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Students, teachers stranded as contractor locks up Pokukrom Ibrahimgya Islamic JHS

Teachers and students of Pokukrom Ibrahimgya Islamic Junior High School (JHS) in the Ahafo Ano-South East District of the Ashanti Region found themselves stranded on Thursday, March 21, 2024, as the school was locked up by the Chief Executive Officer of Masum Construction Limited, Abu Masum. The closure was reportedly due to the government's prolonged delay in settling payments.

Students, teachers stranded as contractor locks up Pokukrom Ibrahimgya Islamic JHS

A video shared by UTV on social media captured the distressing scene, with various doors of the school buildings secured with padlocks. In the footage, students who had arrived at the school for study, along with their teachers, were seen sitting on the floor or standing in groups, discussing the unexpected lockout.

This incident is not an isolated one. Last month, on the same date, pupils of the Roman Catholic Primary School in Akyem Asene, located in the Asene Manso Akroso district of the Eastern Region, faced a similar predicament when they arrived at school only to find the gates locked, leaving them stranded.

The contractor responsible for the Pokukrom Ibrahimgya Islamic JHS project, Agyekum Kontor, CEO of Kontor Sadea and Sons Company Ltd, took the drastic measure of locking up the premises to demand payment from the government. Kontor emphasized his frustration, stating, "I have constructed this classroom block since 2016 but I have not been paid. They should pay by tomorrow. I have been at GETFUND for many times but they haven’t paid me. They have not paid me a penny but I handed over the facility to them in 2021."

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It was not the first time Kontor resorted to such measures to get the government's attention. He revealed, "I have shut down the school on two occasions in which the DCE intervened to beg. Whenever I shut down the school they come to beg me and out of compassion for the children I open it but now I am broke." He made it clear that until he receives the payment owed to him, he will not reopen the school for the children.

The closure of the school has left the pupils in a state of uncertainty, with some expressing frustration and unsure whether to wait at the locked gates or return home. The situation highlights the challenges faced by contractors and the adverse impact on students' education when payment delays occur in construction projects funded by the government.

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