What could be said to be a sudden realization to the glaring fact that the Eastern palm University, Ogboko in Ideato South Local Government area of Imo State is owned by the Imo State government played out early hours of today, December 4,2020 when the commissioner for Education, Prof BTO Ikegwuoha led a team of Imo State Ministry of Education and security agents to seal off the University.
The school was billed to matriculate today as earlier announced by the management through a press statement.
According to an eyewitness account, the the government officials had stormed the school premises almost when the management of the school was preparing to host their new intake, their parents and wards.He hinted that the commissioner of Education walked to the the Vice Chancellor’s office where he communicated and reminded him of government decision on the school and it’s true status.
The source who pleaded anonymity, said that the Vice Chancellor,Prof. Tola Badejo while discussing with Commissioner for Education acknowledged that the institution no doubt belongs to Imo state government which was his belief for which he accepted the offer as Vice Chancellor.He assured the commissioner that he will adhere strictly to government’s directive.
Our reporter who visited the school at about 1PM Nigerian time, saw students loitering around the school premises without anyone to attend to them.
When contacted, Prof BTO Ikegwuoha, the Imo State commissioner for education confirmed the development.He said he led a team of the ministry to seal of Easternpalm which he confirmed belongs to Imo State government.
When asked if the move was as a result of any subsisting court order, he said there is no encumbrance or dispute on ownership of the school as the facts available to the government show that the school was built with state fund on a land acquired through government’s apparatus.”Why should we go to court to take over what belongs to government”, Ikegwuoha queried.
He further stated that every Imolite is aware that Easternpalm University belongs the state government, saying that government will not hesitate to recover any government property.He said that the decision of government to recover the school and put it to use is inline with the 3R policies of the government.
Meanwhile,effort to reach the Registrar of the Institution, Mr Ernest Onuoha proved abortive as he did not take his calls or return same.Onuoha as gathered, is the de facto Vice Chancellor of the Institution.
It would be recalled that the former governor of Imo State, now senator representing Imo West in the National Assembly, Okorocha had used his position as governor to secure licence for the institution as the 43th State owned University and second Imo State owned University.He had in a manner likened to exhibition of executive rascality and abuse of power attempted to use the Legislature to appropriate the Insuritution to himself and Rochas Foundation but never succeeded following the loss in the 2019 governorship election.