Onitsha residents protest, demands government's take over of Ugborimiri primary school

Onitsha residents protest, demands government’s take over of Ugborimiri primary school

Residents of Housing Estate Fegge Onitsha, Anambra State have called on State Government to take over the Ugborimiri Primary Schools and make the field accessible to the public for the sake of peace.

The residents in a peaceful protest stressed that the field remained the only field for sporting events for the members of the community and its environs.

The protesters who went round major streets within the area carried placards with various inscriptions like “Ugborimiri Primary School is a Public School not a mission school” “Prof.Charles Soludo Please Don’t Allow This Error to Continue in this your tenure” “Ugborimiri Primary School Field remains the only field for sports and exercise for housing communities and it’s environs” among others.

Addressing newsmen, some stakeholders, including Chief Stanley Ibom, Mr. Nnaemeka Chine, and Hon. Dennis Samuel who have lived for more than 30 years in the area recounted the school’s history established by government of Jim Nwobodo between 1975 and 1979 as the development of Bridge head Housing Estate.

They said the school premises was used by different churches as place of religious and social activities until recently when a certain church (Roman Catholic church) laid claim to the school and locked up the premises.

Other residents -Sir Sam Okafor, Chief Timothy Ikezuagu and Dr. Chioma Onwuasoigwe expressed sadness over the committee’s attitude during handover of schools owned by mission during the handover.

“At the handover of schools owned by mission during Peter Obi Administration, the committee apparently jettisoned the idea of inviting the general public to assist it with more information that would have assisted the committee to separate public schools from mission schools.

“The committee resorted to the Eastern Nigeria Directory of Schools published in 1964 seen as the cheapest route out of the inability of missions to back up their claims with relevant documents.

“The past two administrations in the state deployed executive orders to satisfy the aspirations of the missions without anyone standing for the interest of the general public with reference to public schools.

“The various court injunctions have been issued to the said church to stop work within the premises which was jettisoned,instead more structures are being put on place.

A coach in the estate, Charles Osondu recalled that the Ugborimiri Primary School Field is where the residents use for their training and sporting activities for over thirty years before it was locked up by Catholic church laying claim to it’s ownership thereby depriving the community from using the premises.

“They made the school unreachable for the less privileged ones while another sport enthusiast, Rapuluchukwu Chukwuneke said currently under 13 and 15 football are supposed to be training at the Ugborimiri Primary School Field but they could not,” he said.

They all asked the state government to recover the school and the field and open it for public use to avoid the matter escalating.

Addressing the protesters, Archbishop Mike Chukwudum in charge of Rock Fire Global Mission who is a resident of Housing Estate Fegge Onitsha, and also the spiritual father of the community recounted the history of Ugborimiri Primary School having lived there since 1972.

He said he personally wrote to the government with his office as an advocate of peace for the school to be retained as public school because it is serving the public and the only recreation place for them, all to no avail.

The Archbishop enjoined the residents to remain calm and prayerful, assuring their use of all necessary avenue to reclaim the school.

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