Parents protest Queen’s College pupils’ death

Parents are bitter about how their children are being treated at Queen’s College, Yaba, Lagos Mainland, where two pupils have died from drinking unclean water.

Vivian Osuinyi died of diarrhea on February 14; Itula Bithna died of typhoid on February 22.

The girls, who were junior secondary pupils, died at home after falling ill in school

The Parents Teachers Association (PTA) Chairman, Mr John Ofordike, said he was called to the school three months ago to attend to a medical issue.

“As far as I am concerned I cannot tell you the cause of their death, but, was told that it is typhoid fever and it was caused by bad water. Three months ago, there was an incident in the college. Students were vomiting and purging and I was called upon. When I got there I saw children at the sick bay receiving treatments and while some were still waiting to be treated. We tried to examine the issue but didn’t know where the fault was. So in the end, I donated 3,000 bags of pure water which lasted for five days and during that period the number of children vomiting and purging reduced

“Before they vacated, I advised parents to take their children for medical check-up. So many did and I got so many complaints – of fever, high level of typhoid in their system. It is disheartening that four months into my election as the chairman, there have been medical issues and even deaths,” he said.

Ofordike noted that the pupils were not benefiting from the Queen’s Delight table water which is produced in the school by a private firm.

The firm started operation about two years ago, with an agreement to provide potable water for domestic use in the school. However, Ofordike said the water was being sold to outsiders without consideration for the pupils.

Henceforth, he said, the firm would provide the water for use in the dormitories, kitchen, clinic and dining areas.

A parent, who simply called himself Mr Zubby, blamed the pupils’ death on negligence.

He said: “It is a result of negligence. That is why we are here. Nobody is happy. I have two children here and I would not want anything to go wrong with them. After their inter-house sports, I took my daughters’ home. That night one of them fell really sick. When we conducted tests on them, they were both positive with high level of typhoid. So we started advising parents to do same, so many results from the parents were positive too. In fact one of us said her daughter’s was critical.

“I think there should be transparency; you do not expect any parent to start raising issue where there is none. Most times these children come back home and complain of one thing or the other and where the management is not able to say let us sit down and proffer solution it becomes a big issue.”

Another parent, Mr Timothy Babafemi, said: “We are not happy at all with the issue. There were rusted pipes that resulted in the contamination of the water. Though my daughter suffered from malaria as a result of bad windows, mosquitoes, but with the help of the PTA and other agencies, the deteriorated facilities in the school are being repaired”.

26 Pupils Get Rewards For Excellence In Oyo State.

The Oyo State Government has rewarded 26 pupils from various schools who have represented the state in various National competitions for being good ambassadors.

The State Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Professor Adeniyi, presented the gifts to the 26 pupils for their excellent performances in Mathematical Association of Nigeria (MAN), Science Teachers Association of Nigeria (STAN) and Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) competitions.

He said that there as no amount of time, energy and money that could be regarded as too much to expend on Education.

“Education as we all know is a veritable tool and instrument to alleviate and subsequently banish ignorance and poverty, whatever is devoted to education therefore multiplies in turn,” the Commissioner stated.

Professor Olowofela reiterated that the Ajimobi-led administration would not relent in its effort to turn around education in the state, saying that government’s policies such as stoppage of mass promotion of students, promotion based on 80% class attendance and above average performance, inauguration of Schools Governing Boards (SGB) for effective control and teaching, massive renovation of schools and supply of science equipment would help to save education from its present dismal position.

The commissioner appreciated the contributions of the various stakeholders in complementing the efforts of the State Government to improve the quality of education in the state and consequently congratulated the awardees for their steadfastness and determination which has enabled them to excel among their peers.

In her remarks, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mrs Aderonke Makanjuola, commended the awardees for making the state proud and stated that the reward of excellence would assist in stimulating other pupils in their studies.

Primary School Kids donate N2.5 million sanitary kits to soldiers fighting Boko Haram

Pupils of Children International School, Lekki in Lagos State, at an emotional event on Monday in Maiduguri, Borno State, donated sanitary kits worth about N2.5 million to soldiers fighting Boko Haram insurgents in North-east Nigeria.

The pupils raised the money for the items by forfeiting their lunch in appreciation of the troops’ sacrifices for the country.

The contribution was coordinated by a Lagos based non-governmental organisation known as Volt Club, which conveyed the items to Maiduguri on behalf of the pupils.

Leader of the delegation and Volt Club’s Head of Assesment, Bhila Khipani, said the donations were made by the pupils, following the club’s advocacy campaign calling young Nigerians to show supports for troops in the battle field.

“Volt Club is a voluntary organisation within Lagos with interest in charity, especially on issues concerning children and their educational needs,” said Khipani.

“This is just a token of appreciation from school children all the way from Lekki Phase 1 Lagos. It is a kind gesture coming from school children in times of celebrations like this.

“But the key message in this gesture is in urging all Nigerians to take this torch onward and do something to make a soldier smile.

“It may not be in this form; other Nigerians can do even more. Let everyone go out and think of what they can do to make a soldier happy by telling them they are all appreciated for the sacrifices they are making for the country,” he said.

Receiving the gift items on behalf of the soldiers, the Acting General Officer Commanding 7 Division Nigeria Army, Victor Ezugwu, said the gesture by the children brought him to experience his most emotional moment as an officer.

“On behalf of soldiers of the 7 Division Nigeria army, I want to thank you for this show of solidarity, brotherhood and camaraderie for our soldiers out there fighting Boko Haram,” Mr. Ezugwu, a brigadier-general, said.

“We have fought Boko Haram from the land areas and territories they had hitherto command as their caliphate; we have taken the battle right to them in Sambisa forest where we are now and we are trying to clear them out once and for all so that our peace can be total and whole.

“This is a very emotional moment for all of us that have been fighting Boko Haram; and of course the most emotional moment of my stay as a GOC.

“Children of ages 3, 4 and 5 years being able to remember that there are soldiers and commanding officers in the North-east fighting Boko Haram and laying down their lives, is quite commendable. Of course family members have lost their loved ones all because we want to keep peace in our father land”.

He said he was touched emotionally because the children’s kind donation came at a time some other Nigerians were allegedly trying to tarnish the image of the Nigerian Army.

“Some people are trying to paint us black and trying not to see anything good in our efforts to safeguards our nation. But we take it that God almighty will bless these children because they are very patriotic in their attitudes and behaviour. God will bless them and bless their parents”.

Officials of the Volt Club said they had presented 1000 sachet packs containing a unit of tissue paper, tooth paste, hand towel, shaving sticks, toothbrush, bars of soap, sanitary pads, chewing gum and recharge cards ranging from N1000, N500 and N200.

Each of the packs was worth N2500.

How Kidnapped Lagos Teachers, Pupils Were Released

Kidnapped four pupils and two teachers of Lagos State Model College, Igbonla Epe, were ferried to safety in two speedboats by their abductors on Tuesday, it was learnt yesterday.

The victims – Abu, Emmanuel Okonkwo, Jeremiah Ruth, Isaac Adebisi – Junior School Vice Principal A. O. Oyesola and English teacher Lukman Oyerinde, were dropped off inside a forest where they trekked for over two hours before meeting their relatives.

Our reporters learnt that they were asked to walk in a line and not look back until they got to the point where family members had waited for over four hours.

The vice principal led the pack and the English teacher was asked to stay at the rear, leaving the pupils in-between.

The victims were taken to the Epe General Hospital for check-up.  Some of them were diagnosed with typhoid and malaria.

The father of one of the victims said: “They spent many hours at the hospital and were later moved to a house in Epe where the principal addressed them.

“Two parents went to a designated place in Epe, where the kidnappers directed them to. They were at the place around 6pm and stayed there till about 10pm without any sign of the victims.

“As it was getting late, they said they were scared but had to remain there because that was the kidnappers’ instruction.  So, around 10:30pm, they showed up, saying they had trekked for over two hours.

“I received the kidnap news with rude shock and since then, my family has been disorganised. I was not staying in Epe. My wife and I relocated to Epe ever since the bad news broke.

“I thank God when I was called by 10:30pm to inform me that the victims have been released. When I arrived at the school, I saw my son alive.

“I was not afraid that something sinister might happen to them because I have been praying alongside with many other sympathisers and I have the assurance that they would come out alive. God has really done it.

“Let’s not talk of ransom, I did not pay any. I don’t know whether anyone paid. I did not pay. My joy is that my son and others are hale and hearty. I want to thank the state government and the police for the roles they played while the victims were in captivity.”

Ruth’s sister who spoke on condition of anonymity said: “We suffered hell when we went to pay N1 million for our sick child. The kidnappers after two days of playing pranks with us dropped them off in the bush and gave them a description on how to come out to the road.

“Our joy knew no bounds when we saw our children and their teachers coming out alive. I was deeply involved because our child was described as being ill, but, not as ill as we were made to believe”

Police spokesperson Dolapo Badmos, a Superintendent (SP) said they were neither assaulted nor traumatised.

She stated that the medical examination carried out on the victims indicated that none of them was molested.

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How kidnapped Lagos teachers, pupils were released

Osun: Free meals boost pupils’ school enrolment

Mrs Olubunmi Ayoola, Programme officer of the Osun Elementary School Feeding and Health Programme (O’MEAL), says the free meal programme in the state has boosted enrolment of pupils in public schools.

Ayoola spoke on Friday in Osogbo while receiving a delegation from Niger State on a three-day visit to understudy the O’MEAL programme of the state.

She said that the Gov. Rauf Aregbesola-led administration in the state would continue to implement the feeding programme in spite of the scarce financial resources available to the state.

“Through this programme, there has been a relative increase in pupils’ enrollment in the state public schools,’’ Ayoola said.

She said that the programme also impacted positively on the state’s economy as food vendors and farmers were empowered in the process.

In her remarks, Mrs Afiniki Dauda, Special Adviser to Niger State Governor on Empowerment and Social Protection, who led the delegation, commended Gov. Aregbesola for the programme.

She said that the programme showed the commitment of the Aregbesola-led administration to the welfare of the people of the state despite the financial crisis affecting most states.

Dauda said Osun state was a model to all other states of the federation in the area of O’MEAL.

According to her, Niger will take a cue from Osun to run a similar programme.

Kenyan Govt To Give Laptops To Pupils

The Government will today Friday kick-start the delivery of digital learning devices to Class One pupils countrywide. The massive rollout plan will see all Cabinet Secretaries and Permanent Secretaries lead the distribution to 60 schools over the next one month. The plan, we have learnt, is advised by the need to fast-track the Jubilee government flagship project that has been elusive since 2013, with a total of 1.2 million devices expected to be delivered to all the 23,951 public primary schools by December this year.

The devices include laptops for teachers and tablets for pupils, which are fitted with Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD)-approved content. Content for Class One and Two is available
in five subjects.

According to a schedule by the ICT Authority and Digischool-the key implementers of the project-the rollout will kick off on Friday when ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru will deliver laptops to Ortum Boys School in West Pokot County.

How Boko Haram Lures Youths, Pupils With Interest-free Loans

New reports by an international aid organisation, Mercy Corps, have revealed how Boko Haram insurgents use informal micro credit schemes and promises of safety to recruit hundreds of youths and pupils as fighters.

The beneficiaries, the reports funded by the Ford Foundation added, received amounts ranging from N10,000 to N1m in order to buy motorcycles, restock their trading stores and grow their small-scale businesses.

The reports, presented on Thursday in Lagos, also highlighted how repression from the military and access to interest-free finance, among others, had perpetuated terrorism and elicited sympathy from communities in the North.

However, the Lead Researcher and Global Director, Conflict Management for Mercy Corps, Rebecca Wolfe, said many of the locals did not know that the credits were from the insurgents.

The reports noted, “Roughly one out of three respondents had completed secular secondary school and about the same number had completed some sort of Islamic schooling.”

Titled, “Motivations and Empty Promises: Voices of former Boko Haram combatants and Nigerian Youth and Gifts and Graft: How Boko Haram uses Financial Services for Recruitment and Support,” the reports revealed that peer pressure and the availability of girls were also incentives to the beneficiaries.

According to Wolfe, 47 former members of the insurgent groups, comprising 21 females and 26 males, 45 community members and seven others, who refused the sect’s incentives were interviewed during the study.

 She added, “Sometimes the people did not know. It is usually something like a friend coming to give them money for their business and they later find out that the friend is a member of Boko Haram. I asked them, ‘Don’t you people know?’ But it turned out that sometimes, they did not know what they were getting into.

“One male recipient shared how he was complaining to a friend that he wanted a job so he could better provide for his parents. The friend then liaised with Boko Haram leaders to secure a motorcycle to allow the recipient start a business,” she said.

Meanwhile, the reports recommended that the government should, in the post-conflict era, “increase the quality, availability and diversity of financial services, particularly to youths with small, informal businesses. Increase transparency and accessibility to government-led economic programmes. Explore financial services to help youths achieve their ambitions, among other interventions.”

A member of the team, Ballama Mustafa, who urged the government to make its presence felt in remote communities in the region, added that interventions should be interest-free and should not exclude locals, who are not literate.

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Enugu Approves School Feeding For Pupils In Primary 1-3

Enugu State government has taken another giant stride to ensure quality and affordable education through the provision of one free meal daily for its pupils in primary one to three.

Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of the state who inaugurated a steering committee to drive this free meal project yesterday stated that his administration was not only committed to move education to the next level but that it would make the development projects in the sector sustainable.

Prof. Uche Eze who is the state commissioner for education heads the steering committee and explained during the inauguration that the introduction of the single free meal daily for pupils in primary one to three would stimulate sustained attention by the pupils as well as encourage school farming since the feeding is home-grown based.

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Being Out Of School To Be A Crime In Sokoto

Governor of Sokoto State, Mr. Aminu Tambuwal, has said that his administration would criminalise and punish parents whose children are nabbed outside during school hours.

Tambuwal disclosed this, on Tuesday, while speaking at the on-going 55th Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), taking place in Abuja.

He said he would implement fully the Child Rights Act, stop child labour and other child abuses, adding that the services of lawyers were crucial to national development and that lawyers were needed more in the legislative arm of government.


Pupils In Nigeria Are Intelligent, Therefore Teaching Difficult, Says British Principal

A Briton, Mr. Graham Meredith, says that teaching in Nigerian schools is a difficult task. Meredith, the Principal of Premiere Academy, Lugbe, Abuja, said this during the institution’s sixth graduation ceremony.

He said,

“To be a principal in Nigeria is not an easy job because the kids want to learn. When you have pupils that want to learn and improve themselves, it becomes a big challenge as you have to prepare because they are intelligent.”

According to him, Nigerian educational system is also unique because of many factors, including the desire of the pupils to go for the best.

He added,

“The pupils want to learn and they see it as an opportunity to go to the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and Europe to further their careers. They work and study hard and have good manners. From what I have seen, Nigerian pupils also are very respectful.

“If you do well, you can get admission and meet other best scholars across the world. And if you go to the best universities, you are going to meet the best people. But you have to get the entry ticket.”

To boost the moral of teachers, he stated that motivation should be the primary factor to be taken into consideration.

Meredith added,

“Teachers at Premiere are qualified and are specialists in their own field. While some of them have the minimum degree qualification, others have master’s degrees. Besides, teachers here are motivated.