A group, the Network of African Christian Journalists (NACJOURN) has praised the governor of Ondo State, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu for returning all privately owned schools in government custody to their owners.
The schools which were mostly owned by Churches were put in government custody after the Nigeria‐Biafra civil war in 1970.
The government took custody of the schools then because it felt their policies were foreign and irrelevant to Nigeria’s needs. It also alleged that the schools promoted religious bigotry.
But over time, many of the schools have depreciated in standard in the face of dwindling government revenue. Some states like Lagos State had taken the bold step to return the schools to their owners.
NACJOURN in a press statement signed by its President, Mr. Bola Adewara, and its Secretary Dayo Emmanuel however said the takeover of schools in the 1970s was a most unfortunate development.
The organisation said since the takeover, the discipline and culture of excellence associated with those schools have gone.
It noted that “Many of these schools are now producing hooligans who beat up their teachers and pass examinations through dirty means. This is mainly because there is no adequate supervision from their owners, the Governments. All state governments are overburdened already. Some states cannot pay teachers’ salaries nor equip their schools with modern facilities.
‘In many schools across the country, Alumni Associations, Parents Teachers Associations, and host communities now contribute to pay teachers’ salaries as well as upgrade infrastructure”
While noting that the supporting institutions for these schools are getting tired, the association says “the Ondo government has taken the right steps by handing over the schools to their original owners.”
The move according to the association will enable the government to concentrate more on other areas of development in the state.
NACJOURN then cautioned Nigerians against kicking against the decision of the Ondo State government.
Addressing critics of the decision, the association says. ‘We remind them that the schools taken over in the 1970s and now to be returned are not only Christian mission schools. Islamic schools, also taken over, would be returned. We, therefore, ask all and sundry to embrace this development in Ondo state and encourage all states governments to emulate the State so that we can revive secondary education, which is the basis and foundation of the development of any country.’