Osun Mega Schools: Integrity test not to witch-hunt Aregbesola – Govt

Osun state government, Friday explained that the structural integrity test on mega schools is not to witch-hunt former governor Rauf Aregbesola.

The Secretary to the State Government, Prince Wole Oyebamiji, in a statement, said the state under governor Adegboyega Oyetola is concerned about the safety of students, teachers and all workers in the affected schools, hence the exercise. 

It insisted that the state government will not relent in its efforts to keep its citizens and residents safe irrespective of mischief makers’ insinuations to the contrary.  
Oyebamiji said governor will continue to do what is right for his people “unlike the desperate elements” trying to score cheap political points at the expense of human lives.

“It is not in contention that the model schools were built by the last administration.  However, the responsibility of keeping the students, teachers and all workers using the facilities rest on the shoulders of the present government. 

“It is a duty the governor swore an oath to perform. That is why we will not wait for disaster to happen before exercising abundance of caution. It is therefore sad and appalling to think that some people will politicise every noble act of governance based on sound professional advice and done with full sense of responsibility to proactively protect properties that belong to government and the life of our young citizens.”

Noting that the origin of the structural challenges in a few of the model schools predated the Oyetola administration, Oyebamiji said, “a few months after the swearing-in of Mr. Oyetola as the Governor of the State, some of the facility managers appointed by the previous administration complained to the new administration about the shocking, accelerated deterioration and alarming disintegration of some of the schools under them.

“Based on this complaint, the new administration in early 2019 requested one of the facility managers, Engr (Mrs) C. B Olajide, who was the one in charge of maintenance of the mega schools and also a Senior Special Assistant  to former Governor Rauf Aregbesola to carry out a comprehensive assessment of the physical conditions of the 10 functional Mega schools and come up with repair and rehabilitation needs.

“The consultant came up with a disturbing report containing a wide range of defects and glaring material failures in schools commissioned between 2016 and 2018.

“The report, submitted in April 2019, specifically raised some structural concerns that questioned the safety of occupants of two of the schools namely Ayedaade Grammar School, Ikire and Fakunle Comprehensive High School, Osogbo. 

“In accordance with best professional practice, Engr (Mrs.) C. B Olajide then suggested that comprehensive tests be carried out on all the schools as precautionary and preventive measures especially in reported cases of settling foundation.”

“According to Olajide, a former Facility Manager and Civil Engineer, most of the stairs in Fakunle Comprehensive High School, are gradually turning into rubbles as a result of load pressure. Under structural failure, the stair well is usually the last to collapse to allow for evaluation.

“It is recommended that the Structural Stability of the facility be verified. Population of the student in this school is advised to be reduced to 2000 until safety is proved.

“On Ayedaade Grammar School, the former SSA to former Governor Aregbesola said: “There are lateral cracks on ground floor walls, indicative of settling foundation .The location is swampy and requires special foundation (raft) and framed structure (monolithic) to discourage cracks as a result of consolidation when it occurs.” 

“Although some of the repairs had been carried out, the report was later escalated to the State Executive Council by the Commissioner for Education where a high-powered committee  headed by the Deputy Governor, Benedict Alabi, was set up to interact with the contractors responsible for the construction of the schools to ensure that the needful was done.

“The Alabi-led committee in its report emphasized the need for urgent rehabilitation of some of the schools and also safety-reassuring integrity tests for any of the challenged mega grammar school buildings.

“Consequently, the Osun state executive council directed the Ministry of Works and Transport to liase with all the professional bodies in the building profession in Osun, namely NSE, COREN, NIOB, NIA, ARCON and CORBON to carry out further professional assessment that will remove any doubt as to the safety or otherwise of the school buildings for the use of our pupils.

“This directive to the Ministry of Works resulted in a Committee made up of seasoned professionals who presented a Preliminary report on October 11th, 2021 indicating that six (6) Mega Schools out of the eleven (11) clearly had no structural defects but other wide range of defects which further corroborated the consultant’s earlier position. 

“However, school buildings at Ikire, Ile-Ife, Osogbo and Ikirun showed some serious structural concerns for which further and detailed structural tests were needed”, he said.

He noted that a private and reputable independent Geo-technics laboratory outside the state was later engaged by the committee of professional bodies to assist them in the test and the result of the Non-Destructive Tests showed that some structural facilities of some of the buildings had issues which necessitated another rounds of structural test which result is being awaited.