By; VITALIS UGOH, Calabar
Members of Ikang Joint Assembly and Edik Idim Communities in Bakassi Local Government Area of Cross River State, have called on the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) to intervene in the abandoned Education Trust Fund (ETF) school project in Edik Idim.
The project was initiated in 2008 and was abandoned at lintel level due to unknown reasons.
They made this call when a delegation of Ikang Joint Assembly and representatives of Edik Idim Communities in Bakassi paid a courtesy visit to the Executive Chairman, State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Dr Stephen Odey in his office.
Speaking, the leader of the delegation and the President, Ikang Joint Assembly, Chief Ndem Eyo-Ita who was being represented by the Vice President Chief Ene Cobham, said the abandoned project was an eight classroom block with toilet facilities meant to house primary class 1-6 and Junior Secondary class 1-3.
While calling on the Board to intervene, Eyo- Ita, said due to the Idim of a school structures, children of Edik Idim Community are subjected to trekking long distances to schools in neighbouring communities of Ekpri Ikang and Ikang Town daily.
He said that the Ikang Joint Assembly is an umbrella body representing the interest and developmental yearnings of the three Ikang communities in Bakassi, comprising of Clan Heads, Chiefs, Elders, Opinion Leaders, Youths as well as women.
Also in his remarks, the village head of Edik Idim, Muri Edet Asuquo, lamented over the sad situation of children in the community, saying ” the abandonment of the ETF project cut short the joy and hope of the community”.
According to him “for about ten years now it has remained abandoned, that is why we are here sir, to solicit your assistance in completing the school project. As we are here with you, the children in the community know no joy as they still trek 4 kilometers to and fro schools in nearby towns”.
Responding, the Executive Chairman SUBEB, Dr Stephen Odey, who sympathised with the plight of this community assured of the state governments’ efforts in bringing the much needed succour to the community.
According to him “once we check our records and there is an established school there, I will tell the governor and we will give you a brand new six classroom block, but we cannot give you a new project if the school does not exist. So if the community is willing, they can write to Ministry of Education to establish a school there and then we can give you a new project without further delay”.
He commended the community for drawing SUBEB’s attention to this issue, despite the project not being under his administration.
Odey said efforts will be made to contact the contractor and ETF in order to resolve the issue and further stressed that under his leadership there will be no abandonment of projects in the State.
While stressing that education is key, he said the Prof. Ben Ayade led administration was committed to ensuring that every Cross River Child has an equal opportunity to qualitative education. He urged members of the community to continue to support the administration of governor Ben Ayade.