Oyo SUBEB voices concern over school’s land being leased as burial sites

The administration of a church that borders St. Paul’s Primary School in Odo-Ona, Ibadan has been urged by the Oyo State Government to take student welfare into account and cease using the school’s open space as burial sites. 

In September 2023, the administration of Oyo State issued an order declaring it unlawful to establish buildings on public property within the state’s schools.

During a monitoring exercise of the state’s school reopening on Tuesday, Dr. Nureni Adeniran, the Executive Chairman of the Oyo State Universal Basic Education Board, disclosed this information.

Teams from the Oyo State Universal Basic Education Board were sent to various basic schools to oversee the second-term student resumption.

The chairman and his team at the school in Odo-ona, Ibadan, observed that in addition to taking up space, the church built graves close to classrooms.

According to Adeniran, the board cannot tolerate the cemetery’s existence on school property, even if there is still room for the school.

“It was gathered that the church that shares land space with the school just started encroaching on the school space, leasing the available land as a burial ground,” he said.

“Hence, it is unfair that the siting of the school and its pupils did not matter to the church, making the school and the burial site share a very close boundary”.

“In one of the classrooms, a look through the window by the pupils would mean a look into the world of the dead because of the proximity”, Adeniran lamented.

Adeniran added that “a school having a functional cemetery as its neighbour means witnessing burial rites has become a part of the learning process for the pupils.”

He, therefore, instructed the Education Secretary, Ibadan South-West, Mrs Morenike Adeniran and other Local Government Universal Basic Education Authority staff members to meet with the vicar of the church.

While monitoring other schools within the Ibadan metropolis, Adeniran explained that the Oyo state government has warned head teachers against late resumption.

Nonetheless, he expressed his happiness with the compliance of teachers in the observed schools and urged parents to let their kids go for school-related activities.

Speaking earlier at St. Paul’s Primary school, a community leader, Rev. Julius Oguns said the land title bears the name of the school and not the church.

He urged the Oyo State Government to investigate the situation since students are being exposed to offensive views of the cemetery in a classroom setting.

The three schools under observation were Community Model Basic School in Elewura, Christ the King Catholic School in Odo Ona, Ibadan, and St. Paul’s Primary School in Gada-Apata.

Other schools include Methodist Basic Schools I and II in Agodi, Ibadan, and St. John School 1 and 2, Aremo.