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General News | May 24, 2004

Fear Grips Ghana National College Students

Chronicle

... As unexplained deaths hit school Cape-Coast -- Students of Ghana National College in Cape Coast, one of the finest secondary schools in the country, are living in a state of fear following three mysterious deaths that have rocked the school in the past three years.

The deaths, which occurred in the same dormitory at the beginning of every academic year, are said to have caused considerable scare among students and parents alike who believe they could become an annual ritual.

The death of the latest victim, Ferguson has generated tension between the housemaster Mr. Abban and the school authorities over his alleged refusal to issue an exeat (permit) for the student who fell sick to go home for medical treatment despite persistent requests by the boy.

It was alleged that he died shortly after he had sneaked out to go home.

The paper gathered that Mr. Abban has since been relieved of his post as housemaster.

Some parents have threatened to withdraw their children from the school if nothing was done to allay their fears and stop the mystery deaths.

“As a parent, I'm very sad and downhearted to hear this. It is very disheartening to hear this from my son who is scared to go back to the dormitory,” a mother told The Chronicle.

Some parents suspect that there might be other horrible things happening on the blind side of the school authorities and have suggested that students in the dormitory should be reshuffled and the building “re-dedicated”.

A number of students the paper spoke with said stealing of mobile phones and breaking into students boxes were rampant in that dormitory and as a means of unravelling the truth, students went to consult juju-men who often gave instructions on what to do.

Sources close the school authorities told the paper that shortly after the death of Ferguson, the headmaster, Mr. Koomson, went on surprise inspection of the dormitories early dawn during which he found what was suspected to be Indian hemp in the boxes of some students. Five students have been suspended.

Owing to the current shortage of water in the municipality only final year students are allowed to stay on campus and no student is lodging in that dormitory now.

The headmaster was not available for comment. Headmaster Denies Media Reports The Headmaster of Ghana National College, a 2nd cycle institution in Cape Coast, Mr. Koomson-Barnes, has described as mischievous and a figment of one's imagination, attempts to create a state of insecurity at the school.

The 'Chronicle' newspaper in its banner headline on May 24 sought to create the impression that fear has gripped students of the school, over a number of inexplicable deaths that have hit the school, the latest victim being one Ferguson.

According to the newspaper, three mysterious deaths have occurred in the same dormitory at the beginning of every academic year which has thrown the entire student populace into a perpetual state of anxiety. However, speaking on Peace FM's Kokrokoo Morning show today, May 24, Mr. Koomson-Barnes stated categorically that the story was “wholly” untrue. He described the peddlers of the story as alarmists, who are bent on tarnishing the image of the school. He revealed that only 2 students have died in the past three years under “normal” circumstances and not 3 as being speculated by the 'Chronicle'.

Mr. Koomson-Barnes also denied that the Housemaster, Mr. Abban refused to issue an exeat for the student, adding that Ferguson (the deceased) went home on Sunday and passed away on Friday. Meanwhile, the headmaster of Pope John's Secondary School and Junior Seminary (POJOSS) in Koforidua, Mr. Paul Ofori Atta, has denied media reports that he is now seeking refuge outside the school's premises following an alarming wave of death threats against his life.

Reacting to “The National Guardian” newspaper's story on Peace FM's “Kokrokoo” Morning Show today that, some students are after his blood because he has suspended about 136 students for gross indiscipline, Mr. Ofori-Atta stated that he is still living on the school's compound and that he has no knowledge of any anonymous threatening letters. Besides, he said, some of the suspended students have renounced their actions and have even written apology letters to the school's administration

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