief Security Officer of the state.

He should set up a collaboration between the security agencies and the various local communities to protect all government facilities, especially schools. Community vigilante groups should be able to identify the bad eggs perpetrating these evil acts in their communities and hand them over to the police.

Every community should play a role in securing the educational facilities in their domains, and those in charge should be held responsible for any further lapses. When good examples are made of the people behind these and those protecting them, the menace will stop.

Education is not something to be toyed with because the future of our country depends on it.