Some youths and residents of Badagry West Local Council Development Area (LCDA) under different bodies on Thursday 10th February 2021 protested against the alledged encroachment of a portion of land belonging to Sito-Gbetromeh Secondary School, claiming it is illegal and will not be accepted.
It was gathered that the youths arose to fight against the act after discovering a construction work taking place within the school premises by a private company. The youths therefore marched in their numbers under different bodies in a peaceful protest at the said school, calling for the intervention of the Seme Border Divisional Police Officer to arrest the situation and stop the construction work.
CityMood Correspondent who was at the protest ground, gathered that the contractor handling the construction work, the youths& some elders marched to Seme police station which led to the call for an emergency meeting by the traditional rulers in conjunction with the Executive Chairman, Badagry West LCDA, Mr. Gbenu Joseph at the palace of His Majesty Alapa of Apa Kingdom.
Speaking at the meeting, the Executive Chairman of the council area stated that he is not aware of any construction project in the school, noting that his earlier communication with the Governor of Lagos State further reveals the unawareness of the state about the alleged allocation of the land to the company or any private individual.
The Chairman stressed that the land was donated by the community freely to the state government for educational purpose. He added that as one of the pioneer student of the school in 1980, he is well informed that the land mass was donated to bring light to the community with the hope of having tertiary institutions such as polytechnic, school of health and technology, technical & vocational institute among others, to bring development to the area.
He stated that as the custodian of the LCDA, he has contacted the Lagos State Governor, however, who said it had not allocated the land to any private company or individual. The Chairman added that any other person with the agenda to work on the site should put it on hold, affirming that the communities are strongly against encroachment on the school.
“When the issue started few weeks ago, I reported to the Executive Governor of Lagos State in the presence of other Executive Members and other Conference 57, the Governor disclaimed it, saying they are not aware. The request of the youth, community leaders and traditional rulers is that if there is any allocation to the land, we are pleading to the State Governor that it should be withdrawn for peace to reign because the land belongs to the school and it is for educational purpose.
“Badagry West comprises of 98 villages. The 98 villages said they don’t want anybody to encroach on the landed property of the school. I was told that other people are preparing to go to the site, they should stop”. The Chairman stressed.
In the same vien, the Alapa of Apa Kingdom, HRM Oba Oyekan Adekanmi (JP), Ilufemiloye Ajose Possi III stated that the encroachment of Sito-Gbetromeh secondary school land is an illegal act, adding that the land is for educational purpose. He therefore gave the contractor working on the site till Sunday to pack leave the site.
“I appreciate the Chairman and everyone that came out. To the contractor, tell your client that place is a no-go-area, go and pack your loads and move away. We give you from now till Sunday to vacate the site. I don’t want to see you there from Monday, as school children will be back to school”. The Kabiesi affirmed.
Also speaking earlier at the school premises where the protest started, Baale of Gbetromeh Community, Mr. Lateef Ogungbe who doubles as the Chairman, School Based Management Committee (SBMC) in a meeting with the Parents and Teachers Forum stated that the action is not acceptable. He gave a brief on the land noting that the land was donated to the State government in 1979 for educational purpose, and that though it was fenced with barb wire but due to its decay, the administration of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu did the proper fencing last year due to rise of insecurity in the country. He mentioned that the new school fence is however yet to be completed by the contractor handling it.
Corroborating this, the Coordinator, National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN), Badagry West Local Chapter, Comr. Aladeotan David stated that the encroachment of the school premises is an illegal and immoral act which according to him is not acceptable by the community.
“What is happening is illegal and immoral act, this is not a state of nature were anybody can do anything they want. We found out that about 8 acres of land has been caved out of the school land. The lagos state government has fenced the school due to insecurity. The information we gathered revealed that they want to build a five star hotel. We sense such incorrigible and a notorious act is been done without the notification of any authority. We are very sure that the government of Sanwo-Olu is not aware about this. We will never take this act”. He said.
President, Gbaji–Ashiri-Hulemu Central Youth Forum, Comr. Nuwasi Sunday corroborated that such act of unfair treatment and injustice will not be accepted, adding that the land is their main heritage and it was donated by their fore fathers to the government for educational purpose only.
“We found that some people came into the school premises, erect a structure. We don’t know who it is but this is our main heritage and our major objective is that the land was given to the state government freely by our fore fathers for educational purpose only. We are not going to be violent, all we are saying is, they should pack their belongings and go’’. He added.
According to information gathered by CityMood Correspondent, Sito-Gbetromeh Secondary School was established in 1979 by the Late Lateef Jakande led administration, with the first academic session commencing in 1980. Among the pioneer set of students from the school is the Executive Chairman, Badagry West LCDA, who claimed not to even have been pre-informed about the recent development as the leader of the council area.