“Leave me, I am going to die with my child; oh God where are you, save my child, God will punish all greedy politicians that are awarding contracts to incompetent contractors”, These were some of the soul touching words that were coming out from the mouths of parents, relations and friends, of the pupils of the Staff Model Primary School, College of Education, Agbor, as the entire college community and Ika nation in general were thrown into instant mourning, following the collapse of a water storage tank in one of the primary three classroom blocks at about 12pm noon on Tuesday, 2nd November, 2010.
The accident which claimed the lives of five pupils on the spot, with many severely injured, was said to have happened when the 25ft tall metal water storage tank standing in between the primary and secondary school blocks of not more than 10 or 15ft from each other of the institution was uprooted from its foundation, just a few minutes after it was filled to the brim with water. Answering questions from Ika Weekly at the Central Hospital, Agbor, one of the senior teachers of the school who craved for anonymity, said, “when we came back from the mid-term break of last week, we discovered that every where around the school toilet was littered with faces and urine. We then asked for permission from the school management to clean those areas up, which was approved by the school engineer, who ordered that water should be pumped from the borehole to the tank so that there will be enough water for the clean up exercise. But to our greatest surprise, the exercise was half way when the water tank collapsed into primary three A, classroom”. He asserted that the water storage tank which was constructed about two years ago, before the accident, never showed any sign of collapse, positing that, the bulk of the blame should go to the contractor who executed the project shabbily.
Commenting on the devastating incident , a parent, Mr. Kimekwu Oboh said, “God will never forgive the Nigerian political class for the evils they are doing in this country. Was it not the state government that awarded the contract? Why did they award it to an incompetent and inexperienced contractor? Why are they putting, the lives of many Nigerians in danger because of personal interest and aggrandizement? Now look at the number of innocent children that died and those that got deformed, all as a result of one careless contractor who does not mean well for this country.”
Meanwhile the Honorable Commissioner of Higher Education, Professor Hope Eghagha, accompanied by the chairman, governing council of the College of Education, Agbor, Professor Patrick Moboware, the provost of the College, Dr. Duke Okobia and former provost of the institution, Dr. Emmanuel. Tibi, to the scene of the incident described it as a great shock. While commiserating with parents of pupils that lost their lives during the collapse, he assured that the Delta State government will foot the bills of the injured pupils who are currently under going treatment at the Agbor Central Hospital or at any hospital in the country.
However, many of the sympathizers who thronged the scene of the incident blamed governments at all levels for allowing the evil of shabby execution of contracts by incompetent contractors to continue unabated in Nigeria. As at the time of filling this report, three girls, two boys, all primary three pupils of the Staff Model Primary School, College of Education, Agbor, who have been certified dead by the doctors have been deposited at the Agbor Central Hospital Mortuary, one was on oxygen, while about fifteen among many who were severely wounded were receiving treatment at the children’s ward of the hospital.