My people, at the last count, three students have died or should I say have been killed by the negligence of the authorities of Queen’s College, Yaba. Lagos. It is almost one week after the death of the third child, and I have not heard that anyone has been arrested or has been charged to court for at least manslaughter. Is human life so cheap in Nigeria? Three people, three bright young Nigerians died and there is no uproar in the National Assembly, there is no protest, where is Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin? How come she has not mobilised her women to occupy the killing field that Queen’s College has now become. I heard Mrs. Frances Ojo, an Old Girl of QC speak on a radio station the other day and my heart ached. According to her, at QC, the students use pit toilets and bath on their balconies! Hello, this is 2017 not 1917! And that was not all, when the place was fumigated, her words “we harvested rats and reptiles.” There was a Principal at the school where we had all this rot and I am told when she was leaving a few months back, she was given a pat on the back and a whopping N3million by the PTA! Imagine! I have no one but that Principal and the administrators to blame for the death of these innocent girls and the authorities must bring these people to justice. What happened to all the maintenance funds yearly allocated to the school? What of all manner of levies? These girls must not die in vain! It must be that what has just played out at Queen’s College which is considered an Ivy League School in the Public Education sector is indeed a reflection of the rot in our nation. Queen’s College is a Public School, a government property, which in Nigerian Parlance means No One’s Property. Have we seen how terrible our public facilities look? Let me give a few examples: The Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA), Nigeria’s busiest gateway to the world, has become a total embarrassment on account of its decay and general untidy outlook. The only thing international about the MMIA is the signpost, even that one is falling apart. From the road leading to that airport, the entrance, that abandoned car park (or was it hotel?) makes it an eyesore. The facilities fall short of the basic standard of an international airport. The air-conditioning system is comatose and the toilet facilities, let’s not go there at all. The stench can kill the faint-hearted. MMIA is not just user-friendly. For example, it has no functional lift. The only one was installed in the 70s-and so if you have just arrived and want to move from the arrival to the departure to catch another flight, you are, as they say, ‘OYO’ (On Your Own). We just don’t care! This was an airport that billions or naira was reportedly spent less than 5 years ago on renovation by Super Minister, now Senator Stella Oduah Another tale of woe is the Nigerian Railway Corporation. Just a visit to the Nigerian Railway Compound in Ebute Metta, Lagos, is enough evidence that the system has completely collapsed. The other day, we saw a picture of the Ooni of Ife and his entourage gleefully enjoying a train ride in London. Can His Majesty try that here? I have my doubts? The Nigerian trains are old, filthy and generally look unsafe. Government as usual has invested billions-and I can take a bet that unlike other lands where the Members of Parliament or other important personalities commute by train, the so-called Nigerian trains are only fit for the dregs of the society! Who has ever been to the Lagos University Teaching hospital (LUTH)? The putrid smell oozing from the wards is not the only terrible thing wrong about that place, the morbid tales of death that emanate from that place daily is frightening. It is a joke to continue to call LUTH a place where the sick are cared for and brought back to health, the surroundings does not suggest that the Management has any intention of healing the sick. All they do is to squeeze poor families, slamming them with all kinds of bills and afterwards reporting that “There is nothing we can do” I have had a first-hand experience of the LUTH treatment and I have prayed to God “Never Again” And not from far where I grew up is the shame called the National Stadium, the once proud edifice that we used to gawk at with awe as we were growing up in Surulere. That monstrous structure has been ravaged by years of neglect. Thanks to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode for being a visionary leader who has seen beyond the look of today, and like Nostradamus seen the future of what a refurbished and repackaged National Stadium would like! Every Nigerian should join the rescue mission of the National Stadium, let’s drown out the whimper of the naysayers. Back to the QC 3 matter. We seem to have become so numb, that death no longer shocks us. We are so used to rot that it does not alarm us any longer. Who is our Minister of Education? Till date, I have not heard a serious word from the Minister on this matter. Three of the Minister’s Children have died and he has simply gone on as if it is a norm? How did we get here? What did these parents do wrong? All they wanted was a good education, a good foundation for their children-and what did the system give them instead? Sorrow and tears! The Government, the Ministry of Education and the Management of Queen’s College have failed these Nigerians. There are no excuses for failure. Just imagine if any of these parents have other children and can afford to send their children outside Nigeria, what will be the immediate decision. Of course, they will be shipped out on the next available flight most likely never to return! Kudos to the Old Girls of Queens College for rallying round to restore the school to its former glory and help pass on the touch to a healthy next generation. But the question that has bothered me since this incident and it has kept gnawing at my heart is: who will pay for the death of the QC 3? Effiong, a media and public relations practitioner, writes from Lagos
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