By Faith Igbudu
Federal Ministry of Education has ordered that all Federal Government Colleges (FGCs) within the FCT be shutdown and students be immediately evacuated from the schools.
The Voice learnt that the decision was not far from the heightened insecurity mounting around schools and threat to the lives and well-being of the students therein.
On Sunday, unconfirmed reports trended on social media indicating that there were heavy shootings in Federal Government Colleges (FGCs) Kwali, Abuja, and parents were rushing to the school to ascertain the safety of their children and possibly return home with them until calm is restored.
A parent identified simply as Chika, whose three children are in FGC, Kwali, confirmed that a message came from the school that parents should come pick their children not later than Monday noon.
She said: “We received message from the school about the latest development but no explanation was attached to the message. So, when we reach the school on Monday maybe, we would get more details on what led to the sudden decision.”
Another parent whose son is in JSS 3 in Federal Government Boys’ College, Apo, Abuja, confirmed that the school is shutting down on Monday as against the date in the calendar and parents have been asked to come pick their children on Monday unfailingly.
He said: “My son told me that they were rushed to finish their examination, that they wrote four subjects everyday which, to me, was too much for the brain of these children.
“I also learnt that Federal Government Technical College, Orozo, Abuja, sent children packing since Friday last week, immediately they rushed them to finish the examination as against the calendar. This is abnormal, and it’s an indication or points to the fact that there’s a threat, and it’s wise for the schools to release the children back to their parents.”
Confirming the directive, a senior staff at Federal Government Girls’ College (FGGC), Bwari, Abuja, who pleaded anonymity said the directive they received from the Federal Ministry of Education, was that students should vacate the school before Wednesday, that no student should be found in the school by Wednesday
The Director of Press, Federal Ministry of Education, Mr Ben Goong, could not be reached for reactions.
However, a senior staff of the ministry admitted that the situation is not normal and that it could be because of the rising insecurity at the fringes of Abuja where the schools are located, and the need to secure the lives of the students that might have prompted the decision to shut the schools abruptly.
The source said: “The new Minister of State for Education, Goodluck Opiah, was scheduled to tour about five Unity Schools in Abuja last week to get first hand information on the state of the affairs in the schools, but the tour was cancelled at the 11th hour without adequate explanation.
“Information had it that the schools said they were writing examinations preparatory for long vacation, hence it will be inappropriate for the minister and his team to visit the schools at the moment.”