CLOSURE OF EDO STATE COLLEGE OF AGRICULTURE

THE recent decision by the Edo state government to sack all the workers of the Edo State College of Agriculture, Iguoriakhi has drawn the ire of the state branch of the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

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The 37 years old school was; established by the civilian administration of late Prof. Ambrose Ali in 1981, closed by the subsequent military governors and reopened by the Chief Lucky Igbinedion administration in 2001.

Speaking yesterday in Asaba, the Publicity Secretary, Mr. Chris Nehikhare said that he was; dismayed by the recent announcement the school has been; closed down and the employment of all its academic and non-academic staff terminated.

Nehikhare explained that following the closure of the institution on August last year by armed policemen on the orders of Governor Godwin Obaseki led All Progressives Congress (APC) government, the body of academic and non-academic workers as well as students headed to court to challenge the government and others in Suit no NICN/BEN/08/2018 at the National Industrial Court, Akure, Ondo state.

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The opposition party spokesman said that the case was; adjourned to June 7, 2018, for arguments on the claimants’ Motion for a Mandatory order to reopen; the College of Agriculture pending the determination of the substantive suit before the court.

Baffled, he noted that in total contempt of the judiciary and in a clear case of obstruction of justice, the government went ahead to announce the termination of employment of all staff members of the College of Agriculture.

He fumed: “This “slap in the face” of the judiciary must be; condemned and resisted. Edo PDP is; worried about what is; now becoming a pattern. A systematic denial of Edo state indigents (especially in the Edo South zone) of educational facilities to develop and improve themselves and their skills. Edo South is facing an Education holocaust.”

Nehikhare said that up till now, the government has not been able to explain to the people why Tayo Akpata University of Education Ekiadolor in Edo South Senatorial district proclaimed and signed into law same day as Edo University in former Governor Adams Oshiomhole’s hometown of Iyamoh has not been approved by the National Universities Commission (NUC) even though it already had structures and staff in place but Iyamoh university has been built from scratch, accredited and admitting students and soon to graduate its first set.

In the same vein, he said that the State School of Nursing in Benin City has been closed. So also is the Institute of Continuing Education, (ICE), Benin City: while evidence abounds that the Polytechnic in Usen also in Edo South is the next target.

He added: “Since the APC government’s ascension to power in 2008, Edo State has suffered closure upon closure of private schools, sack of teachers, education instructors and providers, and criminal increment of school fees and levies. The government has been; insensitive to the plight of parents and guardians. The people were; deliberately pauperized, put in a traumatized state so that they can be; manipulated and their votes purchased on election days.”

He said that the government was; toying with the future of the next generation of Edo people by denying them choice and access to education.

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