Public schools in Delta State are to be closed today (Monday 27 March) as the state mourns four Delta school heads killed in a road accident at the weekend.
The government directed the schools to observe a day of mourning in honour of the deceased secondary school heads, including three principals and one vice-principal.
Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education, Mr. Chiedu Ebie, gave the directive on behalf of the state government via a statement he issued last Saturday.
Text of the commissioner's release read: "The Delta State Ministry of Basic & Secondary Education regrets to announce the death of three Secondary School Principals and one Vice Principal in a road traffic accident while on their way for an official assignment in Kwale.
"The Ministry received the news of their tragic and untimely death with great shock. The loss of these dedicated officers at the prime of their service to the state and the nation has created a huge vacuum that will be difficult to fill.
"Our hearts also go out to the other Principals and Director of the Post Primary Education Board (PPEB) who sustained varying degrees of injuries in the accident.
"Consequently, the Governor of Delta State, His Excellency, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, has declared Monday, March 27, as a day of mourning in all public schools in the state as a mark of honour to these dedicated officers. In this regard, affected schools (aside from those writing the WASSC Examinations) are to close down that day.
"Normal classes and school will resume on Tuesday, March 28, ahead of the second term examinations which will commence on Wednesday, March 29, 2017.
"The Ministry commiserates with the bereaved families, colleagues, students and loved ones and prays God to grant them the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss and a full and speedy recovery to those recuperating in hospital."
The state government was still navigating out of an industrial logjam with public primary and secondary school teachers over unpaid salaries, arbitrary deductions and unimplemented agreements between the state government and the NUT.
After two weeks of strike by primary and secondary school teachers in the state, hope for resumption of shut schools emerged at the weekend following a meeting between the state government and state Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT).
The state NUT Chairman, Jonathan A, told journalists at the end of the meeting in Warri that the strike would be called off in a matter of days, noting that the meeting presided over by Okowa was "fruitful".