Bishop Crowther Memorial Primary School , Onitsha: Evidence of Ownership


TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN

We wish to submit the following documents from the National Archives in defence of the Anglican ownership of Bishop Crowther Memorial Primary School, Onitsha. Other documents will be released in due course.

Bishop Crowther Memorial Primary School, Onitsha was established by the Church Missionary Society (C.M.S) in 1956. The original signboard of the school bears witness to this fact. (Picture Attached)

Before then, by 1926, the CMS already has possession of a mission property in the Government (European) Reservation (GRA) in Onitsha Waterside. Bishop Crowther Primary School was built on this land in 1956. This School was then referred to as Primary School Nkisi Road (Government Reservation). (Document attached)

Evidence

1.       On the  11th day of May 1957, evidence shows that the CMS requested that the following Schools they built be transferred to the Local Authority (L.A), namely:

a.       Nkisi Road

b.       Inland Town

c.       Nupe Square Fegge

d.       Lafiagi Square Fegge

e.       Agaie Square Fegge

f.       Otu Obosi Square Fegge

The Provincial Education Officer signed the letter on the 11th day of May 1957 while the CMS Officer endorsed the same letter on the 13th Day of May 1957. (Document attached)

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2.       On 25th Day of July 1957, the Provincial Education Officer referred to the letter signed by the CMS for these Schools mentioned above to be made Local Authority Schools.  (Document Attached)

3.       On 20th August 1957, Niger Diocese (CMS) complained of the one sidedness of the agreement on the issue of the CMS Schools transferred to the Local Authority. (Document Attached)

4.       On 19th Day of November 1957, the Provincial Education Officer wrote on the need to add more buildings on the above named schools.  The CMS noted the letter for action.  (Document Attached)

5.       On the 26th Day of November1957, the Provincial Education Officer reminded the CMS that an agreement has not been completed on some of the CMS Schools transferred to Local Authority on 31st Day of December. The Local Authority pays the Teachers while the CMS manages the Schools. (Document Attached)

6.       In 1970, under the Public Education law, the Local Authority (L.A.) Schools managed by the CMS were transferred to the State.

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7.       In 2011 the Anambra State Government made a Law to return Schools previously owned by the Church. According to the Government, “The Purpose of the Law is to amend the Principal Law to include Primary Schools as well as to make it clear that schools being returned to the voluntary agencies are the schools previously owned by the said voluntary agencies but which were transferred to the State under the Public Education Law of 1970. The Law also provides for grant of subvention to the voluntary agencies to assist them to run the schools returned to them so as to maintain a high standard of education in the State”.

8.       By the Authority of the Anambra State “Public Education (Transfer of Schools) (Special Provision) (Amendment) Law 2011.” Out of the six CMS (L.A) Schools stated above, only three have been returned to us, namely:

a.       Inland Town (Now Obi Okosi Primary School, Onitsha) No. 163

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b.       Otu Obosi Square Fegge (Now Niger City Primary School, Fegge, Onitsha) No. 174

c.       Nupe Square (Now Nupe Primary School, Fegge, Onitsha) no. 175

9.       However, out of the six CMS schools stated above, three are still being held by the Government contrary to Government return of Schools to the Church, namely:

a.       Niksi Road (Government Reservation) Now Crowther Memorial Primary School, Onitsha)

b.       Lafiagi Square Fegge (Now Lafiagi Primary School, Fegge, Onitsha)

c.       Agaie Square Fegge (Now Agaie Primary School, Fegee, Onitsha).

10.     On 21st February 2012, the Anambra State Government inaugurated the Hon. Justice G. U. Ononiba Committee to handle the agitations arising from the Return of Schools Previously owned by the Church. The Committee submitted its report to the State Government on the 28th Day of December 2012.

11.     In their report on Bishop Crowther Memorial Primary School, the Committee stated as follows, “Evidence of the inquiry showed that Bishop Crowther Memorial Primary School is an Anglican School built in 1956. It should be given to Anglican Church.” (Page 43)

From the above submissions, the Anambra State Government is violating the Law on the Return of Schools Previously owned by voluntary agencies made by them in 2011. And they are also fueling crises by not implementing the submissions of the Hon. Justice G. U. Ononiba Committee on the matter.

Sir Nnamdi Ibegbu SAN

Chancellor, Diocese on the Niger