Muslim community in Ondo State has described the decision of Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu to return some public schools to Faith Based Organisations (FBOs) as barbaric, unprogressive and an initiative that posed danger to the development of education.
It threatened to seek legal action if the government refused to rescind its decision.
The Ondo Muslims said it would result in more children being thrown out of schools and deny children of the masses access to affordable and qualitative education in an atmosphere of religious freedom, devoid of bigotry.
Akeredolu had in March returned two Secondary and two primary schools to their original owners in the state. The schools include St Thomas Aquinas College, St. Louis Girls Grammar School, Akure and two primary schools.
Speaking at a news conference in Akure, the Chairman, League of Imam and Alfas, Sheikh Ahmad Aladesawe, said such action would prevent Muslim children from going to such schools.
Represented by the Secretary of the League and Chief Imam of Supare Akoko, Alhaji Abdul Rasheed Akerele, Sheikh Aladesawe accused the government of giving public property to empower certain individuals.
He said Governor Akeredolu wanted to return the state to the colonial era as well as acting contradictory to his electoral promises.
Aladesawe said: “It is a call to hand over public properties to individuals in the name of Faith Based Organisations. It is a call to return to the dark era in the history of educational development in our nation. The call is fraudulent; it is against progressive educational policy.
“The idea of the ‘original owner’ of the school is fraudulent, as it is a call to hand over government property to corporate bodies in the name of FBO’s.
“Are they (FBOs) ready to refund the money in its true value i.e. 2 dollars to one naira, or are they ready to buy the school in its present value? If the answer is yes, then we think the government is morally bound to publish the memorandum of understanding they signed with the purported ‘owners’ before the conclusion of handing over the schools to them.
“We want to say clearly that the idea of the ‘original owner’ is nothing but a cheap propaganda in order to arouse unwarranted sympathy from the innocent masses, who are ignorant of the consequences of this heartless request.
“Without fear of contradiction, the call for the return of schools to FBO’S or their ‘original owners’ is nothing but a call to return schools to the Christian missionaries or church. It is a calculated attempt to further deny the Muslim child free access to qualitative education in an atmosphere of religious freedom.”
– The Nation Newspaper
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