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Pupils in Onitsha Protest Over Siting of Market Close to their School

Photo: Governor Willy Obiano of Anambra state

From  Ignatius  Okpara, Anambra

Pupils of Beth-roots Model Schools, in the Commercial city of  Onitsha, Anambra State, South East Nigeria, age between 4-12, on Tuesday took to the streets to  protest the siting of a market close to their scholl.

The children  who displayed  placards with various  inscriptions, lamented that the indiscriminate building of shops and now a “full blown market” close to their school was against their right to education.

“Don’t allow Education to go into extinction”, “Respect our right to education” Our future is worth more than money,” I love school, please keep me safe,” Live and Let live” were some of the inscriptions on the placards.

Leader of the protesters, who identified herself as Chioma appealed  to  the state government to intervene on the issue, which she said, has been affecting their learning.

According to her, “they want to expose us to imminent danger by siting this market here. How can we cope with the volume of traffic that will be on this road if this market is allowed to be?

“Already this place is built up with shops which were not on the original plan for this area; now they are building this market again.

“Our governor, Chief Willie Obiano should save us from this calamity. All of us must not be traders.

“Our founding fathers like Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chinua Achebe, Prof Kenneth Dike, Prof Chike Obi and so on were not traders. Why are they foisting this trader mentality on all us now?

It was learnt  that the school lawyer, Mr Valentine Utulu had earlier written to the state governor, asking him to stop the distortion of the master plan of the area by traders and such interest groups.

The lawyer’s petition entitled: “Protest against the distortion of the master plan of Victory Estate, Odoagba/Otakpo phase two, 3-3, Onitsha was dated 17th October, 2017.

It read thus:, “There is no approval for market in that vicinity. The Area is designated as a residential area, with schools and limited commercial activity.

“There is no provision made in the master plan to accommodate the huge traffic of vehicles the proposed market will attract and it will greatly and adversely affect the quality of life of residents, pupils and those merely driving through.

“It is wrong to site a market next to a school, any school, for that matter.

The petition added. “We are therefore, by this letter urge you sir, in the name of God and for the benefit of posterity to use your good offices to put a

stop to the plans of Mr. Ikenna Unachukwu to bring a market into a residential Estate and in the middle of nursery, primary and secondary schools, in defiance of existing laws.”

 

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