Imo govt seals private varsity over political ties

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In what appears to be a political tussle, the Imo State government has sealed the campus of the Eastern Palm University, Ogboko.

This development, which also implies halting all activities in the school, is coming barely 24 hours to its well publicised matriculation ceremony billed for Saturday, 5th December.

The University which was built by former Governor Rochas Okorocha in his hometown Ogboko, during his administration, is said to have been established under a PPP arrangement that gave Senator Rochas Okorocha a vast controlling share of the University.

The university was shut down by a combined team of security agents and officials of the Ministry of Education led by the Commissioner for Education, Prof. B. T. O. Ikegwuoha, thereby abruptly ending all academic activities and weeks of preparations by matriculants.

According to eyewitnesses, government officials had stormed the University premises at a time the University management was getting set to interact with new intakes, their parents and friends.

One of the sources said, “the commissioner of Education had walked to the Vice Chancellor’s office where he conveyed to him government’s position on the institution. Contacted, the Commissioner for Education, Prof. B. T. O. Ikegwuoha confirmed the development.

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He affirmed that he led a team of official from his ministry to seal the Eastern Palms University which he confirmed belongs to Imo State government and not to the former Governor.

When asked if the move was as a result of any subsisting court order, he said there is no encumbrance or dispute on ownership of the school as the facts available to the government shows that the school was built with state fund on a land acquired using instruments of government.

“Why should we go to court to take over what belongs to government,” Ikegwuoha queried.

Meanwhile, effort to reach the Registrar of the Institution, Mr. Ernest Onuoha proved abortive as he did not pick his calls or return same.

It would be recalled that few months ago, some landowners from Ogwume, Obiohia, Umuchima, Ogboko, Umueshi filed a lawsuit against Senator Rochas Okorocha, the Eastern Palm University, and the Imo State Government asking Governor Hope Uzodimma to either return ownership and management of the University to the Government or return their ancestral lands upon which the University was built, to them.

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