Abia State Ministry of Education, Umuahia, has informed the general public that Emerald Schools, located at Crystal Park Avenue, off Port Harcourt road in Aba South LGA, have been sealed and their operational approval withdrawn.
The ministry in a statement signed by the Commissioner for Education, Professor Uche-Eme-Uche, on Tuesday, said that the sealing of the educational facility was a result of the ministry’s findings, which, according to him, “showed that the said school was operating below the stipulated standards set for the operation of private schools in the state, a situation, which led to the unfortunate death of a pupil.”
The statement, therefore, advised parents and guardians whose children or wards are attending the school, to withdraw them without further delay.
“While the ministry regrets any inconvenience this may cause parents, it will continue to shoulder its responsibility of upholding the welfare and safety of Abia children as a top priority.
“Any illegal attempt by any individual or group to reopen the school will attract the full wrath of the government.
Please be properly guided.”
Inspection and evaluation team from the ministry of education in Umuahia Tuesday, kicked off inspections of private schools in the state, with the aim of ascertaining their conformity to accepted educational standards.
A 3-year-old pupil of the school, Master David Jacob Etim fell down from the school storey-building and died, about two weeks ago, as confirmed by the Abia State Police Command.
The Police described the incident as “sudden and unnatural death”.
The late Etim, according to a police statement, was a pupil of Emerald International School.
The statement, which was signed by the Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, of the Abia Command, ASP Maureen Chinaka, said the incident was reported to the Ndiegoro divisional headquarters on October 17, 2023 by Mr Jacob Etim Udo, the father of the victim.
The statement added that the case had been transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department, SCID, for discreet investigations, adding that authorities of Emerald International School were being interrogated on the incident.
“On the 17th of October 2023, at approximately 2000hrs, a case was reported at the Ndiegoro divisional headquarters by Mr. Jacob Etim Udo, accompanied by two others. Mr. Udo reported the tragic incident involving his son, David Jacob Etim, a 3-year-old pupil of Emerald International School located near Crystal Park Road, Aba.
“According to Mr. Udo, his son fell from the school’s storey building and was immediately rushed to the hospital. Despite all efforts, the child tragically lost his life.
“The child’s body has been placed under autopsy as part of our ongoing investigation. This case has been transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) for a comprehensive and discreet inquiry to investigate the circumstances surrounding this unfortunate incident. Interrogations with the school authorities are currently in progress”, the statement said.