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Chaos as land grabbers invades Shalom School

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By Usman Oladimeji

Odeka acclaimed police were unable to stop the hoodlums' unruled actions.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that a private boarding school, Shalom Group of Schools, located in Baruwa Ipaja, Lagos State, was breached by about 40 hoodlums where students and teachers were invaded. Students and management of the school were denied entry into the school as the gates were blocked by the invaders popularly referred to as” Omo-Onile”. Mrs. Adedayo Odeka, the school proprietress, told the media that the hoodlums were allegedly led by an “Omo Onile”, popularly known as Kaka, who claimed to have secured the court order to take over the land.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Odeka argued that the land was allocated to the school in 1992 by the Federal Government, and the school has owned it for 30 years with all documents intact. The hoodlums reportedly invaded the school on a Saturday morning with severe force forcing the students to vacate the premises. However, the school proprietress acclaimed that the police were unable to stop the hoodlums’ unruled actions even after getting to the scene under much pressure. She, therefore, called on the government to intervene and persecute the perpetrators.

Invaders broke the wall, removed the two main gates to gain access.

Also speaking on the incident, Mrs. Oluwatoyin Okafor, the school’s principal, said the invaders forcefully chased everyone out, burgled the generator house and damaged school property. She asserts that this will only induce Disruption to the school activities and students’ learning as they prepare for their various external examinations such as WASCE, NECO and JAMB. The Security guard, Mr. Micheal Yakubu, alleged that the invaders broke the wall, removed the two main gates to gain access, claiming that the land belonged to them. He said they brought in sand and blocks and started digging and erecting the structure on the school field.

Mr. Yakubu added that after erecting the structure beyond nine coaches, they blocked the two entrances with blocks, put up a small gate and locked it. Mrs. Ifeoma Abah, a Teacher in the school, posits that the students were chased out of the hostel by the hoodlums, with some of them half-dressed. Mrs. Abah said they are being denied access to the school with the teachers and students stranded, adding that “we all have rights as Nigerians to learn”.

These incidents will affect the student’s learning.

Furthermore, an SS2 student in the school, Miss. Success Afolayan, explained that she felt tortured and traumatized on Saturday when the hoodlums invaded their school. Miss. Afolayan bemoaned the invaders’ uncalled action saying that the incident would affect the students’ learning as no one is sure when the issue would be resolved. Mr. Ebenezer Akande, a parent, emphasized the incident, expressing that he was shocked when he saw that the two main gates were blocked with no way for the students to go in. Thus, he urges the Lagos State Government to find a remedy to the issue of land grabbers.

Remarking on the situation, Mr. Akinola Adebayo, the registrar of the school, said he had earlier received an invitation letter from Zone 2, Onikan, claiming that someone wrote a petition against him. Upon getting there, Adebayo said he was alleged of using charms to chase the land grabbers away from their land, which he debunked. The school registrar said following the petition query, both parties involved, the land grabbers and Shalom school were asked to come back on January 30. So it was surprising the land grabbers went on to invade the school on Saturday, he added.

Police said it was a civil case, not a police case.

However, Adebayo urged the government to intervene in the issue to enable the students to resume back to school. As reported, some students were carrying cardboards with inscriptions such as “Education is our right”, “say no to Omo-onile oppressors”, “the future is weeping”, “Kaka, why take our right from us”, “Omo-onile, why send us out of our school”, “Government come to our rescue, save us from land grabbers” and many more. On his part, the Police Public Relations Officer, SP Benjamin Hundeyin, who confirmed the story, said that the case is not a police case but a civil one. He, therefore, urges both parties not to take the law into their own hands and avoid turning the case into a criminal offense.


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