Sunday, August 21, 2016 3:55 pm
By Akin Kuponiyi
In a bid to reclaim her school, Metropolitan College Isolo Lagos state, alleged to have been forcefully taken over by Lagos State Government without any compensation about 40 years ago, a Lagos based 92-year old educationist. Mrs Roseline Oyiridiya Ololo and her company. Akaix West Africa Limited, have a slammed N2. 7 billion on Lagos state Government.
Joined as co-respondents in the ensuing legal battle are, the Attorney General of Lagos State and Lagos State Commissioner for Education.
In an affidavit sworn to by Mrs Ololo and filed before a Lagos high court, Lagos State south west Nigeria by a Lagos lawyer, Barrister Malcolm Omirhobo, the educationist averred that herself and her husband, Chief Micheal Akaihieobi Ololo -Ogwu who hail from Olokoro Umuajata, Umuahia, Abia state of Nigeria using their hard earned money, through their company, Akaix West Africa Limited, established metropolitan College Isolo (now comprising Isolo Secondary schools) in 1956.
The school was initially located at Surulere but later moved to Ire-Akari, Isolo after purchasing an expanse of land from Okota family. In the heat of the Nigerian/Biafran civil war, they returned to the Eastern part of the country for safety, but in 1970 after the civil war they returned to Lagos to continue to build the school at its permanent site at Ire -Akari, Isolo.
Mrs Ololo averred that in 1990 her husband died of frustration, pains and agony over the seizure of their school by the Lagos State Government.
With the advent of new democratic dispensation in 1999 under the leadership of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Lagos State in year 2001, by virtue of the Education Private Secondary Institutions (Special Provisions ) Repeal Law 2001 returned all the aforesaid taken over schools to their owners.
However since the year 2001 to date, their school has not been returned to them by the Lagos State Government that has been running and managing the schools, making profits therefrom despite repeated demands and protest for no just cause.
Via a letter dated 22nd of April, 2014, Barrister Malcolm Omirhobo, on behalf of the applicants wrote to the then Governor of Lagos state, Babatunde Raji Fashola, intimating him of the applicants 39 years of agony and for the schools to be returned to them but all to no avail.
Year in year out it has been meeting upon meeting, numerous correspondents, in addition to protest covered by both print and electronic media, including social media, but nothing concrete has been achieved. Read that story here: http://staging.thenewsnigeria.com.ng/2015/10/91-year-old-woman-leads-protesters-to-lagos-assembly/
Consequently, Mrs Ololo contended that she is being victimized, marginalized, exploited, discriminated against as a result of her sex as a female, class as a helpless 92-year old widow and chiefly as an igbo by tribe.
The applicants while urging the court to issue an order compelling Lagos state Government to return Metropolitan College and Isolo Secondary Schools to them without delay are also urging the court to award in their favour:
-N3.057billion as general, special and aggravated /exemplary damages against the respondents,
-N179,200,000 against the respondents as income to be generated from school fees for the
2016/2017 academic sessions and other school fees to accrue to the applicants for other academic sessions where this suit is not determined before the commencement of 2016/2017 academic sessions.
-N500,000 being the cost of this litigation against the respondents.
Omirhobo initially filed this suit before a Federal high court in Lagos before it was discontinued and refiled at the Lagos state high court. The respondents have not filed any response to the suit neither has any date been fixed for the hearing.
The author of this story Akin Kuponiyi can be reached at [email protected]