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08.07.2005 Regional News

‘Mafias’ Invade Nkroful School


…Millions Belonging To Students Vanish, Headmaster Assaults Students For Asking About Cash! …House Master Carries School Properties To His Village While Students Flourish In Indiscipline! “Across the parapet, …… I can see African cities rising up to become the metropolis of Science and Architecture”, that was the first President of Ghana and African Personality of the 20th century, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, waxing philosophically on education.

In Nkrumah's beautiful hometown of Nkroful in the Western Region of Ghana, a secondary school (Nkroful Agricultural Secondary School (NASS)) perches brilliantly atop a lush hill (Bokazo) close to the Subre River where the legendary African statesman, who took so much pride in education, used to bathe and roam freely.

Some years back the school on the axis of Nkrumah birth and original burial place, was the epitome of academic excellence - churning out the 'milk and cream' of the country's academia. Now, the ironies have began, NASS has accelerated so fast into regression with corruption and indiscipline taking centre stage among the student population (of over 600). It has stopped radiating the light expected from it from the hill top. This became evident when our ace investigative reporter spent some few days there posing as an SSS1 Arts boarding student under the name, Kaku Shadrack.

Bubbling with zeal and enthusiasm, the poor students of NASS contributed a sum of 78 million cedis with intent to buy cloth to celebrate the school's anniversary. Over a year now, the students have not benefited from their contributions neither have they received their anniversary cloth. The former headmaster of NASS, Mr Bekui, before leaving the school for Half Assini Secondary School, indicated in his handing over notes that the money for the cloth was being collected from the students.

He tasked the assistant headmaster, Mr. Adeaba, to do the final collection, he explained to this reporter at his Half Assini base. When Mr. Adeaba finished with the collection, he deposited the ¢78 million cedis, with the knowledge of the students and staff of the school into the school's main accounts.

Though the money has disappeared from the school's kitty, the present headmaster, Mr. Ocloo Nyamadi, who is supposed to be the custodian of the cash, told The Crusading GUIDE reporter in his office that he does not know where the money was because he did not come to meet any account like that. However, the Assistant Headmaster, a devoted Catholic, had sworn heaven and earth to this reporter showing documentary evidence that he had indeed paid the cash into the school's kitty.

“Which ghost came into the school's account without our headmaster's knowledge? The headmaster must just come clean on the issue. He used the student's money for other purposes so he should stop deceiving us that he did not meet any account on the school cloth. Even if it is so, is it not incumbent on every headmaster to find out the source of any money he is using? Why should the poor students who contributed, suffer for this?”, a source at the school's account office who pleaded anonymity for obvious reasons wondered.

A Student, Sobo Sylvester Blay, who wrote a letter into the school's Suggestion Box asking about the anniversary cloth, narrated how his headmaster physically assaulted him after he asked that question. “That night the headmaster was standing with Mr. Etison when they saw me passing. They called me and the headmaster unleashed several liberal blows on me, for writing that letter”.

Students who were witnesses to the incident, including Nwiah Sampson, confirmed that they saw the headmaster beat the student but he (headmaster) denied it.

“I only touched him; that's all”, he emphasized.

SCHOOL BUS BOUGHT AT ¢305 MILLION Again, the present weak Parent Teacher Association (PTA) of NASS under strange circumstances, used money extracted from the poor students to purchase a Mercedes Benz bus for ¢305 million while the price of that same bus on the streets of Accra is 150 million cedis.

“Every student was asked to pay ¢450 for the purchase of the big bus like that of Nsien Secondary School, a neighboring secondary school around Nkroful. So we paid the money, thinking we were getting a bigger bus. Later they (school authorities) brought a small Benz bus and told us that whether we liked it or not, that was what was available”, Robert, a student in SSS 2, said angrily.

Meanwhile, The Crusading GUIDE's checks on the bus indicated that it could have been a stolen bus from a neighboring country since the Benz Bus is uncustomed. Customs Officials were busily getting ready to impound the bus because of lack of appropriate documentation as at the time this reporter was leaving the school campus. The headmaster, Joe Ocloo Nyamadi, told this reporter that “though my students are the ones paying for it, I don't have any hand in the purchase of the bus. It's the PTA, that did the purchase so all questions must be directed to them”. However, students on campus had expressed their anger over the issue saying, that both the PTA and the school administration were trying to use them to enrich themselves. The PTA Vice Chairman refused to comment on this matter when this reporter contacted him at his residence.

THE SCHOOL PROPERTY STOLEN BY THE SENIOR HOUSE MASTER “ I Swear I did not come to meet any roofing sheet in the school. As for the wooden boards they were impounded by the forestry people”, that was Mr. Ettison, the Senior House Master, speaking to our reporter on school properties that he was said to have been keeping under lock and key but had intimated he could not trace. The Crusading GUIDE therefore followed up to Tarkwa for some interactions with the District Forestry Boss, Mr. Nyantakyi, who was then in charge of the case. The Forestry boss told this reporter in his flat that, he released the wooden boards to the school after an initial attempt to have them confiscated. He added that because the school explained to him that it was meant for developmental projects, he asked them to immediately go for the boards from one carpenter, popularly known as “Manager” at Esiama.

The search for the boards and (slightly used) roofing sheets sent this reporter to John

Erzane and Yekyere Dagarti who are the night watchmen of the school.

For the two watchmen, it was time for them to confess and clear their conscience. “I will tell the truth on this matter and I'm prepared to go before anybody to defend my position. It was Mr. Ettison who asked me to help him carry the goods to his village (Nvuma) near Asasetre market centre. On two occasions, we filled the school truck with the boards and the roofing sheets when most of the students were sleeping and carried them to his village. We (watchmen) were only given two of the roofing sheets by Mr. Ettison, though we deserved to be given more. He has even used some to cover his corn mill structure, which is in his village. Mr Ettison has also carried school paint and students' unprescribed uniforms ('maltico' or mufty) to his house. He sent his children to come for them from us saying, the students would not need them anymore”, John Erzane narrated.

This reporter then demanded that he should take him to Mr, Ettison's village where the goods were said to have been sent for keeping. At the village, Erzane pointed to the house where the items were kept.

“We brought them inside this house, and these are some of the roofing sheets used to roof the building housing the corn mill”, he said, pointing at the roofing sheets.

FIGHTING, WEE SMOOKING AND SEXUAL PROMISCUITY AT NASS Fighting has been made to look like a virtue at NASS. The students narrated how they watched a grand power-to-power bout between two of their teachers, Kwamena Ninsen (alias Sir Pass) and Ampadu Yeboah, the latter being a chemistry teacher. “Everybody who watched that 'match' heavily tipped Mr. Ninsen to win the fight hands down. But we were all surprised when he was given a technical knockout by Sir, Yeboah, our chemistry master”.

“So, Sir Pass lost the 'bout', in fact his left arm was dislocated and he bandaged it for over a month. This fight was watched by not less than 300 students who were shouting 'Sir Pass, oh, Sir Pass, oh'. The two masters were all drunk that day. So it is not just Sobo and the headmaster who have clashed”, Sampson and his SSS 2 colleagues told this reporter in the dormitory.

Two students, Sobo Emmanuel and Brown Phinihans right before this reporter's eyes, fought over beds while other students looked on. The fight left Sobo Emmanuel with a deep cut on the left eye. Another fight between two students led to one being taken to the hospital. Mr. Ettison, the housemaster, is well known for slapping the students. They said he had slapped over 100 of them over a period of time. “He usually says you know I don't joke with my slaps”, Anita said.

All sorts of social vices are going on at the campus. Boy/Girl relationship is common with students and teachers. This has resulted in an SSS 3 boy, Foster Owusu Agyekum impregnating another SSS 3 girl, Felicia Tanoe.

Other pairs include the following: Foster Agyekum and Theresah Nyamekeh, Seth Tetteh (Officer) and Elizabeth Cobbinah, Sulley Amanor ('Ramzy') and Solange Pasco, Nyamedi and Francisca Gawugah, ('Shaggy') and Gifty Amoako. Bernard Bentil, a computing tutor is quite close to Gorgina Ofori while Kwamina Ninsin (Sir Pass) loves to hang out with Augustina Kwame. The Nyaneba JSS 3 students also complained that the District Director of Education, Mr Jampetey Gyan comes to pick their teacher (Mariam) out during class hours. This was confirmed by most of the teachers who spoke to this reporter under the cover of anonymity.

John Ersane informed this reporter that a lot of sexual intercourse take place in the bush. But he said when a report was made to the authorities no action was taken. “I catch them everyday doing it”, the school night watchman added.

Here is the list of students who are known to be wee smokers. Very often, they purportedly meet in the rubber plantation behind the junior block and the Nyaneba Model Primary & JSS. There are other times too when they go to the “Galamsey Site” at the outskirts of the Nkroful township to do their own thing. Seth Tetteh ('Officer'), Benjamin Biney ('Brainer'), Foster Owusu Agyekum ('Naughty by nature'), Joseph Kwesi ('Paapa Zidoo'), Ernest Morton, Mintah Baah (Red Bone), Fati Mohammed and Peter Aquah ('Oboo').

Meanwhile, the students have reacted to a shabby report prepared by some old students to the effect that all was well with the school. “Mathiew Yankey and his friends are nothing but a disgrace to our school for covering up all this rot on our campus, posterity would not forgive their shameful act”, the students charged.

They appealed to prominent old boys like Dr. Acquah Harrison, Dr. Adjebu, Dr. Buah, Erick Osei-Tutu Agyeman, Erick Anthony, ASP Samuel Yankey, Sai Mansford and others to come to the rescue of their 'alma matter' and help save it from sinking into the quagmire of mediocrity and retrogression. Stay tuned for more on Thursday!