In the aftermath of a 23-year-long communal conflict in the Ikot Offiong community of Odukpani Council, Cross River State, the recently elected Obong of Calabar, Etubom Anthony Ani, has announced plans to establish schools in the area.
The move promises to benefit over 20,000 children of the community who, due to the ongoing conflict, have been displaced across the state without access to education. The introduction of both primary and secondary schools will offer these children an opportunity to pursue their studies.
Etubom Ani, who previously held the position of Finance Minister during the late General Sani Abacha’s administration, shared his plans during the inauguration of a seven-member committee. This team is tasked with overseeing the school projects from inception to completion, as well as identifying suitable land for the immediate construction of the primary school. The secondary school is slated for development in the near future.
“When the Ikot Offiong community delegates approached me on August 1, 2023, they expressed their grievances about a lack of educational opportunities, infrastructure and basic social services for the past 23 years. I advised them that education is a communal responsibility and they should not solely rely on the government to provide these services. I encouraged them to initiate efforts on their own,” said Etubom Ani.
He further stated, “I pledged to lead by example, starting with the construction of a primary school and offering scholarships to eligible students. I view education as the cornerstone of growth and progress. The inability of children to attend school implies that the future generation is at risk, and this is unacceptable. Hence, we are assembling a committee to address the community’s educational needs, commencing with a primary school. The initial plan is to build a six-room primary school equipped with all necessary amenities. We anticipate that by this time next year, all qualifying children and even adults in the community will have begun their academic journey.”
SOURCE: The Guardian
IMAGE: Pillar Today