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General News of Friday, 29 January 2010

Source: Ghanaian Times

Achimota School To Be Closed Down?

Achimota School considered the pride of Ghana’s pre-tertiary education system faces imminent closure following the collapse of its sewerage system. A number of the sewerage pipes have burst, resulting in the spillage of human excreta in the open and into gutters.

An Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) notice of summons dated January 19, 2010, is taking the management of the school to task for “discharging effluent with raw human excreta into open public drain which is likely to be injurious to health.” The assembly is suing the management for exposing students and the public to health risks.

The AMA’s Environmental Health Department notice, gave the management two weeks to “abate the nuisance on your premises”, without which the school would have to be closed.

But the management of the school is blaming the situation on the activities of encroachers who have built on parts of the sewerage network thereby blocking the flow of both liquid and solid waste from the school community. Mrs Beatrice Adom, the Headmistress told a group of journalists who visited the school yesterday that the school did not have money to build a new sewerage system, saying rehabilitation of the system “will cost millions of pounds.”

The school’s sewerage system is a large network of tunnels, connecting the various blocks of the Achimota senior High School, Achimota basic school, converging at a terminal and treatment plant in the school’s farm, which has been currently encroached on by developers. A closure of the school would mean that more than 2.000 primary pupils, 1.500 senior high students and 400 teaching staff would have to be sent home, while hundreds of dependants of teaching and non-teaching staff living in the bungalows would have to be relocated.

“If we close the school, it means we are failing the future,” the headmistress lamented. During the visit to the school on Wednesday, human waste from some of the blocked tunnels was seen gushing out onto the open, emitting foul stench all over the area. It is said that the management of the school had not been able to deal with the encroachment problem because of a legal tussle between the school and the Owo family, the original owners of the land, over the ownership of the unused portions of the school’s land.

Although the Lands Court in Accra on Monday gave, judgement restraining the school from carrying out a demolition exercise and the Owo family from further selling the developing parts of the land, brisk building activities were witnessed during the visit to the area.

The substantives suit challenging the school over the ownership of the unused land is expected to be heard by the court next month. Many of the buildings on the encroached land are said to belong to some influential people, said to have hindered efforts to stop the encroachment.

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