Converting unauthorized building to schools criminal – Deputy Senate President


…as Senate asks federal states education authorities to conduct risk assessment

By Tunde Opalana

The Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Barau Jibrin has berated illegal conversion of structures mot approved for educational facilities to schools .

He described the rampant menace as not only improper but criminal and dangerous to safety of students, teachers and ancillary staff.

Senator Barau express displeasure at the unpleasant practice while contributing to the debate on the motion on ‘Urgent need to mandate schools to locate their Creche and Nursery classes on the ground floors of their high-rise buildings and implement safety protocols’ sponsored by Senator Idiat Oluranti Adebule at Senate plenary on Monday.

Condoling with the parents of David Etim Udo for the death of their son, he regretted that a toddler could be allowed to die in this manner.

“You find facilities that are not meant to be used as schools being converted to serve as schools without recourse to the rules that guide the establishment of schools. I think that it is the fault of the authorities in the first place, to allow anyone to use just any facility as a school.

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“It is wrong. If the proper thing is done in terms of approval for those who want to establish schools by making sure that any facility to be used for that purpose conforms with what is needed for that facility. I think if that had been the practice, then we wouldn’t have got to this kind of situation.

“What happens now is that you see residential buildings that are not meant to serve as schools being used as schools. For instance, in Apo quarters, there is a residence that has now been converted to serve as a school and if you see what is happening there, you will pity our young ones because that facility is meant to serve as a residence.

“How can you use a Skyscraper, a high-rise building to serve as a school for toddlers? It is so sad; this is condemnable and the owners of the school should be dealt with in accordance with the law.

“Before then, the authorities must stand up. Those saddled with the responsibility of making sure that proper facilities are created before allowing a structure to be used as a school should be called to always do their job by adhering strictly to the rules. They should be reminded of the lives of our young ones, the future of our young ones is the future of our country.

“We cannot allow this kind of incident to continue without calling those who are responsible to order. This has to stop. Buildings that are to serve as schools should be properly put in place in line with the rules. We must not allow this to continue,” he said

The Nigerian Senate consequently adopted a resolution asking the Federal and State Ministries of Education to immediately conduct a risk assessment of school infrastructure to identity hazards and vulnerabilities and timeously identify means to mitigate the hazards.

Sponsor of the motion, Senator Idiat Oluranti Adebule representing Lagos West Senatorial District, expressed deep concerns over the death of a toddler, David Etim Udo on 24th October, 2023 at the Emerald International School, Aba, Abia State.

She explained that the late toddler fell from the school high rise building leading to his tragic death.

The lawmaker noted that the case of David Udo was a pathetic one and urged the Senate to critically look into the matter with a view to proffer safety rules for schools.

After contributions by several lawmakers, the Senate upheld the resolution urging the Police to immediately commence investigation of the circumstances surrounding the fall and subsequent death of Master David Udo.

Reacting, Senate President, Godswill Akpabio commended the sponsor of the motion and initiated one minute silence for the toddler.

The Senate, thereafter, upheld a prayer urging the Federal and State Education ministries to enforce safety protocols across schools.

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