By Abiodun Tadese, Akure.
Ondo State Muslim community has kicked against the decision of Ondo State government to return some public schools in the State back to Faith based organisation.
It would be recalled that on 3rd of March 2022, the State Government announced that the Catholic Church has signified interest to take over two secondary and two primary Schools in the state.
The Muslim community however condemned the move by the state government to return some schools back to its original owners, the Faith based Organizations, adding that such action is the fraud of the century.
Speaking at a press conference at the NUJ press centre in Akure, the Secretary League of Imams and Alfas in Ondo State, Abdulrasheed Akerele described the state government’s step as barbaric, unprogressive and posed serious danger to the development of education in Ondo State.
He stated further that the decision to return Public Properties to individuals in the name of Faith based organisations is a return to the dark era in the history of educational development in Nigeria.
The cleric added that this will result in more children being thrown out of schools, ” it so a call to deny the children of the impoverished masses access to affordable and qualitative education in an atmosphere of religious freedom devoid of bigotry.”
The cleric argued that “if the Faith based organisations are claiming the Schools originally belongs to them what do we say about the huge amount of money the government used in compensating them (even though some of the organizations are denying this historical fact) When the schools were acquired in the 70’s, are they ready to refund the money in its true value i.e. 2 dollars to one naira , or are they ready to buy the school in its present value?, if the answer is yes, Then we think the government is morally bound to publish the memorandum of understanding they signed with the alleged “Owners” before the conclusion of handing over the schools to them.
“It will be a bad precedence, an ungodly act and the fraud of the century that the property that we (Muslim, Christian and traditional believers) owned together under the government trust to be handed over to profit oriented organisation under the guise of been original owner or FBO’S after acquisition, full compensation and heavy investment on the school by the government using the Tax payers hard earned resource.”
He, however pleaded to Ondo state government for the sake of posterity, the unborn generation, the development of the state and even for the sake of the traumatized and impoverished masses ShouId not Return Schools to the FBO’S under any banner or guise.
While advising the state government on ways to improve the educational sector in the state, the cleric said government should build more schools, improve on the existing educational infrastructures, increase or improve on the educational personnel especially teaching staff as well as provide adequate teaching and instructional materials.
“This can be achieved most importantly considering the dwindling government resources by dedicating the governor’s security vote’s to educational development. We can emerging if about N5OOM from the security vote is invested in education on monthly bases!
“The government should establish Ondo State Education Trust Fund and set up a committee of eminent personalities to manage the funds that will be so accrued. Ondo state should also increase the budgetary allocation for education with these measures there will be more than enough funds to manage, improve and take the educational sector in Onto state to an enviable height.
He however noted that if the Governor will go ahead to return schools to the so called “Original Owner”, the Muslim community will have no option but to seek redress using every legal and constitutional means available to them as a cardinal member of Ondo State Community with vested interest in the educational development of the state.