Worried by the reports of the violation of the guidelines that led to the handover of private schools to their original owners by the Abia State government, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has warned that his administration will not hesitate to sanction any school whose proprietor fails to comply with the guidelines leading to its handover.
Based on this, the Abia governor maintained that such school will have its certificate of recognition as a private school withdrawn as his government will reacquire it and revert it to public school.
Answering questions from journalists in Aba at the weekend, Ikpeazu expressed worry that some heads of the schools handed to private proprietors and faith based organisations were violating the guidelines and agreement that influenced their handover.
Though, he acknowledged the fact that the handover exercise was done before his administration came on board, he added however that “nothing in the statue books says I shouldn’t withdraw their ownership and revert it to government if any of is found to be violating guidelines”.
It will be recalled that missionary and privately-owned schools were taken over by the Ukpabi Asika-led government of East Central State in 1971, a move that saw the government running all schools as public schools before the Theodore Orji administration released some of them to their original owners in 2013.
However, it is observed that some of the private proprietors are violating the agreement and guidelines that influenced the handover by selling off some portions of the lands or converting them to other uses other than teaching and learning.
But Ikpeazu, who marked his sixth year in office as governor of Abia State on May 29, 2021, urged residents of the state and journalists to help his government to fight such violation of the laws governing institutions of learning and other public establishments by unpatriotic individuals.
On his alleged plan to defect to the All Progressives Alliance (APC) from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the Abia governor said he is comfortable in the PDP, stressing that he was elected as governor in PDP by “my people and only the electorate will tell me to leave PDP for another party; I’m in constant touch with them and for now, they’ve not asked me to leave PDP”.
“I don’t begrudge those who have left and they should not also worry that I’ve not joined them. Politics is an individual game”, he enthused. He explained that his devotion to build infrastructure in Aba and upgrade its status as a world class town was informed by the fact that an economically endowed Aba will be a cash cow for Abia State.
Aba, he continued, has 15 huge markets and over 60 million catchment points through which business could flow into the commercial city, adding that three sources of energy are being provided for city to ensure uninterrupted power supply.
This, he asserted, will in turn boost the commercial and business activities of the city, pointing out that multiple sources of power supply in Aba is his administration’s development and economic strategy.
Uche Nwosu is a two time Shell Petroleum PLC award winner in the year 2000;
He won the Shell Award on Investigative Journalism and Environmental Cleanliness.