Friday, 15 May 2015

Unknown Ritualists 'Bury Victim' In Primary School Classroom In Edo

The suspicion that a corpse was buried inside one of the classrooms of Iguodala Primary School, Benin City, proved to be untrue.  The rumour, however, exposes the school as a “resident evil” within its neighbourhood, writes BANJI ALUKO.
The classroom where the discovery was made(top) and Another section of the school (down)

The discovery of a dug ground in the earth in one of the classrooms in Iguodala Primary School, Benin City, spread like a wildfire. The suspicion was that someone had been killed and the corpse secretly buried in the middle of the night. It was a Monday morning and  many felt the three nights after the students left school on Friday afternoon were enough for men of the underworld to perpetrate evil.

How quickly bad news spread! Some parents suddenly arrived the school premises to remove their wards while those who could not dispatch family and relatives to do so for them. The suspicion of a buried corpse was further accentuated by alleged sighting of bloodstain on the suspected grave sight by the students who quickly alerted their teachers, who in turn called on the headmistress, Mrs Georgina Ilongwo.
According to Mrs Ilongwo, the spot was discovered  at about 7:30a.m. She said students were immediately removed from the classroom and the entire block. The headmistress added that she called on relevant authorities even as policemen from the Esigie Police Division arrived the scene.
“When I visted the scene, all the teachers were rasing alarm and people around trooped into the school compound. We called the attention of inspectors from the Education Miinistry, NUT chairman, PTA chairman and the Odionwere (head) of the community who told us to call the police,” she stated.
She noted that policemen kept vigil on the school from Monday till Tuesday when the ground was eventually dug by Health and Environment officials of the Oredo Local Government Area. However, tension was doused as no corpse was seen when the health workers dug the ground.
Deputy Director ?in the Health and Environment Department in Oredo council, Sylvester Usoboh, said they stopped digging because there was no sign that something was buried in the classroom.
“We discovered that there is nothing in that hole. We have removed the earth that was dug and got to the stronger part, an indication that no further digging was done and nothing was found. So at this point, maybe the police may further their investigation but at our end, we didn’t find anything here,” he said to journalists.
Divisional Police Officer of the area, CSP Akeke Eni, said the hole was an empty site and that nobody was buried in the grave. “We have discovered that it is an empty place and there is nothing inside. It has allayed the fears of everybody that a human being may have been buried inside the classroom,” he stated.
Those who live around the neighbourhood of the school, however, said that although the story of a buried corpse inside the school may be untrue, the school is indeed a ground for crimes and criminality. The school itself cuts a picture of squalor and ruin. The ground that serves as school field is about the only thing that has not been damaged. Perhaps if it had been anything but land, the same fate could have befallen it like other structure inside the school.

The closest to the school field and perhaps the oldest building in the school is a block of classroom by the adjoining Otamere Street. Only that the block is still standing, nothing is left of the building. The front and back of the building are completely overgrown with weeds. Even the floor and walls of classrooms are gradually being taking over by weeds and grasses. It was clear that no effort has been made in recent years at using the classrooms. The re cannot be any mistake as well that the authority of the school has given up reclaiming the classrooms.
Facing what looks like an entrance from the nearby Iguodala Street is another block containing six classrooms. Despite its decrepit outlook, some of the classrooms in the block are apparent being use as their entrance doors were shut. The roof is partly blown away in some sides while the asbestos has nearly disappeared completely. Fully aware of the destructive tendencies of tropical wind and rainfall, some stones could be seen placed on the rooftop to fight the harsh weather.
What is left of the height of the block perimeter fencing surrounding the school varies from three feet to ground zero depending on the level of damage. In some parts, there is no reminder at all that wall once existed in the school. Only the taller pillars in between the fences provide suggestion as to what may have occurred. The pillars indicate that the short block fencing may have once served as a background to a barbed wire.
With the pervasive squalor that pervades the school, people living around the school say they are now leaving in apprehension. Osamudiamen Williams, who lives opposite the school said the school premises was notorious for all kinds of crimes.
“Cultists hold their meetings here mostly in the night and at times daytime. Thugs and armed robbers also converge here. They smoke cigarettes and cannabis and rob passersby of their belongings. There are even reports of rape here.
“The place is free and people do anything they like here. People use the back as toilet. Some people even sleep here. Mad people, homeless people and miscreants come here at times to pass the night.
“The teachers suspected that a grave was dug in one of their classrooms. They later discovered that there was nothing inside the hole when they dug it. What I heard was that the hole was dug by some people who were pursuing rabbits. I think what made people suspicious was because a lot of bad thing happen in the school,” he stated.
A woman who sells provisions at Iguodala Street, Mrs Rose Aigbogun, described the school as a haven for criminals. She says, “Nobody passes there at night. Women have been raped and people beaten to pulp inside the school. I was not surprised when I heard that they buried somebody there because there is nothing all these bad boys don’t do in that school.
“Nobody enters the school at night. If you go to the back, you will see people smoking Indian hemp there. I don’t allow my children to come out at night because of the school. I learnt thugs also gamble inside there. Those of us leaving around the school are not safe at all and we want government to do something about it.
“What I expected government to do is to destroy the classrooms that are no longer useful so that criminals will no longer hide there. Some of the classrooms are not even good enough for the criminals to converge because weeds have taken over them. Government should also fence the school and provide security.”



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