One year after taking refuge in a church, following the loss of her school which was built on a piece of land belonging to the University of Lagos (UNILAG), sold to her by unscrupulous locals, a school owner got respite from a group of educators, reports Kofoworola Belo-Osagie.
On Tuesday, last week, the Concerned Parents and Educators (CPE) Network, a Facebook group of over 100,000 educators and parents, founded by Mrs Yinka Ogunde, donated classroom furniture, books and other items to low-cost schools under the Association for Formidable Educational Development (AFED) across Lagos.
The donation also came with N50,000, which Mrs Ogunde requested should be given to one school truly in need of funds.
Last Friday, AFED National President, Mr Orji Kanu, and Alphasea Consult CEO, Mrs Esther Ifejola Dada, handed over the N50,000 to the Proprietor of Solid Rock Primary School, Iwaya, Yaba, Mrs Francisca Owolabi, whose school was demolished in 2017, when the University of Lagos (UNILAG) reclaimed its land encroached upon by its host community.
Mrs Dada, who was the immediate past AFED President, urged Mrs Owolabi to put the money to good use to justify her selection as a recipient.
“On behalf of CPE and AFED, we are giving you this N50,000. CPE members gathered this money apart from the materials they gave us for schools. It will please us that you make good use of it and we can return to thank CPE,” she said.
On his part, Orji thanked CPE for coming to the aid of private schools that serve low-income members of the community as a result of the low fees they charge. He expressed joy that members of the public were beginning to appreciate the work AFED-member schools were doing in the society.
“We handed over to our member who had a growing school that was demolished so she can get a facility from the bank. We are beginning to get attention for what we are doing. The only thing we have promised is to ensure good use of the funds. We will come back to you in two weeks to know what you have done with it,” he said.
Mrs Owolabi was overjoyed at the gesture, which she said would contribute towards renting a place for the school’s use as the 2019/2020 session begins next week.
“I am so glad for this gift from Mrs Ogunde and CPE. I say may the Almighty God bless them forever,” she said, overjoyed.
Mrs Owolabi said after losing her property, she relocated to a church but was given quit notice as the 2018/2019 academic session ended in July. She said the population of the school, which charges between N11,000 and N15,000 for a term, dropped from over 100 to 30/40 because of the crisis.
“The land was sold to me by omo onile but UNILAG said it owned the land so the school was demolished in August 2017. Since then I had to relocate to a church where I paid rent of N200,000. But they said they wanted to use the church. At the end of the 2018/2019 session in July, they locked me out.”
Mrs Owolabi said she would order furniture with the funds as well as complete work on securing a loan from the bank.
“I still have a long way to go but this will help. I will start with chairs and tables. AFED President has already linked me up with a bank to get a loan. If the bank answers me, I will be able to pay for the place we have found. I wanted N500,000 but the bank can only give me N300,000,” she said.