Akwa Ibom State Government has reiterated its commitment to ensuring qualitative education at all levels in the State, particularly the continued upgrade of infrastructure and facilities in public schools.
While decrying the spate of conspiracy and blackmail against the State government on the state of educational infrastructure, the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mr. Aniekan Umanah, disclosed that about 2,500 blocks of classrooms have so far been constructed and rehabilitated in about 1,162 primary schools and 244 secondary and technical schools across the State.
According to him, the intervention of the state government in public schools also include perimeter fencing of schools in high traffic areas, provision of laboratory equipment, school desks, workshops and supply of teaching aids and materials.
The free education policy of the State Government, Mr. Umanah said “is one of the best articulated in the country, and government should not be blackmailed by a skewed presentation of facilities challenge in a few outstanding public schools.” He added that the picture published on the front page of a national daily of Tuesday, October 6, 2015, is not a true reflection of the general situation in Akwa Ibom State.”
While commenting on the situation at the St. Paul’s Lutheran Primary School, Ikot Ibiok, the Commissioner explained that “the intervention of the state government in public schools is a continuous exercise.” He added that already, Governor Udom Emmanuel had directed the Inter Ministerial Direct Labour Committee to take inventory of schools in need of rehabilitation and provision of facilities, with a view to tackling them in the next phase of interventions. He noted that “more than 90 per cent of public primary and secondary schools in Akwa Ibom are in top conditions.”
Observing that though primary schools are direct responsibilities of the federal government, through the Universal Basic Education, he assured that “the State government will promptly address the situation in any identified school, in line with the infrastructure consolidation programme of the Governor Udom Emmanuel administration.”
The Commissioner noted that “government is aware that some people had been commissioned by political opponents to take pictures of schools awaiting intervention, with the sole objective of blackmailing government to score cheap political point, and challenged them to also take photographs of the thousands of school blocks that have been are in top shape, if they have any modicum of fairness in them.” He emphasized that Governor Udom Emmanuel remained focused on delivery of his campaign promises to the people of Akwa Ibom, and will not allow the antics of the opposition to distract him.