92-year old widow drags Lagos governor to court over school ownership

AmbodeA 92-year old widow, Roseline Ololo, has dragged Governor Akinwunmi Ambode before a Federal High Court, Lagos, seeking the return of her schools back to her.

Mrs. Ololo instituted a fundamental rights action against the governor, saying she founded Metropolitan College and Isolo Secondary School in Lagos.

Joined as respondents in the suit are the Federal Government of Nigeria, the Attorney General of the Federation, the Minister of Education, the Lagos State Government, Lagos State Attorney General, and the Lagos State Commissioner for Education.

Mrs. Ololo is praying the court for a declaration that the refusal by the Lagos State Government to return her school is unjust, unconstitutional, illegal and unlawful.

According to her deposed affidavit, Mrs. Ololo stated that she, and Mr. Akaihieobi, her husband (now deceased), moved from Eastern Nigeria to Lagos colony in 1940, and 12 years later incorporated a company, Akaix Africa Ltd, with which they established Metropolitan College.

“Via a letter with Ref No: CEO/18L/31/25 dated March 1, 1956 our company was granted permission by the Federal Ministry of Education, to establish Metropolitan College of Commerce,” Mrs. Ololo stated in her affidavit.

“The school for about 18 years of existence, was located at No 15 Banire St., Surulere in a rented apartment.

“In 1966, before the Nigeria/Biafran Civil war, we purchased over 8.17 hectares of land at the Atire-akari Isolo area of Lagos.”

She said for expansion purposes and to move away from the thickly populated residential area of Surulere, they moved to the new site in 1974.

“In 1976, through the Education (Private Secondary Institutions Special Provisions) Law, the Military Government of Lagos State took over 48 Private Secondary Schools from their owners, including Metropolitan College.

“In the process, Isolo Secondary School was carved out of Metropolitan College on the same expanse of land hosting the college.

“However, in 2001, the administration of Chief Ahmed Bola Tinubu repealed the law and returned the said 48 private schools to their owners,” Mrs. Ololo stated.

But Metropolitan College was, curiously, not returned to its owners, according to the widow, a development which she said brought about the lawsuit.

Mrs. Ololo is therefore praying the court for a declaration that the refusal of the respondents to return back her schools violated her constitutional rights to acquire and own landed properties.

She averred that the acts of the respondents amount to a willful attempt to exploit, marginalise and victimise her on account of her sex as a female, and her status as an old person.

Mrs. Ololo urged the court to restrain the respondents from further infringing on her fundamental right, as well as an order, returning her properties back to her.

A hearing date is yet to be fixed for the suit.

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