It was indeed a tragic day for students and Proprietor of Annang Secondary Commercial School, Idung Esimuk, Odoro Ikot, one of the popular private schools in Essien Udim as “strange” fire gutted the school and consumed documents, buildings and other property worth millions of naira.
The cause of the fire, according to the Proprietor, Rev. Joseph Ada who spoke with morenews.ng remains a mystery, explaining that the school has no electricity connection or generating plant as they always hire generating set for use only when they have need and wondered what would have caused such inferno which has wrecked so much havoc on his property.
Mr Ada who is also the Chairman, National Association of Private Schools (NAPS) Essien Udim Chapter, told Morenews.ng that the inferno has rendered both the teachers and students of the school helpless as the September 2021 resumption date in Akwa Ibom State approaches.
The school proprietor appealed to both Local and State Governments, corporate bodies as well as public spirited individuals to assist him reconstruct the school which he said has been a source of livelihood to him and many others and citadel of learning in the locality.
He further noted that, the school has twenty-five (25) teaching and non-teaching staff who are both university graduates and non-graduates, stressing that the school has also contributed immensely to the socio-economic development of the area.
“I am pleading with my governor, Udom Emmanuel, to come to my aid in the spirit of ‘Dakkada’ so that I can reconstruct the school before the next accademic session in September. Let the governor through our amiable Commissioner for Education come and see things for himself.
Narrating the incidence, Rev Ada said: “I was at home that night when I received the unfortunate news and before I could rush down to the scene it was already late to control the fire. Some concerned neighbours had tried to quench the fire when it started before my arrival but their efforts proved abortive as flame kept increasing.
“When I arrived, I was helpless as I was confused of what to do at that point because that fire could only be controlled or quenched by fire fighters and the only Fire-Fighting Station we used to have in Essien Udim was attacked and burnt during the recent crisis.
“Here I am left with nothing except God. Everything I had in this school has gone. Both classroom and administrative blocks have been razed and all documents completely damaged, destroyed and burnt to ashes,” the Proprietor explained.
Rev Ada, who is also a cleric of the Christ Faith Church, prayed God for divine intervention as the school was all he has to take care of himself and family.
He called on parents and guardians to remain calm as the management is doing everything possible to ensure that their students resume in time despite the fire incidence adding that the school remains the top choice for parents who wish to give their wards qualitative education.
A staff of the school, Mr Emmanuel Akpan, who spoke with Morenews.ng, also pleaded with the governments at all levels and philantropic organisations to support the proprietor to rebuild the school which he said has helped put food on the table of many and also provided educational services to children in the community.
He described the school as one of the best in the area in terms of academic standard.
“The school is one of the best around here and as such itl should not be allowed to go down the drain like that despite the fact that it is owned by private individual. We appeal to governments to assist the proprietor for the sake of the students.
As you can see, candidates who are writing NECO and WAEC examinations now are stranded as there is no hall for them to use,” Akpan lamented.
Some members of the community who spoke with Morenews.ng called on government to assist the proprietor as the school has brought light to their community and also brought education closer to their children who used to trek long distances to attend schools in another community.
“We are not happy with what is happening to the school. We tried everything within our powers to stop the fire when it started but we could not. We want government to help the proprietor,” one eyewitness appealed.
Established in 1998, Annang Secondary Commercial School, Idung Esimuk, Odoro Ikot, is the first private secondary school in Essien Annang, Essien Udim Local Government Area.