Kibos Sugar factory located in Kisumu County risks closure if the management doesn’t heed to calls to relocate neighbouring Kibos Special School to another location within Kisumu town.
Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha gave the directive on Saturday saying children with special needs continue to suffer due to environmental hazards they are exposed to by the factory located barely 20 metres from the school. He was speaking at Chemelil Academy in Kisumu.
The school is the only learning centre for the blind and children with albinism in Western Kenya.
Reports from locals and environmentalists indicate that the company emits polluted substances into the air which have adverse effects on pupils living with albinism.
The management had earlier committed to provide an alternative piece of land of the same size, build complete facilities for the learning centre, but the school board rejected the offer saying the proposed site is infested with snakes.
The members also claimed that the site is far from health facilities available.
Commenting on the matter Magoha said the company can’t relocate the school to a bush but instead look for a nice and strategic location within town.
“You cannot relocate the school into the bush. I will order Kibos Sugar Company to shut down if they cannot build a school for the children with special needs within town,” said Magoha.
He said he work closely with the county government of Kisumu and other educational stakeholders to ensure that the company complies with the directive within the shortest time.
“It is shameful for our children to suffer yet we are here doing nothing. I am only working in the best interest of the children, ” he added.
Kondele Community Social Justice Centre member Boniface Akach had filed a public petition over failure by the firm to comply with environmental regulations hence affecting the community and more espectially the learners at the school.
He decried that the miller established in 1999 is causing air, noise and environmental pollution, and threatening the safety of the special need learners.
Nominated MP David ole Sankok took up the matter. Consequently, Parliamentary committees on education and labour visited both the school and the factory.
This forced the firm to resolve that it would relocate the school.