The Oyo state chapter of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) on Wednesday disrupted the stakeholders’ forum organised by the state government on plans to return schools to their original owners.
According to PUNCH, the meeting, which was called to address issues generated by the government’s announcement that 31 secondary schools would be returned to their owners, was abruptly called off when the workers stormed the venue soon before it commenced.
The protesting workers were led by the state NLC chairman, Waheed Olojede, the state Chairman of the Nigerian Union of Teachers, Niyi Akano, human rights activist, Femi Aborisade, a former chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Universities at the University of Ibadan, Professor Olusegun Ajiboye, the Chairman, Joint Action Front, Dr. Ademola Aremu, and Director, Centre for Human Resources Development, University of Ibadan, Professor Ayo Hameed, the workers chanted anti-government songs to register their displeasure at the plan.
The state NLC Chairman, Olojede said:
…The Universal Basic Education law signed by former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2003 also made it mandatory for government to provide education for the citizenry. The law also went ahead to stipulate penalty for parents that fail to send their wards to school. It is a surprise that the Oyo State government decided to put education for sale in the state.
Labour is more concerned and we are saying no to sale of our schools. You will agree with me that the law of Nigeria still allows education to be on both the exclusive and concurrent lists and it allows individuals and organisations to establish private schools.
The Secretary to the State Government, Ismail Olalekan-Alli, who was the head of government delegates and the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Dr. Gbade Ojo, were booed by the workers as they were forced to leave the venue of the meeting.
However, the state government disclosed that it would not abandon its responsibility of ensuring improved quality of education, saying that it was not returning schools on the basis of religion but on the basis of set criteria for all interested stakeholders.
Olalekan-Alli said it was an erroneous impression that education in the state was being privatised completely. He said the disrupted stakeholders’ meeting would still hold next week despite the workers’ action.
Photo Credit: NAN PHOTO