Barely seven months after the construction of an ultra-modern floating school started in Makoko, the construction.
The three-storey building with an area of 220 metres was built on a foundation of 256 plastic drums and powered by solar panels suspended on the roof. It is aimed at achieving the Millennium Development Goals, MDGs, Goal II, which is to boost universal primary education.
The floating school which is being built jointly by the residents of Makoko/Iwaya Waterfront community, Yaba Local Council Development Area, LCDA, United Nation Development Programme, UNDP and a private firm -NLE works, Nigeria, was expected to accommodate no fewer than 100 pupils and their teachers, and expected to address the perennial flooding that truncate access to education by children of the community may never be allowed to operate afterall.
According to Mr. Kunle Adeyemi, founder of NLE, and promoter of the floating school, the structure would have served as an extension of the only existing school in the coastal community –Whayinna Nursery and Primary school.
Adeyemi said that the ground floor of the three-storey building serves as an open recreational space for the pupils during the day and as a public arena for community activities after school hours, while the first and the upper floors have classrooms that would have served primary classroom purposes.
However, the government says it’s an illegal structure. The Commissioner for Waterfront and Infrastructure Development in Lagos State, Prince Adesegun Oniru while making the government’s position known said, “The floating school has been illegal since inception. The owner of the floating school waited until there was a legal issue in the area before he commenced the construction of the school.”
“So as far as that floating school is concerned, it was erected without the permission of the state government.
“The simple answer to the floating school is that it is an illegal structure and it shouldn’t be there.”
The commissioner said that its development will affect the government’s redevelopment plan for the area, saying “This wouldn’t deter us to abandon our plan for the area.”
The community who had been anticipating such an edifice around them wasted no time in suing the government. Speaking on the floating school, secretary of the Makoko Waterfront Community, Mr. John Keke said that the community and the government are already in court over the legality of several activities of the residents of the waterfront community, saying; “I wouldn’t like to speak more on the issue because we were already in court.”
The commissioner however said; “We aren’t going to do anything that would amount to contempt of court. We will do what we need to do. If the owner of the structure got money to waste, he should continue. However we will not abort our plan.”