July 23, 2024


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We want school, not market, Otumara residents appeal to antagonists

5 min read

Mojisola Lawal
Community head of Otumara 11, Ojo-oniyun and Apapa road, High Chief Kehinde Kalejaiye has said bequeathing quality education to the children in Ebute Meta west of Lagos Mainland of Lagos state is non-negotiable, adding that it is the bedrock for a secured future for our children who are the leaders of tomorrow.

High chief Kalejaiye made this statement following the disappointing resistance put up by some residents who trade and live on the land that belong to schools in the community thereby delaying the commencement of construction work by the Lagos state government of the proposed Senior Secondary school residents in the community have been clamouring for.

It would be recalled that Kalejaiye has been at the forefront of the campaign and agitation for the construction of a Senior Secondary school in Otumara community which only one Junior Secondary school.

Consequent to the campaigns by the community head and residents to Governor of Lagos state, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu graciously approved the construction of blocks of Senior Secondary School to be built within the premises of Ilogbo High school in Otumara.

However, this humane gesture was deliberately antagonised by some residents who have encroached on the land and turning it into a market and an inter-state motor park where they load and collect tolls.

Meanwhile Kalejaiye has condemned this act describing it as ill-motivated, anti-growth and selfish.

According to him, the land assigned for the construction of Senior Secondary School belongs to the Lagos State Government and the School.

He added that it was exclusively reserved to accommodate learning structures and not for trading or residential as it is being used for by some people.

He said, “We know how we have suffered for so my years before the Lagos state government approved of the construction of Senior Secondary School in Otumara community. We know the amount of stress our children went journeying from Ebute-meta to Surulere to complete their secondary education especially with the ban on motorcycle and tricycle operations.

And when Gov. Sanwo-Olu has graciously approved of our request, why should anyone or group of people antagonise such gesture? I think there is more to this than meet the eyes. The future and security of our children is paramount to us.

No amount of intimidation or resistance can make us trade the future of our children and the children yet unborn for anything. Education is life.

It is the future therefore I want to appeal to everyone to join hands with the leadership and elders of the community towards the actualisation of this historic project for the future and security of our children.

Those that are residing and trading on that land should know that they are encroaching on the government and schools’ property. The land was reserved for a day like this therefore those that are collecting tolls, trading and living on it should vacate it for the government to beginning construction for the senior secondary school which we have been yearning for in the community for our children. I am therefore calling on the Lagos state government to intervene and ensure that those that are behind this anti-progress acts are called to questioning and the project begins.”

Narrating how the story behind the school premises which is today being used as a trading and residential spot, an elder and politician, Mr Fagba Abiodun disclosed that the premises that presently accommodates Ilogbo Junior High School, Ebenezer Primay School and Banjo Primary extends to Church Street and it belongs to the government and by extension to the school.

Fagba told newsexplorersng.com that “There were Ilogbo High School, Banjo Primary School and Ebenezer Primary school on the same land.
But when hoodlums started terrorising residents and students of these schools and encroaching on the school land, about three of us met with the then Executive Secretary for Education in Lagos Mainland Local Government and now the current Chairman of Yaba LCDA, Hon Kayode Omiyale to demarcate and erect a fence on the land so that the children would be protected from the danger, that when it is needed, it would be returned to the school.

It was decided that part of the land be used for sporting activities and the other portion to be used temporarily for trading.

Hon. Omiyale acceded to our request. Consequently, officials of the education department came to the school and demarcated the land.

But I was surprised to see that when there is need for the land for the construction of Senior Secondary School, some aggrieved residents who don’t know how the land came about and don’t mean well for the community are antagonising it that the school land is a community market.

The premises belong to the school and not for trading. If you visit the land, you will see the foundation of the classrooms that were built on the land which traders mounted their containers and stalls.

This is not about an individual or a group of people but it has to do about our future of our children and the generation yet unborn.”

For the former Chairman of the Community Development Association, Nurudeen Nuraina there were six primary schools within Otumara community before four were relocated to remain three which include Banjo primary school, Ebenezer primary school and Ilogbo Junior High School.

He said, “There was a market which was established at the edge of the canal but later extended into the school premises when the fence collapsed. It was Hon Omiyale that assisted us to reconstruct the fallen fence because it was seen as hide-out for criminals.

So to protect the pupils, we sought his assistance and he erected the fence with the hope that when the need arise, the school would take-over the land. This is known to some of those that are opposing the construction of secondary school in the community. In fact the woman that is parading herself as the market women leader, Alhaja Jatto was my treasurer when I was CDA chairman.

It is ridiculous for anybody to come out to say that the premises is a market place. This is unjustifiable.

Come to think of it, which of the two will be of benefit to residents in the community, a senior secondary school or a market?

But for the greed of some sect of people that benefit from toll collection from the inter-state garage and traders at the market, they went on radio campaigning against construction of Senior Secondary school that the community has been yearning for.

I am appealing to Governor Sanwo-Olu to wade into the matter and ensure that the school is constructed for our children to comfortably complete their secondary education with ease in the community without having to travel as far as Surulere.

Many of those that are campaigning against establishment of a senior secondary school in Otumara have shops and stalls they let out to traders. They would rather collect rent than for our children to learn with ease within the community.

The governor has approved of the school and if this eludes us, we might not get such an opportunity for years to come.”

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