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Thursday, July 27, 2017

Petrol stations selling products to students ‘to be held for arson’

Murang'a county commissioner addressing administrators in his office on January 10 this year.
Murang'a county commissioner addressing administrators in his office on January 10 this year.

Petrol stations should stop selling petrol and paraffin in jerrycans, especially to students, to prevent the increasing cases of school fires, Murang’a county commissioner John Elung’ata has said.

Only sell the products to motorists, he said.

What about paraffin users who do not have cars?

Many Kenyans use paraffin in homes for cooking and lighting. And not all of them have cars.

The commissioner warned that any petrol station owner selling the two products to students will be taken as an accomplice if a school is burnt down.

“We cannot allow radical students to continue burning down schools using petrol bought from local stations,” he said.

Elung’ata spoke on Friday at Kahuhia Girls’ High School during a meeting with principals to discuss security in secondary schools.

He said in some cases, students send boda boda operators to buy the petrol and paraffin.

Elung’ata cited Weithaga Boys’ High School, which was set on fire on July 9, saying a student sent a boda boda operator to buy petrol from a petrol station.

He urged principals to hire youthful guards who are able to handle rioting students. Many of the schools employ elderly men who are unable to handle uncontrollable students, which aggravates the problem, the commissioner said.

“Most of these guards do not even have mobile phones and have to physically report any issue that crops up to teachers,” he added.

Train guards on riot control

Elung’ata called for enhanced communication between principals and the guards so that trouble is handled before it gets out of hand.

He also urged schools to collaborate with the county security team to train their guards on how to control rowdy students and handle security problems in schools.

“Watchmen are not only your eyes at the gate, but they can even help report suspicious characters hovering near the schools and errant students,” Elung’ata said.

He asked school administrations to involve police when a teacher or student is suspected to be fuelling unrest.

This is after principals complained that some teachers are inciting students to go on the rampage for their selfish interests.

The commissioner also urged principals to strengthen their Guidance and Counselling departments in schools to help students with psychological problems.

On Monday, students from Kangema Boys’ High School stormed out of the institution at 3am to protest against the transfer of their principal to Kiaguthu Boys’ High School.


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