Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has commenced efforts to reconstruct Comprehensive High School, Okobo, as a measure to restore peace between the warring Amamong and Okopedi communities of Okobo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
The school, which has produced high profile members of society such as the current Secretary of Nigeria Bar Association, Barr. Joyce Odua and former Akwa Ibom House of Assembly Speaker and member, House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Peter Linus, was destroyed as a result of the inter-communal conflict in December 2020.
Interim Administrator of the Commission, Dr. Efiong Akwa, who is also a product of the school, lamented “that almost one year after that unfortunate crisis the children who attend that school have not been able to resume school. We cannot allow this to continue. We can’t deny these children the right to go to school.”
This renowned high school that boasts of prolific alumni like current Secretary of Nigeria Bar Association, Barr. Joyce Odua; Interim Administrator of NDDC, Dr. Efiong Akwa; and among others was wrecked beyond rehabilitation when Amamong and Okopedi communities picked up arms against each other, last year December.
Akwa said that NDDC “has decided to intervene in order for the students to return to class, adding: “We have to start engaging communities with this kind of interventions. NDDC is here to work with our communities to build infrastructure and foster lasting peace.”
The NDDC boss disclosed that an assessment team of engineers, led by the acting Director of Utilities, Infrastructural Development and Waterways of the Commission, Engr. Aniefiok Iniokut, has submitted its report and the Commission is set to rebuild the school.
“We will build an ICT centre, a library, science laboratory, staff quarters, and an assembly hall,” he said. Other facilities to be built include a solar water project, with reticulation, male and female hostels, a two-storey classroom block, principal/vice principal residence and perimeter fencing with a gate house.
Community leaders from Amamong and Okopedi communities who received the assessment team expressed joy over NDDC’s planned intervention, noting that it will bring a feeling of lasting peace between them.
“We have been having a serious misunderstanding over our boundary lines. But with the coming of NDDC, I am sure all of that will be a thing of the past,” the Okopedi youth leader, Ekpenyong Ekpenyong, said.
Chief Bassey Ikpadi from Amamong who is also the school’s Parents/Teachers Association (PTA) chairman added: “We are happy for this NDDC’s intervention. Their attention to this long abandoned school will help to harmonize us with Okopedi. We are grateful to our brother, Dr. Efiong Okon Akwa. He has brought a wave of lasting peace and relief to the entire Okobo local government area and not just Amamong and Okopedi communities.”