Dr.Okezie Ikpeazu, the executive Governor Of Abia State has condemned recent trend of selling off parts of school land in the state by those entrusted with the running and management of school properties and warned that anybody who erects structures on school land will forfeit such to the Government.
The Governor who was reacting to the sale of school land by some missions and community individuals during a radio programme in Aba, explained that his administration will not tolerate the existence of private and commercial activities alongside learning in schools.The Governor disclosed that the government is still paying salaries of teachers in the schools handed over to the missions and individuals.
“Those who bought school land and erected structures will forfeit such land and structures to the government. My Government won’t allow hotels and schools to operate on the land belonging to schools.Those buying school land should know that they will forfeit such lands to the government.”
Former Governor Theodore Orji ,had in 2012, handed over schools to missions identified as original owners .
However, the situation has led to protests from the Civil Liberties Organization,CLO, as well as the host communities of the schools.The CLO,in a statement signed by its chairman,Aba Unit,Prof.Charles Chinekezi urged the Governor to urgently return the schools to the government, stressing that the missions and individuals are selling off land because they lack the capacity to run the schools handed over to them.
Since the takeover of some Goverment schools by missionaries, there has been hike in school fees and a gradual fall in Government supervision and support of public schools. The trend has seen the mix-up of single sex schools becoming unisex schools with most missions admitting more students to meet up expenses of running the schools. There’s also been calls by host communities to reclaim lands they believed Government took from them in building the schools