His Royal Highness, Eze Ken Ndamati Otto is the Eze Oha Odu the fourth, King of Rumuodunwere autonomous Community in Elelenwo Clan of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area, Rivers State, where Ama Arts and Science College is situated.
TNN visited his palace. Here, he lamented on the condition of the learning environment of the school, adding that all effort he made to bring the state of the school to the attention of the state commissioner for education proved abortive. He spoke with EDITH CHUKU in this interview.
Ama Arts and Science College is in your community, haven witnessed the state of the school, how does that make you feel?
Honestly, I was not aware that that school has been existing here, but when I was made to know, I went to the school to see it myself and I was very angry “to” the principal, he was there with his teachers and the children, so I asked him some questions which later I told him to meet me in the palace, the royal palace of Eze Odu, he actually came, I told him that I don’t want that school to continue when he said he had no money, I told him okay, to be kind with you, close the school for now, look for money and fix the school, so that the children can have a comfortable place to do their lessons or their studies, he promised me to do that, and he never did.
When did this discussion take place?
That was around July, or June within that period, actually I did not take record of the date but I knew very, very well that I went to the school and I asked him to see me, so, I told him that if he doesn’t do this I will close the school, infact, I will arrest you, I did all that threaten but he never did.
So what step did you take afterwards?
Good, since I have been sending people to see if there have been any little work going on there, I had to put up a report, an official report to the commissioner for education, ministry of education, and to my greatest surprise I’ve not gotten any reaction from the ministry of education.
What’s the next step?
My concern is that since the media people have been invited and they saw it themselves, I want them to help me and make this thing public, if possible upto governor that this type of school is existing here, not in a building but attached to an old fence, I want commissioner for education to come, to approve the school, register the school or shut it down, that is just my concern, that is what I’m requesting.
But parents appear undisturbed seeing that they send their children to the school regardless of its current state.
I believe that they don’t know the nature of the school they have registered their children, they don’t know the situation of the school, because I believe some of them have not been there, but maybe through a friend or through which ever direction they sent their children there, a lot of mothers does it, not even the fathers, because it’s the mother that will go to get school and tell the man that so, so place is like this and like that let us register Peter, or John there.
According to the school proprietor, Mr Ama, the school has not been in session?
While, Mr Ama said that in defense but him and myself knows that he was lying, okay? I’ve been there, I even asked one lady teacher, madam, what are you doing here? The lady told me, I have forgotten her name, the lady told me that she is a teacher there, I said do you like this environment, do you like the nature of this school? She told me no, that she has already discussed with the director that this place is not good.
Some government schools are in worse shape, but, been it as it may, what measure are you putting in place to ensure that schools in similar or worse state are fished out?
Yes, what I intend doing now is to detail some of my boys to go around the community if they can find a place like that and come back to tell me.
What is your appeal to the commissioner for education as regards this?
Okay! good, my appeal to the commissioner for education is for him to act, fast, fast on certain reports, and in this case now let him come down to Elelenwo by himself and have a look on what I’m reporting, and know what to do like I have already “putting” it on paper that he should come and approve the school, register it with registration number or shut it down, because children cannot stay there, they will die because of the bad environment.
Then to parents, what’s your advice?
My advice to parents is that, they don’t just sit down at home, because Peter sent his son or daughter so, so place for that they send Angelina to follow them and go to school, they should personally go to know where their children are registered, where they are studying, because it is very, very bad to just, you know, I don’t know how to call it, to sit down and children are going to school, their own is to bring money, and give somebody to go and pay school fees too, because some of them are so lazy, they cannot get up from the ground to go and do things, the women, the mothers in particularly, they are like that.