— Says it is barbaric, unprogressive, posed serious danger

Dayo Johnson Akure

Muslim community under the auspices of the Association of League of Imams and Alfas in Ondo State, have threatened to drag the state governor, Rotimi Akeredolu to court if he fails to rescind the decision to return schools to Faith-Based Organizations (FBOs).

Recall, that Akeredolu recently returned two Secondary and two primary schools to their original owners in the state.

The schools include St Thomas Aquinas College, St. Louis Girls Grammar School, Akure and two primary schools.

Addressing newsmen in Akure, the Chairman, the League of Imam and Alfas, Sheikh Ahmad Aladesawe described the state government’s step as barbaric, unprogressive and posing serious danger to the development of education in the state.

Aladesawe who was represented by the secretary of the league and Chief Imam of Supare Akoko, Alhaji Abdulrasheed Akerele, alleged that the steps were aimed at giving out public property to empower some individuals in the FBOs.

The cleric alleged that such action would also deny Muslim children from going to such schools.

He, however, threatened that the Muslims Community would seek legal action if the state government failed to rescind the decision.

“We want to say that the return of schools to FBO’S is archaic, barbaric, backward and nonprogressive. It is a call to return to the colonial era and above all, the call is contradictory to the electoral promises of the present administration.

“It is a call to hand over public properties to individuals ‘in the name of Faith-Based Organisations. It is a call to return to the dark era in the history of educational development in our nation, the call is fraudulent and is against progressive educational policy.

“It will result in more children being thrown out of schools, it is 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 idea of the “Original Owner” of the school is fraudulent as it is a call to hand over government property to cooperate bodies in the name of FBO’s.

“We want to say clearly that the idea of the “Original Owner” is nothing but cheap propaganda in other to arouse unwarranted sympathy from the innocent masses who are ignorant of the consequences of this heartless request.

” It will be 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 the been original owner or FBO’S after the acquisition, full compensation and heavy investment on the school by the government using the Taxpayers hard-earned resources.

“When schools are returned to the so-called “Original owners” or FBO’S, will the government handoff primary and post-primary education? if not, will they quickly build new schools to cater for the children of the masses who will definitely not be able to afford the consequences of that action? if the answer is no, then the implication is more children will be thrown out of the school by this move.

“This will be antithetical to the vision of providing qualitative education to the majority of the Ondo State children. Nigeria is currently battling with serious security issues and one of the factors traceable to this situation is ignorance and illiteracy orchestrated by over 40Million school children.

“It should interest those advocating for the return of schools to private organisations in Ondo state that our dear sunshine state accounts for over 44000 of such out of school children. Handing over of schools to its “alleged owners” will do nothing but increase this number which will portend very serious security challenges to our peaceful state.”

“Without fear of contradiction, the call for the return schools to FBO’S or their “Original Owners” is nothing but a call to return Schools to the Christian Missionaries or Church. This was established at the summit based on the array of supporters of the agenda which are majorly Christian Leaders.

“We say without the fear of contradiction that this call is dubious, callous and fraudulent.

“It is a calculated attempt to further deny the Muslim child free access to qualitative education in an atmosphere of religious freedom.

“All our fathers who are now elder statesmen who had the opportunity to attend the formal schools, especially in the south in the early fifties and Sixties would bear us witness that it is a call to re-awaking the systematic Christianization of the Muslim children.

“Anybody who knows the history of education in Nigeria and the adventure of the Muslim child in his quest to formal education which was then in the custody of the Christian Evangelists would agree with us that this period can best be described as a dark period in the history of education and development in our dear Nation.

“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.

“This is because of its daring Consequences as more children will be thrown out of schools because their parents would definitely not be able to afford the fees that will be imposed by such organizations.

“As at now more than 80% of the students on enrollment are on the ‘eBlSter of the public schools, their parents are at the mercy of the government to provide qualitative and affordable education for their children, what will be the plight of such Parents and their children considering the fact that more than 70% of Nigerians are living below the poverty line.

“Returning of schools to FBO’S will be the fraud of the century because this is simply handing over public properties to private business-oriented individuals in the name of FBO’S.

“It is a call to the return of the nation to the dark period in the history of educational development when educational institutions were used as tools in the hands of the religious bigot’s for forceful conversion and intimidation of the masses.

“It will work against the federal government policy on education as well educational policies of prominent international bodies with stakes in the educational development of the nations at large and Ondo State in particular.

“Rather the government should build more schools, improve on the existing educational infrastructures, increase or improve the educational personnel especially teaching staff as well as provide adequate teaching and instructional materials.

“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.

“We want to say that if the Governor will go-ahead to return schools to the so-called “Original Owner” after the acquisition, full compensation and huge investment using our hard-earned resources (Tax) then we will have no option but to seek redress using every legal and Constitutional means available to us as a cardinal member of Ondo State Community with vested interested in the educational development of our dear sunshine state.

He added that ” We are equally calling on all well-meaning Ondo state indigenes, as well as all bodies, Union and Organisations passionate about the posterity of our children and their education to join us in the campaign against this dangerous tide.”

Vanguard News Nigeria

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