The Abia state government has handed over to their original owners 19 schools taken over by government 42 years ago under the first phase of the exercise.
There have been a lot of agitations by voluntary organizations, (missions),and private proprietors to have their schools back from the government, a situation that led the state government to set up a committee to work out the modalities for the eventual handover of the schools back to their original owners.
The schools handed over by the government include the Wilcox comprehensive secondary school, Ogbor Hill, Aba owned by qua Ibo church, Ihie High school, Ihie owned by the seventh Day Adventist church, Eziama High school, Aba owned by Apostolic Christian church, Evangel High school Umuahia owned by the Assemblies of God church and the All saints secondary school Ehere Aba owned by the Presbyterian church.
Others are the Methodist college, Uzuakoli, Girls secondary school, Ovim, Girls High school Ugwunchara, Umuahia and Ngodo Girls secondary school, Ngodo Umunneochi owned by the Methodist church.The Sacred Heart college Ezuikwu, Aba, Maria coronate secondary school, Ohafia, Olokoro High school Olokoro, Holy Ghost Technical school, Olokoro and Girls secondary school Umuahia all of the catholic church.
The rest are Ovom Girls High school, Ovom, Aba, Grammer school,Nbawsi and Ngwa High school, , Abayi, Aba owned by the Anglican church as well as Iheorji secondary school, Aba and secondary Technical school, Ogbor Hill, Aba privately owned.
Speaking at the ceremony, the Governor, Chief T. A. Orji said other schools owned by voluntary agencies and privately owned schools will be handed over to their owners in due course, adding that the exercise is not limited to secondary schools but will later extend to the primary schools.
He stated that with the takeover of schools by government in the 1970’s discipline and morality as well as the standard of education has fallen and said government has shown commitment to the return of schools with the Abia state government education law no. 5 of 2011 which abrogates the education edict 1970 of the East central state.
Chief Orji maintained that government is anxious to see an improvement in the standard of education at all levels in the state and saw the handover of schools to their original owners as reasonable and therefore urged the beneficiaries to see the venture as a special privilege to be cherished to develop the education industry.
In her speech, the Commissioner for Education, Dr. Monica Philips said the Governor is committed to the development of the education sector since education remains key to development.
The chairman of the occasion, Gen. Ike Nwachukwu Rtd. saluted the resourcefulness of the Governor in deciding to return the schools to their former owners and called on private investors to invest in the education sector.
Responding on behalf of the others, the catholic bishop of Umuahia Diocese, most Rev Lucius Ugorji thanked the Governor for doing what past governments could not do and assured that the proprietors are committed to excellence in academics and will strive to inject morality and spirituality in the education system of the state while urged the government to reconstruct and rehabilitate the schools.