Residential Buildings Taking Over School Lands in Kogi Central By A.S.M. Jimoh
The trend now is that my people of Kogi central senatorial district have resorted to building residential houses on public school lands and premises. This is not in any way due to land shortage, but a display of crass ignorance, retrogressive behaviour and lack of regard for education and its facilities.
Most of our public primary and secondary schools lands and premises that are either reserved to build new facilities for possible future expansion or as recreation grounds for pupils and students have been expropriated by individuals who think the best land for their residences are these school lands. Residential buildings now surround our classrooms at such proximity that one can hardly make any differentiation between the latter and former.
While this act is unhealthy for learning environment, it also shows the shallowness in the thinking of my people. Such proximity of classrooms and residential building not only distracts learning, but it constitutes health and security risk to pupils and students alike.
Of all the empty lands that are available across the length and breadth of Kogi central senatorial district, it can only be out of narrow-mindedness and impunity that school lands are the choice sites for erecting private properties. I will shortly provide a background to why school facilities have become a target on which private residence are built.
Following PDP style of turn-by-turn or chop-make-I-chop governance, local government administrations in Kogi central become a heavily clan issue where clans or some notorious, but highly ignorant, local thugs rotate its administrations among themselves. In this wise, competence has since been thrown to the dogs. Thus, it becomes a battle of outdoing one other in the impunity of mismanaging local governments’ assets. Part of such notorious immunity is to expropriate government facilities including choice lands to member of your clan or clique. Therefore, public lands including that of schools are shared for private use to prove a point to other factions how powerful is your clan or cabal. How ignorant can a people be?
In addition, some unscrupulous individuals believe such lands belong to their clan and have the right to sell it out or themselves building on it. There is the parochial belief in some that these lands have remained undeveloped for long, and since government out of its neglect for education never make use of them, they have become no one’s property.
Truly, governments across all tiers have abandoned education. Such is evident in the bad state of disrepair of facilities in our schools-classrooms, chairs, tables etc. Due to government neglect, some of these schools have their classrooms converted to public toilets and haven for criminals for taking hard drugs. This is not in any way justifies individuals and government officials to share or sell out these lands. It only smacks of impunity and roguishness. The rot in our schools is a story for another day.
However, one can never be astonished that so-called government officials and community leaders connive with crooked elements in sharing out school lands for private use. These are individuals, including local government areas Chairmen, you cannot ascertain whether they ever attended school, let alone possessing any educational qualification. Local governments’ Chairs, especially in Kogi central, have become a reward system for thugs who helped governor or party to power through act of violence.
While it is not only annoying that my people have gone this backward, it is an inappropriate and irresponsible conduct. This is why responsible individuals must join hands to halt this nonsense. Having provided a background to the kind of characters who administer our affairs in Kogi central, it is not surprising that a senatorial district that can boast of excellent personalities across all hierarchy of academic cadre can descend this low.
I, for one, implore that all these structures on school lands be demolished. Anyone found to have involved in the usurping, sharing and selling of school lands must be sanctioned. Henceforth, government must take responsibility of building perimeter walls round all our schools.
A. S. M. Jimoh
This writer can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org and @anehi2008 on twitter.