Rehabilitate St Thomas Aquinas Primary School Surulere, Alumni Begs Sanwo-Olu 

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has been urged to rehabilitate St Aquinas Primary School Surulere in Mushin Local Government Area.

The Alumni group made this call in a statement issued during the weekend.

According to them, the school is in deplorable situation unfit for human occupation, talk less of teaching and learning.

It was late former President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, who in one of his famous quotes aptly underscores the value of education when he said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

Talking from the above, it behoves on every government, be it federal, state and or local to give topmost priority attention to the education sector.

But for the people of Surulere, a serene community in the Mushin Local Government Area of Lagos State, the condition of St Thomas Aquinas Primary School leaves much to be desired.

St Thomas Aquinas School Surulere is by far unsuitable for learning, with the roof of the classroom blocks blown away; the ceiling having fallen, while the classrooms now grow green colouring matter with overgrown weeds surrounding the premises and creeping into the classrooms.

As a result of the level of dilapidation of the structures in the primary school, the community averred that it resorted to self help by hiring a structure nearby and relocated the students as a proactive measure to forestall a situation where the students, through no fault of theirs, would cohabit with some dangerous creatures in the name of learning in the abandoned classrooms or the classrooms ceiling will not collapse on the pupils while learning.

The situation is not different from what obtains in the Community Secondary School, Umuozoche Igbodo, which is the only one in the area.

Our correspondent who visited the school said that while walking through the narrow path surrounded by overgrown weeds on both side, clear and present danger of security for innocent pupils and students were observed.

The Chairman, Community Development Association(CDA) Atunrase Street who himself conducted our correspondent round the two school premises, wondered if his community and people were still part and parcel of Lagos State.

Mr Moshood Orunsolu , who revealed that he was also an alma mater of St Thomas Aquinas Primary School, averred that the school is now a shadow of its old self.

He said, “This primary school is where I attended in 1960, but today there’s no school there. I am crying because we don’t have future for our children, because the primary school is the starting point of education.

Mr Moshood Orunsolu further lament “the building is off, the zinc is off, the woods are off. The children have nowhere to school. We have few teachers, but there is nobody to teach. The environment is not conducive at all for the pupils and the entire community.”

Some concerned parents who are also alma mater of the school lamented that despite writing severally to the State Government and State Universal Basic Education Board on the need to urgently renovate the school, no meaningful response was forth coming from. Infact, when I look at the environment, we felt so disappointed, as if we are not part of Lagos State.

“They further expressed their grievances, we are located almost at the centre of Lagos State but we are being neglected. The only primary school we have is nothing to write home about.

“We have tried all we could; we have written to State Government, Local Government and the even to the State Universal Basic Education Board but all to no avail.

Another old student of the school who is still living very close to the school cried out “I have visited Local Government myself on several occasions with members of my community, up till today, we are still waiting, but no reply. The school has no building, no staff rooms for teachers posted here, no securities which gives room for the miscreants to take over school premises as their hideout as you can see.

“However, we are not comfortable with this situation, but we still appeal that the State Government should come to our aid, because there is no single classroom, no staff rooms, no teachers’, no office for the headmaster, the school premises has turn to a den for criminals infact the whole school is total dilapidated and decapitated.”

Speaking to our correspondent, Chief Thompson a chieftain and a community leader in Atunrase Street of Surulere, said is planning to go on air to publicize how dilapidated the school is now.

Moreover, the chieftain continue, we won’t allow the school to be a thing of the past because the primary school have produce timber and caliber in the society all over the world like the present Speaker of Lagos State Assembly, Rt. Hon. Musa Obasa, Akeem Olajunwon, Chief Segun Odegbami, e t.c

“Moreso, you can see that this school is at the centre of Lagos and it is supposed to be in good condition because Surulere is metropolitan area of Lagos State, however, how can dilapidated school shouldn’t be found in Lagos State at all.

Some of the women in community speak with our correspondent, “They can’t even bring their kids to this St Thomas Aquinas School again because of how dilapidated the school is despite they are residents of the community. If this place was in good condition, they will bring their children to school here. They further emphasize that the school look like a place they rear pigs for them to bring their children here? It is unhealthy.”

They community women further explained to our correspondent that if their successful husbands today started their lifes through St Thomas Aquinas School Surulere ( Boys only primary school with white and brown khaki uniform) and they are successful with their career in life, to their greatest surprise is that how could Lagos State government allow such boys only primary school who has produce great outstanding dignitaries home and abroad be dilapidated and deplorable if not for political reason.

Mrs Aminat Banjoko who is of the P.T.A member and mother who kids also attended the school lamented that some teachers who are posted here work redeploy their postings elsewhere when they sees the condition of the school. Presently, we have three teachers available school for now. The few kids community that attend the school has been evacuated to nearest school because flood taken all over the classes, the classrooms has no room.

“But there is no toilet for the pupils to defecate and we want to eradicate cholera in Lagos State, no water for them to drink and no light. Look at where we am standing now, if it starts raining here you will run away. Lagos State cannot be answering the ‘Centre Of Excellent’ of the nation and St Thomas Aquinas School Primary Surulere in the centre of Lagos State to be dilapidated like this, no way.

“So we are appealing to the State Government and Mushin Local Government through the UBE Board Chairman and also through the Commissioner for Education that they should come to the aid of St Thomas Aquinas School, we have children here that are very intelligent.

Engr Festus Akinpelu, concerned alma mater of the school, puts it aptly when he said, “I don’t think there is any school in this condition in this state.”

Like the others, Akinpelu appealed to the state government to renovate the school so that “the students will have a place to study,” pointing out that no parent will be happy to send his or her child to this kind of school.

He added, “last year some ceilings from one of the classroom collapsed, thank God the students have closed for the day and left before it collapsed, otherwise we would have been talking about a different thing. So let the government act fast by coming to our aid.”

A concerned youth in the area, Mr Dayo Fakunle, while corroborating the views of the CDC chairman on the dilapidated the school, said, “Ordinarily, St Thomas Aquinas Primary School supposed to be glorifying school for the whole community but now the the school is shambles, dilapidated, decapitated and turn to hideout for criminals to perpetrate evils on the community.

“The facilities are not good enough for the children or the pupil to learn again, the environment is not conducive. If it rains now, it will pour directly on the children. If the sun is high, it is still on the children, because there is no shade anywhere, no roofing sheet on any of the building as you can see.”

Fakunle joined his kinsmen to call on the different tiers of government to, in his words, “do something urgently for sake of the children.”

He added, “We are even appealing to State Government to come to the aid of this community for the sake of our children, our sisters, our brothers, our nephew and nieces who found themselves here.

“The government has neglected us for years. So we are appealing and calling on the government to please treat this as an urgency and come to our aid. We don’t longer have community school again.

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