There was pandemonium at the Iguodala Primary School in the Uhunduhun Oredo Local Government Area of Edo State after pupils stumbled on a fresh ‘grave’ in one of their classrooms. The incident was said to have happened shortly after the morning assembly on Monday. The pupils and their teachers were said to have raised the alarm and raced to the school gate on sighting the ‘grave’ which had blood sprinkled on it. It was learnt that the Head Teacher, Georginia Ilongwo, calmed the pupils and ordered those in primary 1A, where the ‘grave’ was dug, to move to another classroom. Ilongwo, who later alerted the Esigie Police Division to the incident, described it as “shocking.” She said:
“After the pupils and teachers raised the alarm, people around trooped into the school premises. I informed the Odionwere community leaders, the Ministry of Education, the Nigeria Union of Teachers and the Parent-Teacher Association. All of them advised that we call the police. When policemen came, they said they would assess the scene today (Tuesday). We were all surprised because since I started teaching here, I have never experienced such a thing.”
She added that many parents did not allow their children to attend the school on Tuesday because of the incident. When our correspondent visited the school, the ‘grave’ still looked freshly dug. A pair of knickers and a T-shirt were seen on the floor of the classroom. Some policemen said they suspected that something or someone was buried in the grave.
They added that they kept watch until some cemetery workers from the council came at about 11.40am. The men were, however, stopped from further digging of the ‘grave’ by some health officials after they dug three feet into the ground. The officials said there was no sign that a corpse had been buried at the site. A Deputy Director in the Health and Environment Department of the council, Mr. Sylvester Usoboh, said:
“We have removed the earth that was dug and got to the stronger part, an indication that no further digging was done, and nothing was found. Maybe the police may investigate further; but we did not find anything.”
The Divisional Police Officer, CSP Akeke Eni, also allayed the fear of the community that the remains of an unknown person could have been buried in the school. He said:
“It is an empty ‘grave’. It was initially suspected to contain something, but we have discovered that there is nothing inside.”
Some residents of the community, however, called on the government to recontruct the school, which they said had become a hideout for hoodlums for years.