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Don’t return schools to missionaries, Muslims urge Akeredolu

The Muslim community in Ondo State, under the auspices of the Association of League of Imams and Alfas, has called on the State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, to reverse his decision to hand over primary and secondary schools to faith-based organisations.

This is sequel to the recent state government’s decision to return the schools to some religious organisations in the state.

Akeredolu, while receiving the newly-inaugurated executives of the state chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria, led by Rev Fr Anselm Ologunwa, named St Thomas Aquinas College, St Louis Girls Grammar School, among the schools his administration had returned to their original owners.

Speaking with journalists in Akure, on Wednesday, on the development, the Chairman League of Imams and Alfas for Ondo State Muslim Community, Sheikh Ahmad Aladsawe, said handing over the schools to the faith-based organisations would not do any good to the state’s educational sector.

Aladsawe stated that the governor’s action would amount to returning 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 bigots for forceful conversion and intimidation of the masses.

He stated, “Ondo State Government, for the sake of posterity, the unborn generation, the development of the state and even for the sake of the traumatised and impoverished masses, should not return schools to the faith-based organisations under any banner or guise.

“This is because of its daring consequences as more children will be thrown out of schools because their parents will not be able to afford the fees to be charged by such organisations.

“As at now more than 80 per cent of the students on enrolment are on the register of 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 per cent of Nigerians live below the poverty line?”

The chairman urged the state government to rather build more schools, improve on existing educational infrastructures, improve on the educational personnel, especially the teaching staff, as well as provide adequate teaching and instructional materials, rather than transferring the schools to any group.

The group, however, threatened to take legal action against the government if it failed to yield to the demands of the Muslim community.

“If the governor goes ahead to return schools to their so-called original owners after acquisition, full compensation and huge investment, using our hard-earned resources (tax), then we will have no option than to seek redress, using every legal and constitutional means available to us as a cardinal member of the Ondo State Community with a vested interest in the educational development of our dear sunshine state,” Aladesawe declared.

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