Snakes, Grasses Take Over Cross River State’s Multi-Millionaire Library

LAGOS OCTOBER 31ST (NEWSRANGERS)-Cross River State library is in a terrible state and the multi-million naira edifice is at the verge of collapsing, investigations by DAILY POST have shown.
Virtually, all the roofs have been blown off by wind, just as the environment has been taken over by overgrown weeds, thus, exposing the few workers on duty to snakebite and invasion by rodents.
Investigations conducted by DAILY POST revealed that the state’s library, which was once a conference centre, has turned out to be a death trap for few students and workers as well as researchers who make use of it. Findings also revealed that the library has been in that deplorable state for over five years without electricity.
The multi-million naira generator has been vandalized, while the international conference centre in the library has equally been vandalized, the furniture, air conditioners, tiles, public address system and other valuables have been taken away.
The multi-million naira e-library equipment bought by former Governor of the State, Senator Liyel Imoke, has started developing virus because the equipment have not been powered for several years after they were brought due to lack of electricity.
“As at now, no electricity, no vehicles, no water, no new books, in fact, nothing is here. Of the seven security staff on duty, five have retired, similar thing happened to other staff,” a staff regretted.
“Few days ago, snakes invaded some of the offices and almost bit the workers and researchers but they were overpowered and killed,” a staff who declined giving her name told our correspondent in Calabar.
The Director of the library, Mrs Deborah Awatt was not in the office despite several visits but the office manager, who is the Chairman of Non Academic Staff Union (NASU) Library branch, Elder Bisong Paul lamented the deplorable state of the library.
He said the Board Chairman and members have done their best but the government has not taken any action.
He said, “We don’t have electricity for over five years now, our Union has written several letters to the state Governor, Prof Ben Ayade but nothing seems to be done. The library falls on Non Academic Staff Union (NASU).”
Governor Ayade and members of the House of Assembly Committee on Education, according to him, were all aware of the deplorable state of the library.
“Commissioner for Education and all members of the State Executive Council (EXCO), the deputy governor of the state are equally aware.
“The roofs of the storey building that houses the library have all been blown off, virtually all the offices are leaking and it’s at the verge of collapsing. Snakes and other reptiles are found in some of the offices because the overgrown weeds are harbouring the snakes and reptiles.
“The State has Library in Ikom and Ogoja and the situation is the same. They are all in a sorry condition,” he added.
He said that the General Secretary of NASU, Prince Adeyemi and Deputy President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) had written severally to the Governor and deputy but nothing seems to be done.
Another source, who spoke with our correspondent, revealed that only the two security staff worked day and night.
“Formerly, the library closed for business by 8-9pm but we close at 5-6pm because there is no enough staff and nobody runs shift here. The few workers depend on rain water for flushing of toilet. This place has over seven security staff, but today about five have retired and only two are working now, day and night,” he source added.
“When the former Governor Donald Duke was in power, he did a lot to keep the library on. There was international conference centre here, many government functions were held here and some were at the international conference centre in the library.
“The giant air conditioners, sophisticated tiles, imported chairs and tables and other facilities were removed to private houses. Government functionaries removed those things to their houses, unfortunately, there are no replacements till date, and the hall is now empty,” the source further revealed.
Some of the books are over thirty years old, no replacement, no new ones; some of them are not in the syllabus approved by government. “Don’t forget that our Governor and Deputy are Professors and there are other Professors in the state yet they cannot look for solution for the state Library,” the source regretted.
When DAILY POST contacted the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mrs. Rosemary Archibong on phone, she said that the state government was considering revamping the state library.
“The library did not degenerate to this level during this administration. I know it is a continuous thing, isn’t it? It has gone this way over time and the current state government is trying to reactivate those obsolete things and then, there is a priority, so this is one of the things that the state government was planning to revamp but I just want us to know that this library went from bad to worse to worst over time even before the coming of the current administration,” she said.
“That not withstanding, the Governor is extremely inclined on developing the education sector of the state, We have seen what the library has turned into and the state government will take it back to what it was and even excel,” she stated.
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