AJIMOBI REOPENS CLOSED SCHOOLS BUT KEEPS PROTESTING STUDENTS AT HOME UNTIL THEY APOLOGISE

The Oyo State Government has reopened public secondary schools earlier closed in the wake of the education crisis in the state.Lagos-schools

The crisis was due to opposition to Governor Abiola Ajimobi’s proposed policy to involve private bodies in the operation of the schools.

The schools will resume on July 11.

However, pupils of 17 schools who protested against Mr. Ajimobi’s policy over fear the governor was planning to privatize their schools will remain at home.

This information was contained in a statement by the state’s Commissioner for Information, Toye Arulogun, on Saturday.

On June 6, students of some schools in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, embarked on anti-Ajimobi protest, after organised labour in the state opposed the government’s proposed public private partnership policy on education.

The government said the protesting students indulged in violence and destroyed “government property and those of individuals and corporate bodies by students and teachers of some schools in Oyo State.”

“This violent activity threatened the peace and security of the state and endangered the lives of the students who participated in this breach of peace and affront on constituted authority”, Mr. Arulogun said. He added that “Consequently, the Oyo State Government was constrained to shut down public schools throughout the State to safeguard the lives of the students and protect the lives and property of the citizenry; a decision that was taken in the line of its primary duty of ensuring peace and safety in the state.”

He announced that, “Following several representations by the Parents Teachers Association, Community Leaders, Religious leaders, Traditional Rulers, Prominent and well meaning Nigerians at home and abroad, the Oyo State Government has decided to reopen public schools in the State with effect from Monday 11th July 2016.”

However, the 17 schools that participated in the demonstration, as stated by Mr. Arulogun, are excluded from government’s reopen order.

The affected schools are Baptist Secondary School, Senior and Junior; Ansarudeen Secondary School; Ansarudeen High School; Ibadan Grammar School, Senior and Junior; Olubi Memorial Grammar School; St Luke Grammar School, Senior and Junior; St Luke College; and Yejide Girls Grammar School.

Others are Methodist Grammar School, Senior and Junior; Methodist Secondary School; Oba Akinyele Memorial High School; Ikolaba Grammar School; Ikolaba Secondary School; Ikolaba High School; Lagelu Grammar School; Okebadan High School; Ibadan Boys High School.

All the schools are in Ibadan.

Mr. Arulogun disclosed that the affected schools would remain shut until the principals and the management of the schools submit an undertaking to the government that the students under their care will not engage in nor be used for violent acts and that their safety will be guaranteed.

“Considering the need for strong character moulding and to emphasize the importance of good conduct and acceptable behaviour for the leaders of tomorrow, the students must tender a written apology to the government through the school management.

“The Government of Oyo State wishes to reiterate its commitment to ensuring the security and safety of lives and property within the state”, the Information Commissioner said.

However, it is not immediately clear if the teachers will resume work on Monday, despite the Government’s order.

The Nigerian Labour Congress, including Nigerian Union of Teachers, in Oyo State had declared indefinite strike just almost the same time the Government announced closure of schools.

Before the proposal to involve private bodies in the running of the schools, the government and the workers had been squabbling over unpaid salaries.

The Oyo State Labour leader, Waheed Olojede, could not be reached to know if teachers will return to classes tomorrow following the government’s order.