Group Moves To End 10-year Closure Of 23 Schools Over Land Crisis In Oyo

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As part of its efforts aimed at ensuring the reopening of 23 “crisis schools” in the Oyo zone of Oyo State, the Oyo Global Forum (OGF) has met with the state government delegation led by the Commissioner for Education, Science, and Technology, Professor Abdulwaheed Adelabu.

Recall that the 23 schools were closed about 10 years ago due to a land crisis between Afijio, Oyo East, and Oyo West Local Government Areas.

The schools include Community Basic School Obananko, Oyo; Community Basic School Laagbe, Oyo; Pinnock Memorial Bapt School Aba Epo Oluwatedo, Oyo; Bapt Basic School Oluwatedo, Oyo; St. Luke Anglican Bada Idiyalode, Oyo; L.A. Basic School Ago Oyo; Community Basic School Igbo Olose, Oyo in Oyo West LG.

Community Basic School Adebimpe, Oyo; Community Basic School Obasere, Oyo; St. Thomas Anglican School Alabi Olorunda, Oyo; St. Michael RCM Apaara Village, Oyo; Methodist Primary School Ajagba, Oyo; Bapt Central School Oniyanrin, Oyo; Bapt Primary School Aguo, Oyo; ADS Primary School Baba Elesin, Oyo in Oyo East LG.

Others are L.A. School Lannite, Oyo; L.A. Primary School Gudugbu Orile, Oyo; L.A. Primary School Gudugbu, Oyo; ADS Primary School Aba Olori, Oyo; ADS Primary Abujakan, Oyo; L.A. Basic School Alagbon, Oyo and L.A. Basic School Imeleke, Oyo also in Oyo East LG.

But at the meeting which was held at the Government Secretariat, Ibadan on Monday, the commissioner disclosed that the government was not averse to the reopening of the school but was concerned over the safety of schoolchildren and teachers.

According to a statement signed by OGF PRO, Mojeed Agboola, and made available to Nigerian Tribune on Wednesday, the commissioner called on the OGF, a non-partisan group of professionals from the four LGAs that constitute the Oyo Federal Constituency, to seek the commitment of all warring parties towards the safety of pupils and teachers of the said schools.

He also disclosed that the group, before the meeting, had gotten the commitment of Ajagba, one of the communities, to put a temporary learning facility in place and had enumerated about 200 pupils from the community and nearby villages.

“We emphasised that we are not interested in the original land crisis but rather that innocent children should not be denied their right to education. We demanded that the affected schools be considered ‘crisis schools’ with the state government deploying personnel independent of the local parties in the land dispute.

The closure of the schools might have resulted in a loss of the future and created social misfits who could become threats and liabilities to society.
“The commissioner commended OGF’s efforts and expressed the government’s willingness to reopen the schools.

However, he mentioned that there were people with hardline positions threatening the safety of teachers and pupils. The government could only reopen the schools if OGF could extract the written commitment of all parties to guarantee the safety of teachers and pupils in the schools.

The commissioner invited OGF to partner with the government in finding a solution.

“After the meeting, OGF is exploring the next steps to be taken to ensure that the lack of education for children in these long-disadvantaged communities ceases. Primarily, we will work on the request of the commissioner to bring all sides to differentiate the problem of the closed schools and the effect on innocent children from the original land dispute to ultimately guarantee the safety of teachers and pupils.

“It should be noted that OGF has already gained the cooperation of one of the communities – Ajagba – to put a temporary learning facility in place pending the occurrence of a permanent solution by the government, which we will continue to put pressure on to deliver its responsibility.

“OGF has also enumerated 120 pupils from the community and a few other villages nearby. We will pause this effort to first push forward with this effort to get the parties in the original dispute to converge toward peace, unity, and progress in the interest of the innocent children as requested by the government,” the statement read.

The meeting was attended by the Permanent Secretary, Directors, and other officials of the Ministry while the OGF delegation included the General Secretary, Mr. Remi Adebayo; PRO, Mr. Mojeed Agboola; former VP and acting Chairman, Dr. Ayo Sanda; Interventions Lead, Reverend Dr. Oladele Kolade; and BoT Secretary, Pastor Tunde Suulola.

Tribune online

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