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Akwa Ibom Abandons Top Multi-Billion Naira College

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Akwa Ibom Abandons Top Multi-Billion Naira College-

Apart from many of its schools being dilapidated, Akwa Ibom also has shortage of public schools.

This state of five million people has just 250 public secondary schools, a 2016 data shows. And a number of those schools, including the four science colleges and the seven technical colleges, are in ruins.

Among the neglected lots, the Government Technical College, Ikot Ada Idem, Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area, presents a shocking irony. It had state-of-the-art facilities, well-built classrooms and top quality teachers when poor planning by the state government led to its abandonment.

These facilities are now rotting away, a development that has infuriated not a few taxpayers.

Built more than 30 years ago, the school was shut down seven years ago when the government proposed converting it to a faculty of engineering of the state-owned polytechnic. In line with that plan, the college’s 2000 students were transferred to other schools in the state. It was then shut down, and left unused for years.

Because it has been abandoned for so long, the 14 classroom blocks, the administrative offices, the assembly hall, and the technical workshops in the school are now at various stages of decay.

The roofs of the buildings have collapsed, while weeds have grown tall inside them. Tall grasses overshadowed the staff quarters and other buildings when this reporter visited in early April.

Standing by the side of the staff quarters was a collapsed building which used to serve as the college refectory. Adjacent it was another collapsed building.

The technical equipment worth tens of millions of dollars were rotting away.

A section of the school facility was already taken over by herdsmen who resided there with their cattle, while another section was occupied by squatters said to be returnees from the contentious Bakassi Penisula.

Some of the Bakassi returnees were cooking in a classroom that had become their makeshift kitchen when this reporter visited the facility in October 2017. Malnourished kids ran around, naked.

A repeat visit to the abandoned college on April 14 showed that nothing had changed so far; the herdsmen and the Bakassi returnees were still occupying the premises. There were signs that the corridors connecting the various blocks in the school were now being used as makeshift kitchen as well.

The abandoned college, with its classic architectural design, sits on a large expanse of land by the Uyo-Ikot Ekpene-Aba Highway. It can be easily spotted as you drive through the highway, a few kilometers from Uyo.

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