By Francis Ekpone
Heirs of the African Proprietors of Schools, whose educational institutions were confiscated by the government of the defunct East Central State of Nigeria, has dragged Anambra state government led by Governor Willie Obiano, before the state High Court, for alleged nonpayment of compensation to the school owners. The group had wanted government to either pay its members compensation for the said schools or return the schools to the original owners.
In the suit number A/83/2019, the plaintiff, through their councils, Sir Frank Muolokwu Esq, Anene Belonwu Esq, Obi Muorah Esq and Kennedy Egwuatu Esq, prayed the court to compel Governor Willie Obiano to return their schools to them, since other schools owned by voluntary agencies like the Catholic and Anglican have been returned to them and compensations paid.
According to the lead council, Sir Muolokwu, “Government of Anambra state has not been fair to the proprietors of private schools. Recently, they handed over schools owned by missionaries to them and paid whooping sums of money, which runs into millions of naira to them; while withholding schools and payment of compensation to proprietors, people who founded education to the then eastern Nigeria”
Recall that the aggrieved children and heirs of the proprietors, whose schools were seized 49 years ago, petitioned Governor Willie Obiano last year, appealing to him to return their fathers’ schools to them and pay them compensation for ‘forceful acquisition of the schools since 1970’ through education edit of the military administration.
They also called for urgent abrogation of the law that gave credence to the unlawful take-over of their schools by the government of the defunct East Central state of Nigeria.
Some of the schools in contention include Okija Grammer School, owned by Chief B.C Nduka; Merchant of Light, Oba, owned by Chief E.I Oli; Basden Memorial Grammar School, established in 1961 by M.C Ogwu; Metuh Memorial Secondary School, Onitsha, owned by Sir Augustine Metuh; Eastern Academy, Onitsha, by Igwe M.A Onwuzu; Our Lady’s High School, Onitsha, owned by Sir P.E Chukwura; among others.
When the matter came up for hearing, B.C Obiekie, who appeared for the Attorney General and Governor Willie Obiano, appealed for extension of time to enable them regularise which the court granted.
The presiding judge, Justice Arinze Akabua, thereafter, adjourned the matter to October 15 for continuation.
By Francis Ekpone