Students of the Metallurgical Training Institute, Onitsha, Anambra State, have begun peaceful demonstrations in large numbers over flooding, which they said has taken over the institution and paralysed academic and non-academic activities.
The President of the Student Union Government of the institution, Chigozie Onyenyili, who spoke to journalists at the school gate before the start of the demonstration on Thursday, expressed concern over the current situation faced by students, highlighting that they have been forced to stay awake every night due to flooded hostels and the subsequent destruction of their belongings.
He said the rising water levels have submerged students’ beds, causing significant inconvenience and distress for the students.
Onyenyili noted that the perennial flooding in the Federal Government-owned institution was worsened because contractors from the government destroyed their existing drainage in a bid to build a new one without providing alternative measures to mitigate the flood.
He said, “Flooding has been an issue in the institution, but it was worsened because the government recently commenced flood control process by removing an existing drainage [system] inside the school, but they didn’t put the necessary measures in place to mitigate flood.
“They commenced flood control during the rainy season, but now, they have abandoned the work and as we speak now, the whole institution is flooded. Students properties are being destroyed, our beds, mattresses, learning materials, laptops, pots of soups have been washed away.
“We are embarking on this peaceful demonstration to draw the attention of the government towards our plight. The management of the institution has done its best, but we need the government to step in and continue the job which they have abandoned.
“The two machines the government brought for the job are not working and there is need for them to bring in more personnel to commence the work so that normal activities will resume at the institution.”
During the peaceful demonstration around the community, some students of the institution were observed by our correspondent scooping water out of their various rooms from their hostels, while others were also trying to salvage some of their properties, like laptops, phones, clothing and beds from the flood.
Another student, who identified herself as Nkiru, also lamented that the flood damaged their laptops, mobile phones, learning equipment, beds, and also carried their pots of soup.
“Our properties are damaged. The flood suddenly submerged our beds and we have remained awake every night. This flood has subjected us all to pain. Other students whose valuables are inside have abandoned them because there is no way in and the rainwater has filled the whole place.”
When contacted, the Public Relations Officer of the institution, Owoh Ugochukwu, blamed the Anambra State government for the development.
Ugochukwu noted that the state government channelled waters that come from the environs down to the school, without providing adequate measures for enough drainage.
He said, “The flood issue has lingered for some years now, but the school authorities are doing their best. The flood is as a result of the state government channelling waters that come from Obosi, Nkpor, Onitsha-Owerri Road and environs down to the school.
“But before then, we had a smaller drainage which was carrying little water, we made a case to the state government and other relevant agencies, but the state government came and excavated the existing drainage in the name of expansion, but the work has been abandoned and there are no alternative measures put in place.
“As we speak now, the waters have covered the buildings in the school and the buildings are sinking. The student hostels, school mosque, church and lecture halls are under water. The student beds, mattresses, learning equipment and pots of soup are swimming in the water all over the place.”