MP pledges blocks after wall killed mother, son
Member of Parliament (MP) for Ayawaso Central and Deputy Minister for the Interior, Henry Quartey, has pledged 200 bags of cement, 4,000 blocks, among others, for the reconstruction of a school wall that killed a mother and her son in Accra after its collapse.
The promise came roughly two hours after the wall collapsed on the two Thursday afternoon at about 1:30PM, May 30, 2019, even though residents and the Kwame Nkrumah Basic School authorities have been pleading with city officials for more than a year to reconstruct the wall they regarded as a death trap.
The MP has also swiftly directed the engineer for the Municipality to commence work on the wall within 14 days and to identify structures on walkways so they can be pulled down if possible.
The Greater Accra Regional Minister, Ishmael Ashitey and the Minister of Education, Matthew Opoku Prempeh are also expected to examine the state of the Nkrumah Nkrumah Basic School at Newtown, a suburb of Accra, the MP said.
He said he has been lobbying for new school building for the area under the Millennium School Project
A mother and her son died at about 1:30pm on Thursday, May 30, 2019, after the school’s wall collapsed on them.
Mr. Quartey told DGN Online via telephone that the two ministers would be invited to the school to assess its state and if it is reported afterwards that it is not safe, it may be pulled down.
That was after some teachers and residents had described the school as a death trap to DGN Online at the scene of the disaster.
DGN Online has gathered that had it not been delays and negligence on the part of authorities at the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) and the Ayawaso Central Municipality, the deceased believed to be a head porter or kayayi and her son would not have lost their lives painfully after a school wall collapsed on them at Newtown, a suburb of Accra.
Eyewitnesses told DGN Online that the baby died on the spot while tied at the back of his mother, and the mother died at the Police Hospital where they were conveyed by some good Samaritans.
Some officials of the school and residents who spoke to DGN Online on condition of anonymity, said they were not surprised about the collapse of the school wall.
Residents and teachers described the school complex itself as a “death trap” and that it should not be surprising to Government, the Ghana Education Service (GES) and the Ministry of Education should the school collapse one day and students lose their lives as a result.
One of the teachers who spoke to DGN Online said authorities at the Kwame Nkrumah school have on three different occasions contacted the Ayawaso Central Municipality’s Natural Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) Directorate about the dangerous state of the school but that nothing was done about it.
Admission of Negligence
Ayawaso Central Submetro Director of NADMO, Sylvester Kwakye, admitted to DGN Online that indeed, NADMO was approached on three occasions about the poor state of the school complex and how it posed risk to human life.
He said on two occasions, he submitted reports to the Metro Director at the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) on the need to take action about the poor state of the school.
According to him, another report was submitted to the Ayawaso Central Municipality about the state of the school and the complaints of the teachers.
Mr. Kwakye told DGN Online that he has been in office for more than a year and half and that he became aware of the situation within his first month of taking office.
“We have come here for inspections on about three occasions which we have done our reports,” adding that “We had a chat with the school authorities, the head teacher and some teachers. After that we came back. We realized that the wall was cracked.
At the time of the inspections, Ayawaso Central was a sub-metro under AMA.
He revealed that NADMO was waiting for AMA to award the contract for the demolition of the wall to pave way for new one to be constructed.
When asked why that was not done, he said, there was complaints from AMA about lack of funds for the project.
Shockingly, he said, it was only last week that a contractor was brought to the school to work on the wall.
Interestingly, the teachers who spoke to DGN Online said nothing had been done about the situation and when asked whether the teachers were made aware about the presence of the contractors at the school, Mr. Kwakye appeared grossly clueless, saying he could not tell whether or not the teachers were informed.