Over 60 pupils of the Community Primary School, Ibuot Utan Effiat, an island in Mbo Local Government area of Akwa Ibom State, who endured over ten years of decayed infrastructures, last week, heaved a sigh of relief as Oriental Energy Resources Limited, renovated the school building.
A statement in Uyo on Sunday by the company’s Managing director, Mr Mustafa Indimi, said the school’s building was in various stages of dilapidation, including leaking roof and lack of toilet facilities.
He added that most of the pupils were not wearing uniform nor shoes before the intervention.
According to Indimi, the intervention was borne out of the company’s initiative of building quality schools in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals 4, which focuses on ensuring inclusive and quality education for all.
The statement read in part ” Prior to the project by Oriental Energy, the community Primary school with more than 60 children and a total of 4 classrooms barely had no seats in the crumbling classroom; no restroom, and no uniform nor shoes for most of the children.
“The restoration and provision of new facilities is part of our wider initiative of building safe schools to support inclusive and quality education across communities.
“This is in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals 4 as well as evidence of implementation of the community assisted project component of Oriental Energy’s Project Specific Memorandum of Understanding with Effiat community.”
The MD, who noted that the company considers its host communities as critical stakeholders, disclosed that Effiat community had benefited from the company’s social intervention programme including a five-day free medical outreach and capacity building workshop on Sustainable Community Planning.
While noting that the company would thrive to” create positive and sustainable footprints through projects and programs to improve the quality of life in various communities”, the MD said the contract for renovation was awarded to an indigene of Effiat in line with the local content specifications.
Meanwhile, the community, including teachers and students have described the intervention as commendable.
A teacher in the school, Ruth Etim, said “I am so happy. We didn’t even have a toilet at all. Now we have three new lavatories, and new buildings with four classrooms and blackboards. We now have so many chairs and desks;More than enough for our children.”
A Board Member of the Akwa Ibom State Universal Basic Education Board. John U. Udoh described Oriental Energy as a pacesetter in educational development in Mbo and the state at large.
He said, “This is one sure way the company has proven that education is serious business. Investing in education, especially at this basic level, is an investment in economic development and prosperity of the state.”