Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Paul Awkright has said that for any country to develop, girls must be given access to education, insisting that they need at least 12 years of education. This came as he commended Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike for investing in girl-child education.
Speaking while inaugurating Government Girls Secondary School, Rumuokwuta, Port Harcourt, which Wike reconstructed as part of activities marking his administration’s third anniversary, Awkright called for greater investments in girl-child education.
“There is no reason why we should neglect half of our population who can help ensure the prosperity of the country. That is why girl-child education is important. Without girl-child education, this country cannot thrive.”
While thanking the people of Rivers State for their warm reception, he said he is genuinely pleased to be in the state which is the heart of the Niger Delta Region.
“I am particularly pleased that I am here for the commissioning of a girls’ school. I have a daughter; I know how important it is to see girls educated: that they receive a minimum of 12 years of quality education.
“When they are educated, they marry later. When they marry later, they have fewer children. They can contribute to the economy. They can fulfil themselves.”
The joy in the air was contagious. Hundreds of students and old girls of the school celebrated Wike’s “golden touch” to their school. They sang pro-Wike songs, danced and urged the governor to sustain the delivery of quality education for all students.
In his remarks, Wike said his administration is committed to quality education, hence the transformation of selected schools. He noted that critical investments have been made to improve the quality of teaching and learning in the interest of the state’s development.
He announced that the school would return to its old uniform, while the primary school would be fenced off from the secondary section.
“We will contract the maintenance of this school to members of the host communities; they will cut the grass and clean the environment of the school. We shall provide security in the school. Beginning Monday, nobody is allowed to trek across the school premises. This is a girls’ school and their security is paramount.”
The governor warned the principal of the school against hiring out its facilities for conferences, saying that boys would no longer be allowed to play football in the school.
In a project description, the Commissioner for Education, Dr, Tamunosisi Gogo-Jaja said the school, which was established in 1972, was allowed to decay beyond measures by previous administrations.
He said all the structures in the school were dilapidated, pointing out that the Wike administration demolished them and built new ones.
He said the school has four new hostels, a major 960-seater assembly hall, sick bay, several science and other laboratories, sports facilities and new internal roads.
In a welcome address, the Chairman, Obio/Akpor Local Government Area, Prince Solomon Eke, said the people are proud of the transformation of the school with modern facilities, newly equipped laboratories, modern teaching and learning aids.