Fears of disruptions in the scheduled National Examination Council (NECO) examinations for Senior Secondary School (SS3) and Junior Secondary students of Excel College in Ejigbo, Lagos State, whose building collapsed last Saturday morning, have been allayed by the school management, saying convenient facilities are in place for the remainder of the final papers which will start in two weeks' time.
A part of the school building collapsed last Saturday without any casualty, and consequently, the massive main building was demolished on the order of the state Governor, Babajide Sanwaolu.
Speaking yesterday, the Principal of the school, Lady Kehinde Oke, described the incident as very unfortunate, but thanked God that no life was lost.
According to her, "Firstly, we are immensely grateful to Almighty God that no life was lost. Much as it is natural to feel the pain of such a monumental loss in infrastructure, we give glory to God because we didn't lose any student, staff or anybody at the end of the day.
"We want to assure our parents and students that we have taken the development in good faith, and working hard to mitigate its effects on scheduled resumption of the students, especially the remainder of the SS3 final examinations in the coming weeks. We are arranging facilities where the students will sit for the examinations. Parents and students have nothing to fear. We shall inform all the relevant authorities of our plans and actions. The students are guaranteed the traditional quality environment for the examinations.
"Even before the unfortunate incident, we had earlier notified the parents of the management's decision to defer the resumption date for safety reasons because of structural issues with a part of the building. The engineers had asked for the extension to properly evaluate and ascertain what the issue was. While taking caution and closing the wing for activities, we never knew it could result in a building collapse."
She added: "A lot of reasons are being adduced for the collapse, which included a recent blast in Abule Ado that could have affected the foundation without the knowledge of anyone. Of course, there is also the news making the round that the collapsed wing was later built as an adjoining building to the main building. However, everyone that knows the history of the school knows that the two wings of the school building were built together about 25 years ago as detailed in the architectural and structural plan."
The principal expressed the gratitude of the school management to the Lagos State Government for the prompt response to the emergency.
"The officials of the Lagos State Emergency Agency (LASEMA) were diligent in a controlled retrieval of documents during the demolition exercise, including recently issued WAEC certificates and students' files, past and present," Oke concluded.