By Dayo Johnson Akure
PLAN by the Ondo State government to transfer the Ansar-Ud-Deen, AUD, Mega Primary School in Oke-Agbe, Akoko in the state to the Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba, AAUA, is generating controversies.
A human rights organization, the Muslim Rights Concern, MURIC, has kicked against government’s plan and called for caution and a rethink.
It alleged that ”Properties belonging to the Ansar-Ud-Deen, AUD, Primary School were forcefully packed out of the school by armed security personnel” in readiness for a take-over by the university.
Director of the Human Rights Organization, Prof. Ishaq Akintola in a statement described the action of the state government as arbitrary, intolerant and provocative.
Akintola described plans by government to “evict and take over the land of Ansar-Ud-Deen school as a plot to eliminate Islam and Islamic education in Ondo State.
The Muslim body therefore asked the state government to rescind the decision of scrapping the Muslim school.
Vanguard gathered that a letter dated December 16, 2019, titled: ‘Request For Transfer of Oke-Agbe Mega Primary School to Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba, Akoko” was forwarded to the headmaster of the school by government through the State Universal Basic Education Board SUBEB.
“The letter with reference number SUBEB/PRS/766 said: “Following the directives given by the Governor, he said that the school, A.U.D. Mega Primary School, Oke-Agbe, should be handed over to Adekunle Ajasin University.”
The pupils of AUD Mega Primary School, Oke-Agbe will be relocated to St. Georges Primary School, Oke-Agbe, pending the time a permanent place is given to the school by the community.
“The board will thereafter construct new classroom building for the school. The Acting Education Secretary should liaise with the three communities (Oyin, Oke-Agbe and Afin) to get a suitable land to site the school (AUD Mega Primary School, Oke-Agbe).
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It’s plot against Islam in Ondo —MURIC
However, in a swift response, MURIC kicked against it saying: “There are five primary schools within the town: St Georges, Catholic, Local Authority (L. A.), Christ Apostolic Church (C. A. C) Orimolade and Ansarud-Deen (A.U.D). Why didn’t the state government pick any of those four?““Why must it be the only Islamic school in the vicinity that government will take over? After all that land belongs to the Ansar-Ud-Deen. It is unfair to just seize it like that.““It is a grand plan to uproot AUD Primary School, Oke-Agbo Akoko. This is a school founded since 1975. It is also an attempt to intimidate the Ondo State branch of the Ansar-Ud-Deen Society and an undisguised attempt to embarrass the organization at the national level.
“This is unacceptable. Akeredolu’s action runs counter to civilized norms and the principles of dialogue and religious tolerance. By the way, was the Ansar-Ud-Deen consulted? Governor Rotimi Akeredolu cannot pretend that he does not know about the Ansar-Ud-Deen and its educational activities in Yorubaland in particular and Nigeria as a whole.”““We reject the eviction of Ansar-Ud-Deen School from its original location. The government of Ondo State should look for another location for the faculty.
Our move altruistic – Ondo govt
However, while reacting to the Muslim Right Concern allegation against the state government, the Information and Orientation Commissioner, Donald Ojogo, in a statement denied that the governor was “plotting to obliterate Islamic education and by extension, Muslims in the state.”
Ojogo said: “In strong terms, Government considers unacceptable, the accusation by the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) that the State Governor, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu was plotting to obliterate Islamic education and by extension, Muslims in the State.
“The body had alluded to the relocation of the AUD Mega Primary School Oke Agbe Akoko as a basis for the claim. This is far from the truth. Such claim is at variance with the known stance of the Government in promoting religious harmony in Ondo State.
“For record purposes, the decision to relocate AUD Mega Primary to pave way for a planned Campus of the Adekunle Ajasin University was taken in good faith. Succinctly, it could not have been other than the need to expand development through educational infrastructure, if at all.
“The Mega School which was originally built to accommodate over 500 pupils but has less than 170 pupils prior to the relocation move, was undoubtedly, handy for the planned expansion of the AAUA. It is pertinent to note here that other Mega Schools across the State had in the past, provided infrastructural take-off points for tertiary institutions.
“These include St. Peter’s C&S Mega Primary School,Uso (as a campus of the Rufus Giwa Polytechnic, Owo); St James’ Ang. Mega Primary School, Ile-Oluji (for the Federal Polytechnic, IleOluji); St. Dominic’s RCM Mega Primary School, Ayeka, Okitipupa (for the Ondo State University of Science and Technology and L. A. Mega Primary School,Oke-Igbala,Ondo (for UNIMED).
“It is imperative to equally state that in the above instances, alternative places were provided while proper arrangements were made to initiate steps for permanent schools for the pupils without affecting the moral and educational standards of the affected pupils.
“The case of AUD Mega School is not different. Indeed, an alternative arrangement has not just been made for the pupils, the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) has asked the Community to identify a piece of land for the construction of a new permanent site. The process for the construction of the new permanent site will commence immediately after the interface with the Community.
Ojogo added: “Nonetheless, while efforts are being made by Government to deepen consultations with relevant stakeholders, it is hoped that steps inimical to religious harmony, peaceful coexistence and good neighbourliness would be avoided by all and sundry.”