The worrisome flooding ravaging the Federal College of Education Eha-Amufu (FCEE), Isi-Uzo Local Government Area of Enugu has been tackled following execution of some roads and culverts in the institution by the Ecological Fund Office.
It was celebration galore by students and members of staff of the college as the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama inaugurated the projects, which included four kilometers of internal roads and fourteen culverts. For about three years, the members of the College community had been having serious nightmares going and returning from school during rainy season.
This is because, the main entrance and some other parts of the college were often flooded after each rainfall, which affected buildings and stalled human and vehicular movement for hours and in some cases, many days. A student who pleaded anonymity told Radio Nigeria that no one could pass through the main entrance of the institution whenever it rained as it looked like a lake or swimming pool.
“In fact, some students who are inside the school before any rainfall will rush to the flooded area to take pictures and it will appear as if they were on a picnic ground. The water will look just like a beach or lake: it’s as bad as that.
“Many students have also fallen into the flood, especially new students and you needed to see how they looked like. Sometimes too, it will take two to three days for the flood to dry up and on those days, students who live off camp will never come to school because there is no way to pass.”
A member of staff of the Federal College of Education, Mr. Stanley Mbah also said that some of his colleagues have fallen inside the flood, and sometimes resulting in permanent disabilities.
“I too have been a victim as I fell with my motorcycle as the only day I summoned courage and I wanted to drive a fast one through the flood only to have landed inside the stinking pool of water, I regretted that day.
“A woman working with us also fell in the flood and since then she has not been walking well. We all have rain boots because of the situation. Honestly with the development, many people like me hated the rainy season because we get trapped inside the school during the rains.
“In fact, any time the cloud changes its colour and it’s about rain, everybody will, abandon work or lectures and run home because no vehicle will like to ply the flooded areas as a few who tried it never succeeded and eventually ended up spending fortunes to repair them,” he said.
However, following appeals by the school authority to President Muhammadu Buhari, the ecological Fund Office intervened and awarded contracts for the four kilometer road and 14 culverts to help drain the water flow on the campus, which were executed within one year. A representative of the Ecological Fund Office, Mr. Feleix Okeke cautioned the College community against miss use of the project, emphasizing against dumping of refuse in the drainage channels.
Foreign Affairs Minister, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama while inaugurating the projects stressed the present administration’s intention to make education attractive to youths, especially such institutions of learning situated in rural areas. According to Onyeama, if government makes schools in the rural areas comfortable enough with basic amenities and improved social infrastructure as well as functional skills acquisition centres, it will reduce rural-urban migration greatly.
The Minister also added that such improvement would curtail tortuous journeys by youths to overseas in search of green pastures.
“A lot more needs to be done, we have to invest a lot more and the Federal Government is committed to infrastructure for education and capacity building, in terms of manpower training.
“Infrastructure development in the rural area is poor, which is the reason teaming number of youths prefer to leave the villages for urban centres.
“Without an educated force, we are going to have what is called the irregular migration of our youths, crossing the Sahara as they trying to reach Europe. So the starting block that we need is education.”
The Provost of the institution, Professor Benjamin Mbah though lauded the intervention, which he described as a miracle, appealed to the Federal Government to execute more internal roads in the college and address the water crisis in the college.
“We requested for 12.4 kilometers and we were given 4 kilometers; we didn’t have even one before, so we are very happy. The campus has over 200 hectres and with development, we really need more internal roads.
“We have the challenge of portable water because the geology in this place, you cannot sink a borehole. So we have to import water from a nearby stream and then we treat it. So the water that passes through here should not be allowed to waste as it is being done.
“We can harvest, trap it, store it in our underground storage facility and then use it over the year before the next rain. Also it’s not only for other uses; it’s also for agricultural uses. We can do irrigation, we can do ponds to produces fishes and it will also help us in our research.”
The representative of the contractor that handled the project, Mr. Gabriel Deage claimed that the projects were done according to international standard and expected to last for 20 years.
Meanwhile, Radio Nigeria Observed that some existing bungalows in the institutions had cracks on their walls; some of them looked dilapidated and abandoned.
The Federal College of Education (FCEE) was built in 1981 by the government of the old Anambra State and was over by the Federal Government in 1994. The College had very poor infrastructure until the administration of the Present Provost, Professor Benjamin Mbah which attracted more projects from the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, otherwise known as TET-FUND.