WHO WILL SAVE ONCE ''PRESTIGIOUS'' KINGS COLLEGE LAGOS FROM FURTHER DECAY?
A SPECIAL CERUTTI MEDIA CHARITY REPORT
What Nadege Richards once said in quote can be likened to what is going on with the falling state of life in the once great Kings College of Lagos, Nigeria
Roars the quote on downfall: “There is no sanctity. This is the downfall of innocence.”
― Nadège Richards, Asylum 54.0
Today, such is case with Kings College, once held in the highest esteem...once globally rated as a foremost Nigerian College, promoting unity in diversity and nurturing globally competitive and chivalrous gentlemen, worthy in character and learning.
The once top notch King’s College, Lagos which was founded on 20 September 1909 with 10 students; today the school has grown in leaps and bounds and has about three thousand students at present, it
has produced egg heads like Mr Hakeem Bello Osagie the President of Old students and other prominent old students, such as the current Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki, the Emir of Kano, His Royal Majesty Sanusi Lamido, Senator Sola Akinyede , Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, among several others
The school in past, also has one of the most vibrant Old Student Association in the country based on the eminent Nigerians the school has produced. The association was duly incorporated with the Corporate Affairs Commission. It currently headed by a respectable business man Hakeem Bello-Osagie, CEO, Etisalat, Nigeria.
Like most of Nigerian secondary school and colleges, the school also has a functional Parent Teacher Association (PTA), which forms a formidable bond between the parents and the school teachers.
WHO WILL SAVE KINGS COLLEGE?
In a world press conference last Friday at the 1960 EAGLE PARK HOTEL IKEJA, a few concerned parents of the school voice their anger
Here is their loud cry as stated in a paper that began with....’’ Who will save Kings College? For , the current leadership of the school through its Principal, Otunba Oladele Olapeju has bastardised the cordial relationship between the school authority and a good number of the parents.
Based on this, in 2011, a petition dated 29th November, 2011 was sent to the Hon. Minister of State on Education, Federal Ministry of Education, this was as regard the attitude of the school Principal, Otunba Oladele Olapeju, some of the issues raised in the petition is already a subject matter of litigation before the Lagos High Court in suit Nos. ID/142/2012.
Issues raised in the said petition include,
Disruption of PTA Meeting/Executive, Construction of the PTA Hostel Scam, Admission Scam, Unhealthy Boarding House Facility, Commercialising The School Premises, Imposed Raffle Ticket Levy and Mismanagement Of PTA Fund (See attached documents)
PRESS CALLED TO HELP KNGS COLLEGE
Today, we want to use this opportunity to reiterate that the situation is still the same while the crisis is far from over. After several efforts to ensure that the school Principal is called to order and things are put in the right perspective proved abortive (The last one was the letter sent to the PTA Chairman, Mr. Oriakhi Emmanuel dated June 12th 2015), we belief it is high time the issue was made public before it degenerates further, while getting the attention of the new government at the centre to come to our aid in ensuring a better condition of learning for our sons. This underscores why we brought you here today.
Meanwhile, to reinforce our earlier position as concerned parents of the school, we bring to you some of the persistent ugly trends in the school at present.
The Principal’s and PTA Chairman’s nonchalant attitude and unsatisfactory responses to the grievances of the parents: It has become the habitual manner of the school principal and his PTA chairman to repel every peaceful effort made by the parents to seek their audiences. Most recent one was the letter sent to the PTA Chairman, Mr. Oriakhi Emmanuel dated June 12th 2015 where the school principal was copied. Till date the chairman has not considered it appropriate to grant the parents audience.
PTA’s Constitution Constitution-The constitution of most PTAs stipulate that a General Meeting of the Association shall be held every term of the college academic year and at such other time as the Executive Committee may decide. This is not being adhered to in King’s College. The meeting has been held only once this academic year and we are currently in third term. The association leadership has chose in its own interest not to call for meeting as at when due and it has remains adamant in resisting every opportunity to have such. This has militated against fair running of the association and made the crisis more persistent and irremovable.
It is also common practice that the Executive Committee of the association shall appoint, each year an Auditor, subject to the approval of the association a general meeting who shall not be one of its own members to audit the accounts of the association and report thereon to the general meeting.
The question now is that; to whom and how is the Auditor going to give his reports when meetings has not been held? Not to talk about the approval of the said Auditor!
In addition, the constituting the Executive Members of the association has been bastardized by the school principal, he appointed the School Store Keeper as PTA Financial Secretary while he imposed one Mrs. Umeano as the Secretary and later Fapohunda S.O., who is also a Teacher in king's college (Yoruba Teacher) without the approval of the general meeting as stipulated by the constitution. Over the years they have been cronies in running the affairs of the association while misappropriating it funds.
The last Income & Expenditure Account of the Association presented by its leadership was for the Year Ended 28th February, 2014. Since then over a year now, none has been presented.
Gross Mismanagement of Funds: In the face of the persistent chaotic condition of running the school, which is importantly underscored by non adherence to the association’s constitution, there are evidences of gross mismanagement of PTA funds by the PTA authority in conjunction with school principal.
Based on the Income & Expenditure Account for the Year Ended 28th February, 2014. The income generated 2012-2013 was N161, 410, 876 and expenditure was N150,595,012 with the balance of N10, 815,855 while in 2013 -2014 was N145, 045, 430 and N134, 062, 932 for income and expenditure respectively with N10, 982, 498 as balance.
It was recorded that “salaries and wages” N26, 106,000 and N33, 843,500 for 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 respectively this is totalling N59, 949,500. (Fifty nine million, nine hundred and forty nine thousand, five hundred naira)
We belief it is appropriate to ask; for who and what purpose was the money paid?
Also in these 2 years, “Sewage Dislodge& Repairs” took a total N3, 549, 612 and “Plumbing Repairs & Water Reticulation” consumed N5, 958,660 the two totalling N9,508,272 (Nine million, five hundred and eight thousand two hundred and seventy two thousand naira). In two years this is highly suspicious, for a school
For “PR & Honorarium & Allowances” the association spent a total sum of N5, 342,500 (Five million, three hundred and forty two thousand and five hundred naira). We will like to have details of this!
Outside this N987, 000 is also spent on Advert & Publicity in one year!
In these 2 years “Donation to Stakeholders” also consumed N3, 376,100(Three million, three hundred thousand and one hundred naira). Who are these stakeholders and for what purpose is the money given?
“Impress” also took N2, 756,050 in 2013-2014. Who collected this impress?
N3, 300,000 was also spent on “Fumigation” in one year!
These among others are what we considered suspicious. With the background that the chairman has been running the affairs of the association with impunity we are convinced that there is gross mismanagement and misappropriation of funds.
Laundry: the laundry issue has become very problematic and controversial while the PTA authority does not worry. It was agreed at the general meeting that the laundry fee should be optional for every child but the school authority still made it compulsory for everybody by charging N3000 per student. The fact is that most of the students wash their cloths by themselves.
Meanwhile, in the Income & Expenditure Account for the Year Ended 28th February, 2014, the school reportedly spent N10, 479,832 and N14, 774,000 in the year 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 respectively totalling N25,253,832 (Twenty five million, two hundred and fifty three thousand and eighty thirty two naira only) on “Laundry”. This is highly unacceptable!
It is also sacrosanct to note here that, the PTA chairman and the school principal unilaterally award contracts and give it to their cronies without the consent and approval of the general meeting as recognised by the conventional proceedings.
NICON Insurance: The insurance policy was purchased by the school authority without the consent of the parents. The terms and condition was not known to the parents. Meanwhile, the Federal Government has instructed the school authority to refund every child the sum of N5000 paid, but this has not been done till date.
Over Commercialisation of the School Premises: This has also been recurrent and the major issue now is that it has constituted security risks for the pupils especially the usage of the school hall at the Victoria Island annex for social functions. More so, the school premises is also been used as car park by staff and visitors of GTBank, AIICO Insurance, IBM, Churchgate companies among others. If not absolutely outlawed, this can be controlled to make the environment more conducive for learning and mental development.
We are not totally against the use of the school hall and field for corporate events and academic activities, but we are insisting, that it must be the ones that will have positive impact on the students.
Meanwhile, the use of the school for social party during school sessions is totally unacceptable to the Parents!
Sometimes ago, the immediate past Governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Fashola SAN, through the Ministry of The Environment ordered the demolition of shops inside the school premises, now, at the exit of Babatunde Fashola from office, the principal is erecting new shops.
We are also aware that the principal is also planning to concession the school to a company for parking space. At present, some of the companies that use the school premises as car park have turned the place into a car wash. This is very unfortunate.
In addition, the school facilities are also being used for camping activities during holidays. It is alarming to note that the same bed where the children sleep is where these campers also sleep. Could they be the annual bringer of bed bugs to KC? We belief it is not safe to give out their beds to strangers!
At present, most of the children are currently suffering from serious bed bugs afflicted infections, which they have brought home to their parents!
Overpopulation of the Classrooms: Due to the recurrent Admission Scam which started in 2012, the school is now witnessing overpopulation of classrooms.
A classroom that initially seated fifty students is now having sixty two students; this is very unwholesome for learning. We are using this opportunity to appeal to the school to cut down on admission of new students.
This has also resulted into the overcrowding of hostels and over usage of the facilities. The children are now allocated 2 to a bed.
The School’s Poor Food Menu: The poor nature of the food served for the boarding students is unimaginable; this made many students not to eat beans and yam porridge when served in the school. More so, students are not served with water while having their meals, they have to buy water separately from the school to eat their meals.
In addition, because of health issues which many parents have initially complained about, students’ haircuts should be made optional. We never wanted this part but the Principal and PTA gave us no options. More so, the school clinic is perpetually in darkness and lack basic materials as little as sterilizer.
In Conclusion, we will like to submit that we demand a PTA meeting to discuss the welfare of our children which the PTA/school authorities have refused to call for awhile.
For records, we need all the bank statements and names of PTA contractors and all invoices used for payments for verification's.
We have spoken to our lawyer Festus Keyamo in case there's need to go to court next week as we are sending official petitions to EFCC and ICPC on The PTA fund management.
We also like to bring to the notice of the National Association of Parents and Teachers of Federal Government Colleges (NAPTAFEGC) that KC Lagos is not using the approved constitution of the national body for its operations. As far as we are concerned, the current PTA chairman of King's College, Lagos, Mr. Oriakhi Emmanuel is not a transparent man and therefore should not be considered for any national elective post.
Most importantly, we use this opportunity to call on Mr Hakeem Bello Osagie the President of Old students and other prominent old students, such as the current Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki, the Emir of Kano, His Royal Majesty Sanusi Lamido, Senator Sola Akinyede , Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, Wale Adenuga among others to intervene and safe King’s College from this ignoble path orchestrated by the current principal and the PTA chairman. They should see to the dilapidated school structures.
Moreover, we will like to draw the attention of the Federal Government to state of Unity schools nationwide. In most cases it is the PTA money that's running the schools now. The government should be up and doing in its responsibilities to the Unity Schools. The official money paid by a parent into Unity School is getting close to N200, 000, this is becoming too outrageous. It is becoming too elusive for an average Nigerian.
In the same vein, the teachers are not smiling; the condition service is getting poorer while most of the schools are short staffed. Here the case of King’s College is critical, while the teachers and inadequate, especially at the Junior School, the school is having six vice principals, this is strange!
Gentlemen of the Press, as responsible parents we are doing our part to bring back the lost glory of prestigious King’s College Lagos and we implore you to join us in this fight against corruption, misconduct, unprofessionalism and deliberate impunity been exhibited by the management of the school.
We will also like to also bring it to your notice that recently the principal called a press conference and took the media on tour of the school around 8pm in the night. Why night? We challenge the Principal and PTA to a joint tour of the schools facilities in day time, if they don't have anything to hide from the media.
We want to also counter the information that the principal released to the public that there was a violent protest at the school premises last weekend, was not just untrue but also mischievous. Most of the information was to deceive the general public. Against what he told the public, as a group we have met him more than three times in the last one month, but he was apparently adamant in running the affairs of the school like a private business.
We are not afraid of the resultant threat from the Principal as he has boasted that he would bring us to book for daring to ask how our children under his care is being taken care of. And that he can't be removed or touched!
We have brief our lawyer on the threat to our lives and our children! Nothing must happen to us and our family!
We sincerely belief that posterity will judge everyone for every action taken today’ was how the concerned parents cried out.