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Monday, May 20, 2024

Please, Take Over Ugborimili Primary School for Peace to Reign — Fegge Residents Urge Anambra Govt

 

By Izunna Okafor, Awka

As part of measures to end an already lingering crisis, residents of Housing Estate Fegge, Onitsha have appealed to Anambra State Government to take over ownership and control of the Ugborimili Primary School in the area.

The residents made the appeal during a protest in Fegge, where they expressed their grievances about how things are going in the school, especially as it concerns its stringent Management that have denied the residents access to the school premises.

The protesters, who marched round the various streets in the community, were seen bearing placards with various inscriptions that help capture and drive home their grievances, the message, and their appeal some of the inscriptions read: “Ugborimili Primary School is a Public School, not a mission school”, “Prof. Charles C. Soludo, Please, Don’t Allow This Error to Continue in this Your Tenure”, “Ugborimili Primary School Field Remains the Only Field for Sports and Exercise for Housing Communities and It’s Environs”, among others.

Addressing newsmen shortly after the protest, some stakeholders who have lived in the Estate community for over thirty years, Chief Stanley Ibom, Mr. Nnaemeka Chine, and Hon. Dennis Samuel went memory lane on the history of Ugborimili Primary School, noting that the school was established during the government of Jim Nwobodo between 1975 and 1979, as the development of Bridge Head Housing Estate was going.

According to them, the school premises was being used by different churches and the community as place of their religious and social activities, until recently when a certain Roman Catholic Church laid claim to the school and locked up the premises, denying the residents access into it.

On their own parts, other residents, including Sir Sam. C. Okafor, Chief Timothy Ikezuagu and Dr. Chioma Onwuasoigwe, expressed sadness that during the handover of schools owned by mission during the Peter Obi Administration, the Committee that handled it apparently did not consider the idea of inviting the general public to assist it with more information that would have assisted them to properly separate or distinguish between which schools truly belonged to the public and churches, many of whom then laid claims on many public schools then without evidences.

They also regretted that the Committee resorted to the Eastern Nigeria Directory of Schools published in 1964, seen it as the cheapest route out of the inability of missions to back up their claims with relevant documents.

The residents also stated that the two immediate-past administrations in the state deployed executive orders to satisfy the aspirations of the missions, without anyone standing for the interest of the general public, with reference to public schools.

They further said that various court injunctions have been issued to the said church to stop work within the premises, which the church jettisoned and even continues to set up more structures on the school’s land.

Contributing, a coach in the Estate, Mr. Charles Osondu recalled that the Ugborimili Primary School field, which is the only field in the area, used was the field where the residents were using for their trainings and sporting activities for over thirty years, before it was recently locked up by Management of Catholic Church laying claim to its ownership. This, he said, has, among other implications, deprived the community access to the field premises. He also lamented that the Church has made the hitherto community school very exorbitant that the children of the less privileged in the area can no longer afford to school there.

Also speaking, another sport enthusiast, Rapuluchukwu Chukwuneke said at the moment, under 13 and 15 Football Team are supposed to be training at the Ugborimili Primary School Field ahead of an upcoming competition, but cannot, because the Catholic Church locked up the school premises.

The residents therefore joined voice to call on the Anambra State Government to retrieve and take over the school, so as to make it accessible to the public and also make the field open for public use as it used to be before, to avoid the matter escalating or brewing up more crises.

Addressing the protesters, Archbishop Mike Chukwudum in charge of Rock Fire Global Mission, who is also a resident of Housing Estate Fegge Onitsha and Spiritual Father of the community gave further overview and shed more light on the history of school, having lived there since 1972, said he had personally wrote to the government with his office as an advocate of peace, for the school to be retained as public school, because it is serving the public and stood as the only sporting and recreation center in the area, all to no avail.

He, however, enjoined the residents to remain calm and prayerful, as they will use every necessary avenue to reclaim the school and ensure it is made accessible to the public.

 

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