Army renovates Bayelsa school

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King George Lawson was skeptical when the 16 Brigade of the Nigerian Army was sited in Elebele, Ogbia Local Government Area, Bayelsa State. He was uncomfortable at the presence of the army in his neighbourhood.

The Obanobhan 1 of Emeyal Clan stated reasons for his initial fears. “I used to know the army for guns and intimidation only. I had very negative impression about the army. So, I was afraid when they came to our neighbourhood. I thought bad things would begin to happen in our communities because of their presence.”

But the king confessed recently that the leadership of the 16th Brigade changed his perception about the army. He said the brigade led by Brigadier-General Kelvin Aligbe made him and his communities fall in love with the army.

“We have since changed our negative impressions. Since the coming of the army, we have only witnesses’ adequate security and infrastructural development. The army is the simplest security outfit. I told our governor recently about the good things we have witnessed in these communities because of the presence of the army,” he said.

King George was right and he spoke out of experience as he stood with other stakeholders to receive 100 desks and sporting items including football kits donated by the army to the pupils of Community Comprehensive Secondary School, Elebele.

The king also saw how General Aligbe renovated a dilapidated Elebele Primary School 2 in his neighborhood. The school had leaking roofs, cracked and washed off walls. But the army gave it a facelift by changing the roof and repainting the blocks. The school environment became  neater, cleaner and more conducive for learning.

The Obanobhan further saw the grin faces of the benefitting pupils. Their physiognomical countenances spoke volumes. Many of them indicated interests to join the army after their studies. They viewed Aligbe and his soldiers as their role models.

Besides, George, the Paramount Ruler of Elebele community, His Royal Highness, King Osene Osene extolled the virtues of the General Aligbe-led Brigade. “It is examplary”, he said. “ This brigade has proved me wrong. I thought the army only carried gun to intimidate people. We were afraid when the entered our community, but now we can’t do without them. They have performed beyond our expectations,” he said.

With the performance of the brigade in the community, Osene said he would never talk about the army as a force of intimidation. He said he never thought that the army could think along the line of developing its host communities.

He said it was unimaginable that the army was carrying out projects they hitherto believed could only come from the government.

The Principal of the Comprehensive Secondary School, Elebele, Nanigha Asara, was also overwhelmed. She described the gesture as a big surprise from the army. She said the army showed due diligence by conducting need assessment of the school before making their donations.

She said: “I learnt that they initially came during one of our brief breaks to carry out an inspection of the school infrastructure. I believe it was based on this they came to overwhelm us with these various gifts.

“The action so far has gone a long way to show that they believe in education, which we know remains the bedrock of every nation. Their action also has shown that they believe in the future of every one of our students.

“I am deeply shocked to the bone marrow by such magnanimity and kind gestures showcased by kind soldiers. Since they believe in us, we will prove their belief right by working very hard.”

The Prefect (Boy) of the school, Osuma Mannesah, captured the feelings of his colleagues. He said: “ It is a great thing of joy and we are actually excited to see the desire and the zeal of the Nigerian Army to facilitate the learning process in this great school.

“It will help to give the students more zeal to pursue their academic goals. We want to say thank you to the brigade and the brigade-general and we pray God to give them more grace.”

Aligbe encouraged the students to take their studies seriously and aspire to be the best in the world. He advised them against crime and company and urged them not to engage in exam malpractices.

Stating reasons for the gesture, he said: “We are here to make donation to facilitate learning. This is recognising the fact that education and sports and veritable means of bridging gaps that we have identified in the Niger Delta region.

“With this gesture we hope we have inspired these young students to know that there are alternatives to violence and we expect this kind of interactions will subsequently engender the kind of calmness we want in all the communities in the Niger Delta region beginning with Elebele communities where 16th Brigade is domiciled.”

Culled from here

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