…Pupils Walk On Rotten Wooden Bridges To School
By Alfred Dogbey
The lives of over hundred school children living along the Mallam-Borla Road in the Ga-South Municipal Assembly, are in danger, as a result of two wooden footbridge constructed on a stream to serve as the only route to their schools, have turned into death traps with a major disaster waiting to strike.
The Herald’s checks have revealed that, the deadly nature of the footbridges in the community, have forced some parents to withdraw their children from nearby schools and sent them to schools, where they would not have to use the rotten wooden footbridge.
Angry residents told The Herald, the MCE, Jerry Nii Akwei Thompson and Member of Parliament (MP) for the area, Comfort Rosemond Abrah, are aware of the situation, but surprisingly they have kept their eyes closed on the danger, leaving the users, particularly the school kids, helpless.
According to the residents, about six people have so far lost their lives. Amongst them are two children who got drowned in the drain beneath the footbridge during the recent torrential floods which hit the city claiming nearly 200 lives.
The footbridges are located behind the Princess International School Complex and in front of Pastor Kumchacha’s church, near the main Mallam Lorry Station, while the other is located around the Presby Church.
This paper was informed that, the bridges were constructed by the residents some years ago.
The Herald also gathered, some concerned teachers who are deeply worried over the horrifying condition of the footbridges, have instructed their students to use alternative routes to the school, even if it entailed having to walk long distances.
When The Herald visited the two sites, it was observed that, the problem had reached a critical stage, and required an immediate solution. It is unclear why the once vibrant MCE, has been very reluctant in the discharge of his duties, as many had expected from him.
The residents painted a scary picture that, the footbridges are usually swept away upon the least downpour, thus preventing them from going about their movements and daily activities. Indeed, some of them who use the rotten footbridges, have stopped going to church to worship, fearing they might drown.
A resident of the area, Jewel Ofori Poku, who could not contained the apparent lackadaisical attitude of their leaders disclosed that, all attempts to get authorities to attend to the situation had proven futile.
He told The Herald, “We are not able to go out of this community when it rains, and this is affecting us so much”.
According to him, the community had become a breeding ground for mosquitoes, because gutters in the area were filled with stagnant water, adding “when we speak the authorities at the municipal assembly, do not pay attention.”
Another resident, Mr. Frank Quartey, who also spoke to The Herald, pleaded with the municipal assembly to come to their aid by constructing a concrete drain.
When The Herald contacted Elliot Adom, the Public Relation Officer (PRO) of the Municipal Assembly, he denied knowledge of the issue, but pleaded with the reporter not to go public with the story.
He also flatly denied that his boss, the MCE, has been informed and aware of the situation, indicating that he will inquire from the MCE and give The Herald a feedback, but this never happened.
Attempt by The Herald to find out from the proprietress of Princess International School Complex, Madam Princess, if the school had informed authorities of Ga-South Municipal Assembly about the situation, resulted in this reporter being attacked.
The proprietress, who was aggressive towards The Herald and struggled to express herself in the English Language, claimed that her daughter is a journalist, working with Peace FM and for this reason, wondered why this reporter had found it necessary to inquire from her about the safety of her pupils, instead of finding out from the Assembly.
Madam Princess, questioned The Herald if her students are the only pupils using the footbridge in the area. She busied herself taking pictures of this reporter using her mobile phone, while throwing tantrums.
The conduct of the headmistress and proprietress of ‘Princess International School Complex’ created a scene two Thursdays ago, with many surprised onlookers, pleading with this reporter to “forgive” her for her ignorance.
Later, residents explained to The Herald that, the proprietress’ aggressive misconduct was because, she had allegedly built one of her structures on a waterway, blocking free-flow of water, for which she has been battling with the assembly officials.
They hinted that, the woman’s unfriendly behaviors was because she thought, the presence of The Herald at the scene of the footbridge, was to report on her matter, which would lead the municipal assembly to demolish her building especially, the one sitting on the waterway.
The paper’s sources at the Ga-South Assembly and the PRO, have confirmed that, the proprietress of the school was a regular visitor to the assembly, but they could not disclose her mission.
More To Come!