Members of the Muslim community in Ondo State have condemned  the planned return of schools to faith based organisations.

They held that such action would be illegal and the “fraud of the century.”

Already, the state government has agreed to return  four schools to the missions who originally established them.

A committee  was set up by the Ondo State government to work out the possibilities and implementation of the policy.

The committee, led by Eduction Commissioner, Femi Agagu, had been set up visiting the schools to be returned to their owners.

But the Muslim at a press conference held at the NUJ press center in Akure, on Wednesday, urged the state Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, not to return schools  to the missionaries.

The  Secretary of the League of Imams and Alfas Ondo State, Abdulrasheed Akerele, who spoke on their behalf , said returning schools to the missionaries is illegal.

“Ondo state government for the sake of posterity, the unborn generation, the development of the state and even for the sake of the traumatized and impoverished masses should not return schools to Faith Based Organisations,” he said.

“This is because of its daring consequences as more children will be thrown out of schools because  their parents would definitely not be able to afford the fees that will be imposed by such organisations.

“Returning of schools to FBO’s will be the fraud of the century because this is simply handing over public properties to Private  business orientated individuals in the name of FBOs.”

He threatened  that the Muslim community will be forced to  go to court if the state government fails to rescind its decision to return some schools to their missionary proprietors.

The schools to be returned to the missionaries as listed by the state government in March, include St Thomas Aquinas College, St. Louis Girls Grammar School, Akure and two primary schools.

The Muslim group advised government to rather build more schools and improve on the existing ones.

 The military administration of David Ikpeme took over the missionary schools in September 1976.

 But Mr Akeredolu said his administration approved the return of some schools to the missions which are ready to take them back.

“We have promised that we will return schools to missionaries and we are keeping to our promise,” the governor said, while announcing the policy last month.

He also said only the Catholic Church had shown interest in taking back the schools.

 “A group of people are opposed to it. Our position is that, if you are not interested in taking ownership of your school, don’t discourage others,” the governor said.

 “Catholic Church has requested for two secondary schools and two primary schools and I have approved it.

“They are sorting it out now and there is no problem. Aquinas College, St Louis, and two primary schools. Those are the ones which we have approved. We are not running away from it.”

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