Parents, Stakeholders In Odogunyan Kick Against LASG’s Plan To Move Junior Secondary School To Another Community

Kunle Adelabu

-We have lost many children since moving them to High School – Parents lament

Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Governor, Lagos State and Mr Abayomi Abolaji, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education

Stakeholders and parents of students of the Odogunyan Community Junior Grammar School, have kicked against the decision of the Lagos State Government to move the school to the Ikorodu High School, following the demolition of some of the defective structures in the school aftermath of the declaration of state of emergency in the school by the Lagos State House of Assembly, in September 2020.

The Assembly had directed the Tutor – General/Permanent Secretary, Education District ll, Mrs Arike Adekanye, to ensure alternative accommodation for the school. As a result, the students of the Junior section of the Secondary School (JSS3) had been moved to the Ikorodu High School, since then, while the JSS two students were moved to Zumratul Islammiyyah Primary School, Odogunyan, and JSS one students were accommodated in the senior school.

As a result, for about three years, the students of the Odogunyan Junior Grammar School, have been dispersed to three different schools without any effort by the Lagos State Government to return them to their former school, until recently when the community was informed that the government will not be able to reconstruct the school’s structures because of the constant flooding of the area, which is usually intense.

The government’s decision, however, did not go down well with the parents of the students and the entire Odogunyan community, as they have opposed the permanent relocation of the school’s junior school to the Ikorodu High School.

THE IMPACT also gathered that the government has commenced the construction of a new building that would accommodate all the Odogunyan Junior Grammar School students and staff within the premises of the Ikorodu High School, Ikorodu,  and plans to complete it within six months, but the parents have vehemently opposed the move.

The parents argued that sending their children from Odogunyan and other farther places to Ikorodu High School where they are currently relocated, has been a tough challenge for them. They added that they have lost many of their children and while many others have been hospitalized due to their involvement in accidents, while going to school in Ikorodu.

Premises of the Odogunyan Junior Grammar School with a defective storey building that was ordered by the members of the Lagos State House of Assembly in 2020 still standing.

It was also gathered that the parents have held many meetings and the last was on Saturday, September 2, where they resolved that the decision by the government to relocate all the children to the Ikorodu High School permanently, is not only disadvantageous to the parents, but also to the Odogunyan community which has no other public school.

House of Assembly’s Visit In 2020

The House of Assembly’s House Committee on Education, led by Hon. Ogundimu, addressing newsmen after the inspection of the school in 2020, had declared:

“The state government has to declare a state of emergence here”, Hon. Ogundimu said.

 “There is a need for redevelopment of this compound. The buildings are defective and classrooms are not functional. What we have here can be described as a jungle, and we cannot allow students to resume in this school, because of the situation here”, he said.

 “There is a need for immediate action to safeguard students and teachers”.

Following the declaration of state of emergency in the school, the lawmakers called on the Tutor – General/ Permanent Secretary, Education District II, Mrs Anike Adekanye, to provide alternative accommodation for the students. This was what led to the dispersal of the students to various schools.

But contrary to the directive of the Assembly, for the demolition of the entire buildings within the junior school, only two bungalows – one which served as the administrative block with 6 classrooms and the second which is just a block of some classrooms, were demolished, while the one storey building which was also defective and other structures were left untouched.

Parents’ Face-off With The Government

With the insistence of the Lagos State Government to construct buildings at the Ikorodu High School and relocate the students of the Odogunyan Junior Grammar School there within the next six months when the construction is expected to be completed, the school’s Parents’ Forum and stakeholders in Odogunyan community have rejected the idea on the ground that the government cannot deprive them of the only junior school serving, not only Odogunyan which is a very large community, but also other nearby communities- First Gate, Odo – Nla, Ita – Oluwo and Fagba among others.

One of the aggrieved parents, who simply identified herself as Mummy Zidan, a popular and outspoken figure among the Parents’ Forum of the school, while speaking with THE IMPACT, said that they are totally opposed to the government’s decision to move the school to another community.

She added that many of the parents have lost their children due to the relocation of students from their original school, to another.

“After all these years that our students have been moved to different schools, the government is now coming to tell us that they are moving our children permanently to Ikorodu High School. They have even started building classrooms there for them, but our stand, as the parents’ forum, is that we are opposed to that and that they should bring back our school to Odogunyan”, she said.

“We have the support of the Divisional Parents’ Forum, on this. There is nothing wrong with our premises, so, we want the school back in Odogunyan.

Other structures still within the premises of Odogunyan Junior Grammar School, Odogunyan, Ikorodu

“It is not okay for us to be sending our children to Ikorodu High School. There have been many accidents on that road,  especially at Okegbegun, involving our children. Two children of our exco member, were involved in an accident about three months ago, and they were moved to Gbobi. We have been experiencing many things and lost many children”.

Why emphasizing the opposition of the community to the movement of the school, she called on members of the public to support them in ensuring that Odogunyan Junior Grammar School is retained in Odogunyan.

“We are calling on the PTF and other concerned people to stand by us and help us, so that they will not take Odogunyan Junior Primary School away from Odogunyan”, she said.

“The Ikorodu High School is not okay for our children many of whom are coming from far away places like Igbosoro, Fakale and other places, to attend the school. After they get to the school junction, they still have to trek long distance to get to school”.

Mr Olanrewaju, who also spoke with THE IMPACT, described the relocation as highly insensitive on the part of the government, considering the loss of lives and the economic implications on the parents.

“This is highly insensitive on the part of the Lagos State Government which did not deem it fit to reconstruct the school since our students have scattered in three different schools and against our will, has been building structures at the Ikorodu High School where they want to permanently move our children in the next six months”, he said.

“They are not bother about the pains we have been contending with over the loss of lives, because government failed to provide us with school, and had to move our children far away to be settled, and also the cost of sending them to Ikorodu High School, with the current economic situation.

“This is not acceptable to us at all. Unfortunately, the local government and our representatives have done nothing despite all our letters and attempts to make them see our plights. This is not acceptable to us”, the concerned parent said.

In the same vein, Mr Jemade Mokolade, Chairman, Parents’ Forum, Ikorodu Division, speaking with our reporter, deplored the situation which he said has denied a community right to education, adding that the government’s decision has cost many children their lives while attending school that they have been moved to.

“The children are facing so many challenges going from Odogunyan to Ikorodu High School. Since they have been moved to that school, parents have lost nothing less than 20 children, while trekking to school or through okada or Keke Marwa accidents. They are always involved in accidents. Many of them come from Odo – Nla, Fagba and other places. The school ought to be a community school and you took the school from one community to the other and you expect children from that community and other surrounding ones, to trek to such a far distance”, he said.

“I don’t think it is fair for the government to ask children to go school from Odogunyan to Ikorodu High School. The parents have recorded several deaths of children since they were being sent to High school from Odogunyan.

“The senior school students are still on their own premises and there is also a primary school not far away from the Odogunyan Grammar School, why moving the junior school away from its location on the ground of lack of drainage and flooding?”, he asked rhetorically.

Mr Jemade also stated that the decision is causing parents more economic difficulties, considering what the country is facing.

“Another thing is the economic implications on the children and their parents. We are all feeling the impact of the economy, and the government expect a man still finding it difficult to feed his family to find N1000 daily to send his child to Ikorodu High School from Odogunyan, and there are some with two or three children. What is free in the education that you said that you are providing?”, he asked again.

“The government said that education should be domicile in various communities, and at same time, taking a school away from Odogunyan community to another community. It is not good at all, and it’s insincerity on the part of the government to the masses, particularly those living in the affected communities.

“There are always terrible accidents between the First Gate and Sawmill. In fact, there is a woman whose children lost their legs to an accident while going to school from Odongunyan to lkorodu. The woman is very bitter with the government. She expressed her anger during our meeting over the matter”.

The Divisional Chairman of the Parents’ Forum pleaded with the government to ensure that the school is retain in Odognyan for easy access, in the interests of the students and their parents.

“My take is that if the government loves us and truly cherish the community, they should look for a way of making sure that the school domiciles in Odogunyan. There is nothing that is impossible. Why are you taking the junior school away and the senior school is still there? The same government that is sand filing the lagoon at Ilubinrin to build houses for the rich, are now saying that they cannot control flood to build a school”, he said.

“We pray that they listen to us, because they are there to serve us. Those in government should always get back to the electorate to know what they want. The people should be the determinant of whatever that you want to do in that community and not what you want to do as a government”.

 Mr Yomade also expressed disappointment over the response of the Ikorodu North LCDA, on the matter, so far, stating that the council is not forthcoming.

“The Parents’ Forum of that school told me that they have written several letters to the Ikorodu North LCDA, but that nothing is forthcoming. They have consistently been told that they have heard them. So, it is now the duty of the parents of these children to act. This is a community that have supported the government greatly during the electioneering periods, and what are they going to benefit from the government, except education which they are now giving us at a disadvantage?”, he said.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the lkorodu North LCDA, has stated that the council is working on getting the government to intervene. The council chairman spoke through his media aide, Mr Bode Oserinde.

“The council is working on getting the Lagos State government to intervene. Hopefully, the state has the school captured in the list of projects to be executed for state-owned secondary schools in this period”, he said.

“I have it on good authority that the council management has escalated the matter to the appropriate quarter at the state level, and the feedback they received recently was that work is ongoing to address the matter, adding that that is the best the council can do since the school is not under the council authority.

When contacted, Mr Kehinde Ayanbadejo, the Director – General of the Representative of the Ikorodu Constituency I, Hon. Ogunleye Gbolahan Adetokunbo (OGA), said that the lawmaker is not aware of the situation concerning Odogunyan Junior and Senior Secondary School.

He, however, promised to brief the lawmaker on the issue, and revert to our reporter.

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