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Tragic end of 8 students!

Posted by UMORU HENRY, Abuja on 2005/06/08 | Views: 719 |

Tragic end of 8 students!

68 made the ill-fated excursion. They returned short of eight who perished. What happened to the eight students of Capital Science Academy? How are the students and staff of the elitist school taking

68 made the ill-fated excursion. They returned short of eight who perished. What happened to the eight students of Capital Science Academy? How are the students and staff of the elitist school taking

The tragic incident? The full story.

CAPITAL Science Academy, believed to be one of the best privately owned schools in the country and situated in Kuje Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory, was in the news lately, unfortunately, for the worst reason: the death of eight of its students.

On Saturday, May 14, the drive for another educational stride on the part of the management, staff members and students of the school, ended somewhat tragically in far away Kaduna. Tragedy struck, throwing the city into mourning. Tears flowed in Kaduna, the scene of the tragic incident; while confusion, bewilderment and atmosphere of despondency enveloped the hitherto serene but full of life Capital Science Academy as news of the tragedy was received back home.

When Nuhu Attah; Rabi Lawan Kareto; Farida Shehu; Abdulrahaman Yusuf; Mahmud Rabiu Dabo; Bilkisu Dabo; Almira Abdulazeez and Daniel Ojeh, all SS1 students of the school, in their quest to develop themselves educationally through practicals and sight seeing having been taught by their teachers as part of the last batch of sixty-eight, took off from the school, that Saturday on an excursion, their destination was TRAPPCO Ranch and Resort Lake in Gwazaye village, situated along Kaduna International Airport road. They bade farewell to their mates, friends, peers, staff, management, the neat and inviting environment of the school and the bus took off. As they drove away along the six kilometers dusty and galloping road, never did they know that that was their last trip on earth as they never came back to the school. The news of their death filtered into the school the next day.

Drowning friends

On getting to the holiday resort, the students chartered a boat to sail on the lake but panicked when the boat’s engine developed a mechanical fault and the boat capsized. When this happened, one of the students who was riding on a horse felt he could not stay and watch while his mates perish before his very eyes. He decided to jump into the lake to assist his drowning friends but died along with others in the lake. Efforts of local divers and the villagers to rescue the eight students, four boys and four girls, proved abortive. The other students and staff who made the trip, came back short of eight, mourning.

Since the tragic incident happened, things have not be the same in the school. A visit to the college gives one the picture of a desolate town. On getting to the gate of the school, the picture one gets is that where nothing is taking place. The mood of the security man even tells you that all is not well in the school.

When Sunday Vanguard visited the school, only a handful of members of staff were seen as one was made to understand that the school was closed down for three weeks following the tragic incident and as a mark of honour to the deceased, the college gave the “holiday”. A staff member who pleaded anonymity said, “As you can see, we are still mourning, the school for the past three weeks has been closed as a result of what happened when eight of our students died in Kaduna, but some of the offices are opened, especially the principal’s office, to enable some of the parents and visitors on condolence visit, to see one or two persons to attend to you. To be frank with you, my brother, the incident demoralized us, scattered the school, it was shocking, it will take a long time for us to recover from it, but we have to move on with life”. It was discovered that there were only administrative activities going on at skeletal level.

Since the incident happened, Sunday Vanguard gathered that visitors, parents and sympathizers had been trooping to the school to commiserate with the management of the school. According to Mr. Olumode Adeyemi, officer in charge of Kuje Fire Service, who was on a sympathy visit to the school, what happened was quite shocking. Adeyemi explained that his office and the management had been in good working relationship hence there was a plan by the fire service to dispatch its men to the scene of the event on a rescue mission, but jettisoned the idea when news got to them that the fire service in Kaduna had dispatched its officers to Gwazaye Village.

The principal, Mr. Richard Williams, who had spent two years as head of the school, told Sunday Vanguard that the news of the death of the students was received with great shock, and affected the entire school psychologically. “I appreciate your coming to commiserate with us, eight of our students were involved in the accident, let’s not talk about the incident, let’s look at what to do next, it is shocking, sad, and demoralizing, but we must be focused.

We have a responsibility to provide the best for the students and we are prepared to put in our best to see that we realise these goals, the job is still on”, he said.
The principal disclosed that the school which has a total of three hundred students and a staff strength of over a hundred decided to take an administrative decision of giving the students three weeks of mourning holiday as a mark of respect for the eight students, just as the school had concluded plans to immortalize them by including in the school academic calendar May 14 every year as a day to honour the students and to let those that will come in future know a very sad incident that shocked the school happened on that day.

On his relationship with parents of the deceased and other parents, the principal said it had been quite encouraging and wonderful as the parents, according to him, had been coming to pay condolences and give the management words of encouragement and support. Williams stated that parents of the dead students arranged the burial for their children with the school only playing a role, adding that the incident will not deter the school from embarking on subsequent excursions as this cannot be divorced from learning except that the school would always reflect on the incident, then take adequate precautions against future occurrences. “We will still embark on excursions, but we will make subsequent ones safer, we will continue to make adequate arrangements and provide security for our students,” he said. The principal, who said he was in Togo administering a school of this kind before coming to Nigeria, said Capital Science Academy will look inward as well as learn lessons from the ugly incident.

He called on owners of resorts to learn lessons from what happened to his students at TRAPPCO Resort by ensuring that all what is required to keep such a place functioning are in place, adding that the management of TRAPPCO Resort should protect the place adequately and ensure that such an ugly incident doesn’t happen again. “The government and schools must not wait for things like this to happen before adequate security arrangements are put in place”, he advised.

As the school reopens today, at the end of its three weeks of mourning, many questions that beg for answers include, how prepared are the students to put the May 14 incident behind them? How prepared are they to forget the devastating incident each time they look at the walls of the classrooms and sitting arrangements as they concern the late classmates?

The Kaduna incident has happened, other students may not be equipped to explain the mystery behind it, they have to put it behind them, learn from the incident, allow the incident to give them a new horizon and continue to pray for the repose of the dead.

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Comments (3)

Abieyuwa(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Otasowie means evening life is better than morning life. There is an error in your “evening life is better than evening life”?

Naija g(Houston, Minnesota, US)says...

Sokari doesn’t mean joy. Joy is Biobela. Go to the village and ask the meaning of the name.

Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.