Owners of 20 Private schools taken over by government, demands its return

 ODOGWU EMEKA ODOGWU, reports that aggrieved private school owners under the aegis of Indigenous African School Proprietors of Private Schools in Anambra state have appealed to Governor Willie Obiano to call them for a round table discussion on how to pay them their 50 years compensation accruals and return back their schools forcefully taken over from them in 1974 by Late Chief Ukpabia Asika.

The call became necessary because the schools taken over from the Missions at the same time have been returned to the missions but those taken over from the private owners have not been returned.
Addressing a press conference in Awka, Chairman of the African Proprietors of Private Schools Chief Ikenga Metu flanked by the Patron of the Association, Professor B.A Oli , Barr Beleonwu , Secretary , and Reverend Canon Henry Nduka ,PRO, as well as Onwuzu Frank , Rev Obinna Awgu, and Mojekwu Law,  the group said the school owners deserve a fair treatment and demand an immediate moves by the state government to attend to its grievances.

The group is saying that since the state government under Governor Peter Obi pronounced return of schools in the state to the original owners, the state government has returned those schools owned by the mission and assured it would do so for the private owners but was yet to do that hence it is appealing that the government under Governor Willie Obiano keeps the promise of government since government is a continuum.

They lamented that since 1970 the schools were taken over , that government has not added any infrastructure as the entire structures have dilapidated.
  


Photo: Chairman of the African Proprietors of Private Schools Chief Ikenga Metu middle flanked by the Patron of the Association, Professor B.A Oli , Barr Beleonwu , Secretary ,Onwuzu Frank and Reverend Canon Henry Nduka ,PRO, and Mojekwu Lawas well as, left Rev Obinna Awgu among others

The twenty schools state government took over all its property and land from the original private owners in 1970 with decree 3 and left to collapse are
Okija Grammar School (OGS), established 1961 by Chief B.C Nduka;
Merchant of Light, Oba established by Chief E. L Oli in 1945; Basden Memorial Grammar School, Isulo,  established  1964  by Chief M. C. Awgu; New Bethel Schools, Onitsha established  1944/1950  by  H.R.H Igwe M.C Awgu; Okongwu Memorial Grammar School , Nnewi established by Prof. Barr. C. C.Mojekwu; Metu Memorial Secondary School, Onitsha established by Sir A. E.  Metu 1946; Eastern Academy Onitsha established by H.R.H. Igwe M.A. Onwuzu; Abbot Boys and Girls Secondary Schools, Ihiala established by Chief G. E  Okeke; St. Jude’s Secondary School , Ihiala; St Anthony’s  Azia; Our Lady’s High School, Onitsha establish by Sir R E. Chukwura in 1943;
African Primary School, Onitsha established also by  Sir  P.E. Chukwura 1939; and New African Primary School, Abatete established  by  Sir  P. E Chukwura 1939
Others are Zixton Secondary School Ozubulu established by Chief Vincent Ikeotuonye; Awka Etiti Grammar (Girls) School, established  by  Igwe Silas Ezenwa; Notre Dame College Abatete established by Chief N Mbakwe and Chief T. G Morah ; Fatima High School , Agu Obuowa ,Eziagu local government area of Enug state; Holy cross Secondary School , Umuawulu by Chief P.O Balonwu
The heirs of the African Proprietors of Schools (NAPS) taken over by the state government are therefore asking that they be compensated and let government return their schools to them for a joint management as done with the mission schools since it amounts to injustice to deny them the measure mission schools were given under same circumstances.

The appeal read in part: ‘’Please be informed that the letter of His Excellency Chief Ukpabia Asika that conveyed approval for Interim Award, also directed the Compensation Tribunal that was setup to arbitrate on the matter to continue to process the claims filled by the Proprietors with a view to paying full and adequate compensation to the proprietors for their heirs), but it was not implemented before their Government was toppled.

‘’Whether it is justified for government to approve establishment of new schools in contravention of existing Education Policy is a question, the state government should be in better place to answer. Otherwise, she should explain the ambiguous nature of the Education Edict. The situation has become very obvious after the state government decided to return mission schools taken-over alongside private schools while other states like Lagos and Abia States returned to both the Mission and The Private Proprietors.

They concluded by requesting that: ‘’We heirs of the African Proprietors of Schools do not see any difficulty in handing back ownership and management of the schools. Government cannot be prevented from doing justice to this matter simply because of fear of cost involvement. A fair and just formula can be negotiated to deal with the fears of the ability of the heirs of proprietors to perform. We in fact are amenable to solutions favourable to the government and  the  proprietors of schools. 
In his reaction, Rev Obinna Awgu of New Bethel schools Onitsha and Basden memorial schools Isulo, said 400 plots his father bought for his schools were forcefully taken from them as they have no land to call their own now even as he demanded that the school be returned to them to jointly manage.

On his part , Rev Canon Henry Nduka , owners of Okija Grammar School, Okija  said 180 plots of land his father bought for the school was seized and 600 Mango trees he planted almost cut down eve as 17 buildings he built there have been abandoned to dilapidate.


They concluded that though the group are not violent oriented but they would seek redress in court should all peaceful means of resolving the issues fail.


 Photo: Chairman of the African Proprietors of Private Schools Chief Ikenga Metu middle flanked by the Patron of the Association, Professor B.A Oli , Barr Beleonwu , Secretary ,Onwuzu Frank and Reverend Canon Henry Nduka ,PRO, and Mojekwu Lawas well as, left Rev Obinna Awgu among others
Owners of 20 Private schools taken over by government, demands its return Owners of 20 Private schools taken over by government, demands its return Reviewed by Odogwu Emeka Odogwu on Thursday, April 19, 2018 Rating: 5

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