A school environment is envisioned as a haven of purity, shielded from external influences that could tarnish or sway the minds of students. Regrettably, such an ideal is starkly contrasted by the surroundings of Silver Spring Schools in the Ikotun area of Lagos State.
For a newcomer to the vicinity, pinpointing the school proves challenging amid a clutter of stalls and kiosks erected close to the drainage by the school fence. Initially, the scene might resemble a rapidly expanding local market catering to the immediate needs of nearby residents.
Yet, a closer inspection uncovers a more troubling reality—a breeding ground for gamblers and alcoholics. Investigative findings by our correspondent reveal that the ready availability of sachet-packaged alcoholic drinks lures students from nearby schools to converge at this market. After succumbing to the allure and becoming intoxicated, these students often engage in brawls, disturbing the peace of the area.
Providing relief to motorists, residents, and business owners who have long lamented the disruptive activities of these traders, a positive development has unfolded in response to the prevailing challenges.
Officials of the Lagos Waste Management Authority and the state’s Ministry of Environment stormed the area and demolished stalls and kiosks built by the traders on the drainage channel beside the school.
It was gathered that this development followed a request made by a lawyer and development consultant, Mrs Iyabo Awokoya to the Lagos State Ministry of Education and the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency via her verified X (formerly Twitter) handle on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, according to the official internet portal for all schools in the state known as ‘Lagos Schools Online’, the Silver Springs Schools, which is situated at Onitire, Abaranje, was started by its proprietress, Mrs Olaide Fawehinmi in 2001.
The school, our correspondent gathered, has about 105 students and has another college located in Ijeshatedo, Surulere.
In a photograph of the school, which Awokoya appended to her post, an array of wooden kiosks and umbrellas owned by traders could be seen adjoining the fence erected by the school.
The traders who ranged from Point-of-Sale operators to those who hawked snacks and pastries had their merchandise placed over the drainage channel, beside the school building.
Findings revealed that in the past few years, through various press releases, the Lagos State Government had expressed worries over the increasing abuse of setbacks and incidental open spaces around public schools and has sought to check such infractions.
In a series of replies to comments elicited by her post on Silver Spring Schools, Awokoya lamented that the shops had repelled parents from registering their children in the school, noting that its premises had been turned into a marketplace.
She further disclosed that the efforts of the school proprietress, who is her aunt, to eject the illegal traders had failed and she had even become afraid due to the recalcitrance of the stall owners.
The post read, “Dear Lagos State Ministry of Environment, Mr Tokunbo Wahab, LASEPA official, Tunde, Please this is my aunty’s school on Abaranje Road, Ikotun, in Lagos.
“See the way the traders have taken over the setback and have erected permanent kiosks even attaching them to the fence. We have reported in all the possible places to be reported to no avail. Later the Ministry of Education will come with a contravention order. How can a school be rendered to a market?
“And they are vicious. My Aunt is 70 years old and afraid of them now. They first promised to leave when the LGA came with my agent, but then they failed. Then the LGA also relented. There is nothing we have not done. We petitioned the LGA and LCDA, Tunde Sosina,” she wrote in two separate posts.