Lagos State Parents’ Forum Protests Against School Premises EncroachmentLagos, Latest News, News, News From The State Thursday, April 21st, 2016
By Ayo Balogun
Following the forceful access last Friday into the premises of the schools, by contractor of the self-acclaimed vendor (Jotito Company), members of the Keke Senior High School, Ifako Ijaiye, Lagos State Parent Forum, Thursday marched to the State Secretariat, Alausa Ikeja, to protest against encroachment of their children’s school land.
The parents who were led by the Forum Chairman, Mr. James Ayeni, touched office of the State Deputy Governor, who is also the Commissioner for Education, Dr. Idiat Oluranti Adebule and the State House of Assembly.
Mr. Ayeni spoke with a staff in the office of DG, who identified himself as Mr. Dosunmu. He told the protesting parents that DG was not in the office and subsequently directed the forum to write a petition on the matter and send it to Dr. Adebule’s office.
While addressing journalists, the Parent Forum Chairman explained that the school was established by Lagos Edict of 1982, by the administration of the first Lagos State Executive Governor, Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakande.
He recalled that the problem on about four plots of land which are sited in the middle of three Lagos State’s schools, including: Keke Senior High School; Estate and Stadium Junior High Schools, started when the Lagos State Development Corporation (LSDPC) came in 1987, five years after the schools have been in possession of the land and claimed it awarded the land to late Monarch of Agege, Oba Lateef Adams.
The crises on the land Mr. Ayeni deepened, when in 2007 the late Oba again, sold the land to another owner – Jotito, who plans to convert it for commercial use.
The Parent Forum Chairman who led the parents from Agege to Alausa narrated: “We came to the State House of Assembly last year; we met with Hons. Yinka Ogundimu and Biodun Tobun”.
He disclosed the two lawmakers led the committee which the State’s Assembly constituted to look into the matter. He added “We made our presentation; the other party did the same, after which we were asked to make statements and later submitted them to the House of Assembly”.
“They promised to work on the statements and get back to us later. But up till date, they did not call us, until last Friday (April 15, 2016), when the company’s owner and his contractor and team of police, stormed the school premises, broke the gate and gained access to the disputed land. They brought sand, gravel and began to dig the land to lay the Foundation.
“It was while the commotion ensued I was called. On getting there, I called the policemen and asked them what their mission was? They said they were from the Pen cinema Police station. I went there immediately. When I got there, the DPO told me that, the man who claimed to buy the land did not tell him exactly what he wanted to use the security for; he only told him that he has a piece of land in Ogba area, that he wanted to work on it, but the areas boys were disturbing him and this was the reason he needed security.
Mr. Ayeni further that both the DPO and DCO joined and followed him to the scene. The duo on getting there the Chairman pointed out was annoyed and embarrassed with what they saw. Consequently, he indicated that the DPO ordered for a padlock and locked the gate to the playing ground of the schools.
“From there, the DPO directed that the matter be reported to the Area (G) Commander in Ogba. At the area’s office, the company Jotito’s representative was claimed the firm had a letter of authority for its action from a Director in the Ministry; also directing the schools to hands off land matter.
“We responded that we have not got such letter from anywhere. At that point, the area Commander directed the DPO to go and investigate the letter, Jotito claimed to have received and get back to him”.
Keke Senior High School, Mr. Ayeni restated “was founded by the former Executive Governor of the State, Alhaji Jakande”.
The Chairman said the parents were calling on the Lagos State Government to immediately wade into the matter; before it gets out of hand, so as to stop the company from carrying out further activities on the land and subsequently allow peaceful learning atmosphere for the students as well as to ensure their security.
Some of the placards the protesting carried were with inscriptions: “Jotito, Do Not Mitigate The Future Of Keke Students”; “Gov Ambode, Rescue Keke Playing Field From Land Grabbers”; “Lagos State Deputy Governor, Liberate Our Children’s Schools From Land Touts” among many others.
The parents could not see the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, or his representatives, as the plenary session was in progress when they reached the premises. However, the Parent Forum was asked to bring in petition on the matter.
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