Ovwor Mixed Secondary School, Ovwor
The protesters in front of the School premises

By Festus Ahon – Asaba

Indigenes of Ovwor community, Ughelli South Local Government Area, Delta State, Monday, embarked on a protest against alleged illegal collection of levies by Principal of the Ovwor Mixed Secondary School, Ovwor, Mr Fedelis Okoro.

However, the Principal of the school, Mr Fedelis Okoro who was not in the school during the protest, spoke to Vanguard correspondent on phone, saying; “all the allegations are not true. I am very busy right now, will call you when I am less busy to explain myself.”

The protesters, mostly women who stormed the school’s premises, displaying leaves and chanting songs of grievances, alleged that the school Principal was collecting high admission fee, high MMF fee and refusing to give examination results to students. 

Speaking during the protest, women General Secretary of the Community, Mrs Anna Umukoro said; “the school is asking each new student to pay as much as N10,500 for admission, which is outside other things like machetes, brooms, disinfectants, books, soap and others that the children still have to buy before they can be admitted. 

“From our findings, the money they are collecting in the school is far more than what other government schools collect for the same admission. 

“We want the Principal to explain to us why he is collecting all these levies. Why Ovwor Secondary school admission fee is different from other government schools.

“We are farmers and struggle to pay what we used to pay but since this Principal resumed, things have gone from bad to worse and we can no longer bear it, that is why we are here.”

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Chairman of Parent Staff Association, PSA, of the School, Mr Promise Atimati, alleged: “two years ago we agreed with the school management that parent staff fund should be raised to meet certain needs in the school, such as dilapidated structures and payments for security. 

“And we agreed we should employ two security men from the school, the community should pay N15,000 while the school pay N15,000 from the PSA account, but until recently, the principal refused to pay the money, it is the community that is doing the payment. 

“He refused to open an account as agreed for the PSA fund. He is the only one just collecting and using the money without giving account to anybody and we are not seeing what he is spending the money on.

“So, we are in total support of what the women are doing.”

On his part,  President General of Ovwor Community, Mr Vincent Oshokor, said; “before now we have received complaints by the parents that the Principal was collecting some levies not approved by the government. 

“When we heard of it, we called the Principal, we invited him for a meeting which he attended and pleaded that we should give him time to address the issue.

“But to our surprise after the meeting, things went from bad to worse, so we called him severally again for a meeting, but he ignored us.

“So when the women came to me after they had first sought permission from the ‘Otota’ (spokesman) of the community that they needed permission to embark on this peaceful protest, I obliged them because there was nothing more I could do since the Principal have refused all avenues of peaceful discussion.”

Some of the students who spoke to journalists on condition of anonymity said they were being made to pay levies which their mates in other schools don’t pay.

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