Arigbanla Canal… Battling To Save Communities


It’s almost a year ago, exactly on Sunday, July 10, 2011, a day residents of Arigbanla community in Agege would hardly forget, as a 10-hour downpour nearly sacked their communities.
   The rain started very early and gradually filled the banks of the Arigbanla Canal, which cuts across three communities starting from Agege Abattoir to Pleasure Bus Stop, until it overflowed and caused untold hardship.
   At the end of the day, about 10 people died in the flood while property worth millions of Naira were destroyed. Uncountable numbers of residents were displaced from their homes and many businesses destroyed.
   On that wet Sunday, it was one flood disaster too many, which prompted the Lagos State government into action, to construct the canal.
   For over two weeks after the July 10 flood incident, Arigbanla canal and neighbouring communities became a disaster area where several people, including federal and state lawmakers, visited. The construction of the canal was immediately awarded to Sparta Contractors with directives that it “must be completed on or before July 2012.”
   However, when it first rained in February this year, there were fears by members of the community that the horrible disaster of a year ago might be repeated going by the rate at which the construction project was going.
   Some of them did cry out but the governor, Babatunde Fashola, and the Commissioner for Environment, Mr. Tunji Bello, who were at the sight to inspect the project, gave the assurance that: “Under no circumstances whatsoever will the community experience such disaster they witnessed a year ago during the rainy season.”
ImageA young boy ponders into the future as rain water flood their homes after a heavy downpour in Lagos… last week.

Meanwhile, the community members are jubilating and appreciating the governor and Sparta Contractor for a job well done on the canal. “There had been no flood since the rain started this year. There is not even any sign there will be flood due to the standard and design of the canal,” said a member of the community.
   According to a resident, Olusola Taiye, “my family was affected last year and that took my interest in the work the contractor was doing. As it is now, it would be difficult if not impossible for another major flood to ravage our community.”
   Taiye noted that the very first step that the contractor took that showed signs of a quality job in the offing was the destruction of illegal houses along the water channel.
   Another resident, Sunday Dada, who grew up in the area, said: “It was a good step to have awarded that contract within the shortest time frame; otherwise, if by any chance what happened last year repeated itself this year, then the entire community is doom.”
   He added that when a bulldozer belonging to Sparta Contractors commenced work on the canal, members of the community welcomed it with open arms.
   “When the bulldozer started demolishing structures along the bank of the 1.5 kilometre canal, there was not a single security agent or Lagos State Task Force member present. We all gave our support, including members of the Community Development Association (CDA) led by Elder Emmanuel Alegbe, to ensure that work was not impeded.”
   The lawmaker, representing Agege Federal Constituency, Babatunde Adejare, has also commended the construction, but urged the people to desist from destroying what government had put in place to save their lives.
   He noted that the devastation in Arigbanla last year was severe because the natural flood-channel was completely blocked by illegal buildings and structures; “but the state government has done its best and the contractor, I learnt, who also constructed Gbagada/Atunrase canal, did a very good job on the project.”
   Adejare appealed to Lagosians to desist from erecting illegal structures, particularly on canal and drainages. “It was so devastating last year because while residential houses were built right at the edge of the water channel, some companies constructed high-walled fence across the channel,” he said.
   A resident of Gbagada at the scene, Kehinde Ashalu, said for the 15 years he had stayed in Gbagada, the last two years after the construction of the canal were the best.
   “Before the canal was constructed, we were always apprehensive of the rainy season. We were always worried at what may likely happen as a result of flood. But since the canal was completed by this firm, the flood menace has become history, even on the Gbagada-Oshodi Expressway.”
   Meanwhile, the Managing Director of Sparta Contractors, Mr. Femi Oshoniyi, said the dredging and clearing of Arigbanla canal, which started from Agege, will terminate at Pleasure Bus-stop, on the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway, covering a distance of 1.5 kilometres and passing through Arigbanla, Aboru, Abule-Egba, Katangora and Fatokun street.
   He noted that the company is looking critically at the design of the canal in such a way to save many structures that would have been demolished, adding that the company has solicited the support of push-carts, auto technicians and the CDA executives, “whom we intend to commit with the responsibilities to monitor the area so that people will no longer dump refuse into the canal.”
ImageNearly completed Arigbanla Canal, Agege at the weekend.

However, efforts invested by the state government in the construction of the canal may be defeated in the long run except the Federal Government takes an urgent step to expand the bridge on the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway through which water, flowing through Arigbanla, discharges to the other side of the road.
   The water passage under the bridge is too narrow to contain the volume of water traveling through the canal. A resident, Semiu Oshiniyi, said: “There was a little flood on Wednesday in the area. This is not because the contractor has not done a good job but the fact is the water channel under the bridge is too narrow.” 
   Oshiniyi also said unless the Federal Government expands the bridge to contain the torrent coming from the canal, it would destroy the bridge and cause untold hardship to residents around the area.” He called on the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) to do something fast, to reconstruct the bridge to match the size and strength of the canal.
   The attention of the state government has also been drawn to the need to put a barbed-wire fence along the Ladipo Canal because of the indiscriminate dumping of refuse, including discarded vehicle parts, into the canal.
   The Commissioner for the Environment, Tunji Bello, in a statement at the weekend, warned that the administration would no longer tolerate any form of environmental nuisance.

DANA Crash: One Week After, More Tears, Fears For Iju Residents


Wreckage of the DANA plane crash at Iju-Ishaga, Lagos… last week.












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It’s been one week since the quiet Iju-Ishaga community of Lagos lost its serenity after it was robbed of its peace by the cruel angel of death, and it may take many more weeks before the former state is restored, if it will ever be.

For residents of the area, particularly those on Olaniyi Street, where the Dana Air Flight 0992 crashed into, it is still a long dream they are yet to wake up from, especially how in a moment, their places of abode became a crash site, and hours later, turned into a tourist spot, attracting citizens and dignitaries alike.
To those who were eyewitnesses to the disaster, one week is not enough to shake off the shock of the crash and the gory sight of burnt bodies. Many of the residents said images of June 3 would live with them throughout their lifetime.

When The Guardian visited the area at the weekend, some women were seen packing out from their houses on Irepodun Street, close to the crash site.

Reason for the mass exodus was because too many airplanes were constantly flying above their roofs, while they were yet to take last Sunday’s incident out of their minds. “Until these aircrafts changed their normal routes, my husband will never see me and my children’s feet in this neighbourhood again,” a woman swore.

In one week, everything has changed in Iju-Ishaga, the influx of visitors, exodus of residents, activities of rescue operations and putrid smell enveloping the area.

Mrs. Wuraola Oladipupo said she is yet to regain her composure since last Sunday. “In my entire life, this is the first time I am seeing people die like chicken. I was in front of my house when I saw the plane coming down on the next building. That is the last I can remember. What followed till date is still a mystery to me. ”

She noted that since last week, the incident has killed commercial activities in the area, as traders could no longer display their wares in the midst of the uncertainty and confusion.

“Nothing has been sold since people started visiting this area. In fact, you will need to be very strong for you to eat or drink anything after seeing the wreckage. It is even worse now that the place has been cleared because what is left in the cordoned-off areas are human parts such as fingers, legs, and ears,” she said.

Another resident, Mr. Ehichoya Sylvester, said the incident is not only a big loss to those who lost family members, friends and property, but also to landlords, who are seeing the worth of their property drastically taking a plunge.

“Until the government invests heavily in this area, first by rebuilding damaged structures and allaying the fears of residents relocating out of the area in their numbers, this place will be deserted,” he said.

“Already, most of the houses around are vacant and I don’t see the former occupants, who witnessed the plane crash, returning, because every time a plane flies over their roof, they are reminded of the black Sunday.”

Mrs. Anike Olagoke, a trader residing in the area, said the only way government could wipe away the tears of the victims, especially those who lost their property to the crash, was to compensate them adequately.

She said: “I hear that it is only passengers who died in the Dana aircraft that their names are being compiled for compensation. What will now be the fate of those who lost all to the crash?

“According to a report, over 200 people died here on Sunday and it is on record that 153 passengers boarded the plane. What happens to the over 60 lives of residents lost?”

President Goodluck Jonathan (left) and Lagos State Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) at the scene of the Dana Air plane crash in Lagos. PHOTO: PAUL OLOKO













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However, following concerns over alleged plans to bury victims of Sunday’s plane crash at Iju-Ishaga, some residents of the area have appealed to the authorities not to bury the victims in the area, for fear of ghosts. Others have even threatened to relocate if the victims were buried there.

The residents, who based their apprehension on their belief in the existence of ghosts, noted that it was natural that when human beings die prematurely, their ghosts would haunt the scene for a while.

The government has not said it would bury any unidentified victims in the area; however, the residents have latched on to a rumour that is fast circulating in the community and have panicked.

“This is not superstition; I have witnessed where a young man died in an accident and his ghost continued to cry at the scene for days until a sacrifice was performed,” said Idayatu Ali, a resident of the area. “Please, tell them (government) not to bury the victims here or else some of us will abandon our houses.”

Another resident, a commercial motorcyclist, who gave his name as Odewale, has decided to calm frayed nerves in the area by offering his exorcism powers. According to him, his team could easily offer sacrifices to Ogun (the mythical Yoruba god of iron) to get rid of any ghosts.

Reacting, Iyiola Akande, the South-west Zonal Coordinator of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), said there were no plans to bury the victims yet, as identification of bodies remains the priority for now.

The Chairman of the Community Development Association, Mr. Adewale Oriowo, said the area has since been in darkness, as some transformers, poles and cables were badly damaged after the crash.

“We have already conducted a poll on the victims and houses affected in the area, which we are forwarding to the appropriate authorities for necessary action. Many organisations and groups have been here to also collect the names of victims and list of affected property.

Though they (government) promise to get back to us, we are yet to see anything, except the palliative measures carried out by LASEMA,” he said.



Darkening Nigeria Further

By Kola Johnson
IF you want to avoid head and heart ache, and want to live long, please, stay away from flying AIR NIGERIA. And if Nigeria wants to better its image, it had better issued the strongest warning to owners of the airline, that is purportedly the successor to the national carrier, Nigeria Airways. It is bad enough that the airline that bears the name of the country is already renowned along the West Coast as the most unreliable, customer unfriendly, incompetent and irresponsible.
Dateline: Accra, Saturday May 19.
The flight to Lagos was scheduled to depart Kotoka Airport at 7.35am, which means anyone billed to travel with it must leave his/her residence from as early as 5am, obviously foregoing your breakfast.
  So, there was already a queue by 6am when I joined the line. At the check-in, the clerk whispered to every passenger that the flight is delayed by three hours!!! This should have served as a warning for anyone who could afford it to run off and grab ticket of another airline – Arik or Aero – that is if you can vouch-safe that such will be responsible.
“All na same, yeye people, no be Nigerian airlines. Nonsense,” volunteered one of the passengers, irritation deeply etched on his face.
Three hours after at 9.30, there was no sign the aircraft that had come in from Dakar would be ready for boarding!!!
And this is where irresponsibility became a toga for the airline that appropriate Nigeria’s patrimony in its name; and perhaps bears testimony of everything that is wrong with the country that likes to delude itself as the giant of whatever!!!
The airline staff, who had been checking the boarding passes and admitting them to the waiting area, suddenly disappeared! No one to offer any explanation!!!
  Of course, grumbling began, first as murmurs then gradually ballooned to protestations. An Asian fellow, perhaps Pakistani, screamed: “What is wrong”; I can’t take it“. With that he stormed off to the table where the airline staff had checked the boarding pass. Alas, none of the three staff was in sight except a worker of the Kotoka airport, quite a voluptuous sight interesting to look at – but of no help.
Rather, she muttered, “oh, that is what they do, this Air Nigeria people.’ Prodded, she added: “always their passengers come here to fight; everyday. They are not serious“. 
  To the Nigerians within earshot, that damning revelations drew uncomfortable silences even as they exchanged embarrassing looks. The Asian fellow, joined by his fellow countryman, decided to lead a protest to the airline’s office within the airport. Two Ghanaians joined them; interestingly no Nigerian was in the brewing ‘Spring’!
  Sure, the country-folks have grown used to accepting impunity and disrespect from not only their rascal politicians, but even from private enterprises, who charged them exorbitantly for services ill-rendered or not rendered.

WHILE the protest team was away, Nigerians engaged in what they have come to know how to do best – grumbling, cursing, helplessly mouthing and ‘forming’:
“These people are very useless“, volunteered a fellow who looked like a company executive in his suit. “Na so dem deh always do, very lousy“, I retorted. ‘ It was same endless delay when I left for Dakar last Sunday.”
Said another exasperated fellow: “All the time o; last Thursday, na so dem delay us for four hours; and they had no courtesy of even coming to explain to us why we were delayed. The staff would just vanish.“
  “We were delayed for seven hours from Monrovia on Wednesday, imagine. And they offered no lunch, or even common water. In fact, they told us nothing,” yet another fellow in a tribute-to-ojukwu tee-shirt said.
“Na Nigeria thing now; everything must look disorganised and dishonest,” said a lady in green pant.
“Who owns the airline sef, na government?” asked a lady who said she is half-Ghanaian and half-Nigerian.
  “It is one of the ‘government magic’; they carry our national airline give to one funny fellow, who nobody knows how he made his money“, said an obviously angry young man.
“It is owned by a fellow called Jimoh Ibrahim, he is one of those buying up everything in the country without knowing what to do with them“, I declared.
“Corruption will kill that country; from top to bottom, they are all corrupt; stealing and looting our national wealth“, offered the fellow who had responded to the query from the half-Nigerian lady.
  The lady: “Nigeria has no shame, oh God”
  “Not only are we shameless. We have no decorum; no sense of service; no respect for anything. Imagine how we are disgracing ourselves before foreigners,” I spat, referring to the Asians who led the protest.
  The comments continued in torrents.

SOON, the Spring (Asian-led protesters) team returned to give an even more hope dashing report.
“They say it will now be 11am, they have no fuel!”
  “Even in Ghana“, I exclaimed amidst a sharp rise of loud sighs and more curses.
“I thought it is only in Nigeria that aircraft get stranded because of lack of aviation fuel; na wa o“. That was me again.
  “Don’t be surprised the airline may not have money to pay for aviation fuel; or they may be owing; is it not a Nigerian that owned it? Useless people with bad business sense,” said a woman who had been hissing all along.
“Well, if you want to live long or avoid heartache just avoid this lousy airline. Imagine they have ruined the whole day for me,” I uttered the final verdict.
  “I will never patronise these nonsense people again“, said the suit-clad man. “See Aero left early and on time today; I regret not buying their ticket. Even Arik seems to have repented from their bad ways. They left at 8.05, no delay. They used to be very bad with timing too.
We were embarked at about 11.20am.
Inside the cabin was this horrifying smell, ostensibly because the crew had not bothered to clear the wastes and remnants of consumptions from passengers that came in from Dakar and disembarked in Accra.
  That was when it dawned on me that the poor folks from Dakar had been sitting in the smelly, hot cabin from 9am to the time we embarked at 11.30pm. A whole two hours inside that dingy hole of gross incompetence and damned impunity.
I also recalled that on May 13 when I had set out to Dakar, we had also been delayed for near three hours at the Lagos airport; and when we got to Accra, we spent over an hour, just sitting in the cabin on the tarmac; and another hour plus at Banjul, finally making Dakar at 3am – for a flight that ought to have taken off at 7.40pm and arrive Dakar at about 12.30am. 
  Needless to say that I missed my reservation at Hotel Shockman and had to stay the rest of the morning – 3am-9am in the mosquito-infested bar of the hotel – it was at 9am that I was eventually checked in into a room that was not even of the type that I had pre-booked.
See why I say, anyone who wants to live long or avoid head/heart ache should avoid Air Nigeria; not on your life!!!!

THE aircraft eventually took off at 11.50am. When the aircraft eventually landed and the crew member thanked the passenger for their patience and declared ‘we welcome you on board on your next trip’, it was a stream of loud ‘God Forbid’; “I reject it in Jesus’ name’; ‘you are not my portion’ etc that greeted his gutless offer.

Johnson is a writer based in Lagos.

May 27: How Children Marked Their Day In Lagos


IT was Chief Ekete Obosi who once said that there is no greater spectacle in the world than watching the celebration of youths. Since the earliest civilisation, the young, virile and resilient members of the society had borne the burden of giving a fresh start to an already disenchanted hope, for, on their shoulders lie the dream of restoring hope and lost opportunity to the next generation.

And in the last two weeks, it has been a scintillating spectacle, as children across the length and breath of Nigeria trooped out, danced, sang, marched and spoke to power, in celebration of this year’s Children’s Day.

Omoyele Sowore, former student leader at the University of Lagos, and now publisher of Sahara Reporters, must have spoken the minds of many Nigerian children when he said: “In my home country, the elders gathered together today, they looked at the young people and decided to grant them only one day; they chose tomorrow of all days for the youth to lead, then they called the youths leaders of tomorrow, knowing that tomorrow is just a day that no one will ever see.”

While accepting the appendage ‘leaders of tomorrow’, children are, however, not waiting for tomorrow to come before making their voices heard and demonstrating the ability to be tomorrow’s leaders today.

In Lagos, it was the common theme that reverberated through most of the activities held to celebrate the Children’s Day across the 20 Local Government Areas (LGAs) and 37 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs).

Ikorodu: Debating For Mental Performance

ImageChairman of Ikorodu North LCDA, Adeola Jokomba (left) congratulating winners of the Nutricima Children’s Day debate, Fatima Sani and Ebunoluwa Adedokun, pupils of Lara Narrow Way School, Ikorodu, who won N100,000 for their school… last week.

AT Ikorodu North LCDA, for brilliantly marshalling strong points in defence of the proposition that milk consumption contributes to mental performance, pupils of Lara Narrow Way School, Ikorodu, Fatima Sani and Ebunoluwa Adedokun, won for their school the first prize and N100,000 cash in a schools’ debate organised by Nutricima Limited, to mark the 2012 Children’s Day and World Milk Day celebrations.

The prize was N50,000 from Nutricima. However, impressed by the performances of the young debaters, the chairman of Ikorodu North LCDA, Adeola Jokomba, who was the special guest at the event, donated an extra N50,000 to the winning school. The chairman also expressed satisfaction with the Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR) activities of Nutricima Limited and its support for the LCDA, where the factory is sited.

He urged parents to ensure good nutrition for their wards. “A poor diet has horrendous impact on the kids because malnutrition is usually undetected and not treated. It must also be demystified that a good diet is not an expensive meal, but rather a serving that contains the necessary nutrients needed for rapid growth and development of the child.”

Lara Narrow Way narrowly defeated Difas Primary School, represented by Chiwendu Chigereokwu and Wilson Andem, who opposed the motion, while Little Saints Montessori School, Ilupeju, came third.

The contest was organised as part of a twin celebration of the 2012 Children’s Day and advocacy on milk consumption for the World Milk Day on June 1, a United Nations programme coordinated by the Food and Agriculture Organisation, according to Nutricima Head of Marketing, Mrs. Wande Oluwasegunfunmi.

Ejigbo: Giving Expression To Visual Arts


CHILDREN of public and private schools in Ejigbo LCDA, who attended the Children’s Day celebration at Ejigbo mini stadium, had fun while it lasted, as they played together, ran round the stadium and occasionally, danced to the music supplied by a Dee-Jay, while others sat and stared under the canopies.

The arrival of the council chairman, Kehinde Bamigbetan, made the children, numbering over 500 from 26 schools, ecstatic. The programme began with a march past by the schools, with the chairman returning their salute. Frenzy was added to the parade, as participating schools tried to outdo each other and impress the audience, swelled by passersby, with dazzling acrobatic displays.

One unique feature of this year’s celebration was the introduction of a drawing competition among junior and senior secondary students. The competition, according to Bamigbetan, is an effort to discover and develop hidden talents in the young ones, especially in drawing and painting. This was held in the indoor hall of the stadium while other activities were taking place on the field.

Explaining the concept for the competition, the students’ Art Instructor and Public Relations Officer of the Society of Nigeria Artists, Yusuf Durodola, said the exercise titled, Ejigbo In The Eyes Of Children, was organised for students to express, through various forms of visual arts, how much of Ejigbo they know.

At the end of the competition, Bamigbetan and other dignitaries returned to the hall to inspect the drawings by the students. To their surprise, the level of creativity displayed by the students, beat everybody’s imagination. They were able to give expression to their skills and knowledge, with drawing and paintings of important monuments and buildings in the council area.

Winner of the senior secondary school category, Miss Okpeke FiniEre Glory, drew the aerial view of the Jakande Estate, Oke-Afa, indicating some blocks of flats adjacent to the main road within the estate. The drawing was a spectacle to behold. The winner of the junior secondary school category, Master Oyekola Hamed, drew the logo of the Ejigbo LCDA, which was also a masterpiece.

Bamigbetan commended the participating students and gave the assurance that his administration would do everything in its power to bring them to limelight. He presented certificates of participation to the students and special prizes to the winners.

Isolo: Spreading The Gospel Of Vocational Education

Image MD/CEO of 1609 Royale, Ms. Ibidun Odushina, with some participants of the brainstorming session at Isolo LCDA secretariat

AT the Isolo LCDA, no drums were rolled out to mark the Children’s Day. It was rather a brainstorming session held at the council secretariat on how to enhance vocational education and use of library among the youth.

Organised in conjunction with 1609 Royale, the event sought to collectively create awareness on the need for every young person to develop and cultivate a vocational skill, as well as learning about life skills and personal development.

Representatives from schools in the council area were the Eko Girls’ High School, Okota; Okota High School, Okota; Estate Primary School, Ilewe Meta; Ansar-ud-deen Primary School, Isolo; Model Primary School, Ire-Akari; and Estate Primary School, Ajao Estate.

According to the MD/CEO of 1609 Royale, Ms. Ibidun Odushina, “the potentials of talent and intelligence are innate in everyone, but it is imperative to discover them young. This is why we are motivating our youths towards self-discovery as tomorrow’s society builders.

“Before now, the saying was ‘an idle mind is the devil’s workshop’, but not anymore. Our youths are no longer idle, especially with the influx of modern communication gadgets. They are expending their energies through social media platforms like Facebook. It is, therefore, the responsibilities of adults around to rechannel such energies into productive uses, through vocational education,” she said.

Chairman of Isolo LCDA, Shamsudeen Abiodun Olaleye, said his administration decided to use this year’s celebration of children to host youths at a roundtable because in Europe and the United States, skilled labour in many vocations pays more than white-collar jobs.

“It is important to be skilled, to have a decent means of livelihood. We are ready in Isolo to invest in this area and very soon, we shall lay the foundation for a vocational centre in Ire-Akari Estate, which will be ready and fully operational within the next six months,” he said.

“This is how we want to address the problem of youth unemployment. Many of them are waiting for admission into universities that would not come; others have graduated, waiting for a job that is not available. It is just right at this period of their lives for them to look inwards and see what they can do with their hands that can bring about a decent living for them.

“This is why we are stressing that apart from academic pursuit, they should be skilled in a vocation now that they are young before their habits are already formed.”

Onigbongbo: Walking To Preach Road Safety

 ImagePupils on a road walk at Allen Avenue to preach road safety and the use of Zebra Crossing… last week.

IT was not party time, too, at Onigbongbo LCDA, Ikeja, as hundreds of teenagers, students, teachers and parents marched on the streets of Allen Avenue to raise awareness about road safety and responsible behaviour, while on the road.

Led by the group, Nigerians Unite For Road Safety (NUFORSA) in collaboration with the council and partnership with Kingsize Place, Olam and Pepsi, the parade distributed leaflets, urging Nigerians to commit to the 10 Commandments of Road Safety.

They include: Use a seat belt when in the car; wear a helmet on a motorcycle; drive at a safe speed and distance; do not drive under the influence of alcohol; and do not use a mobile phone when driving.

Others are: Be visible as a pedestrian or motorcyclist; know and respect the Highway Code; maintain your vehicle in a good condition; be trained and licensed for the vehicle; and know what to do in case of a crash.

In a chat with The Guardian, the Programme Coordinator of NUFORSA, Adedapo Oyedipe, noted that road accidents is one of the fastest causes of death, “which is why we are teaching kids on how to be safe on the road. The road do not belong to the motorists alone, it is to be shared by drivers, pedestrians and cyclists,” he said.

“In addition, there is the urgent need to stem the tide of road rage. It is not to our safety if everybody behind the wheel is frustrated, angry and inconsiderate to other road users. For the kids, it is important they concentrate on the road and walk on the left-hand side in order to see incoming vehicles.”

Speaking on what they want the government at the three tiers to do for them on the Children’s Day, the pupils, mostly attending public schools, unanimously said they want their school’s facilities, including toilets, to be refurbished, as well as equipping their schools with computers and ICT gadgets.