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BREAKING: Lagos govt commences regeneration of Ajegunle schools

Worried by the state of disrepair of the school blocks and classroom inadequacy in the area, the Lagos State Government, through the Special Committee on Rehabilitation of Public Schools (SCRPS), has commenced the regeneration of the Tolu School Complex in Ajegunle, Ajeromi-Ifelodun Local Government Area of the state.

Chairman of the Special Committee on Rehabilitation of Public Schools (SCRPS), Mr Hakeem Smith, said the regeneration exercise followed
a comprehensive assessment instructed by the Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

To make Tolu Complex a state-of-the-art education city, he disclosed that SCRPS is proposing the construction of an additional 13 of 18 classroom blocks with offices and toilets in some of the schools with a shortage of classrooms.

Besides, he said the proposal included the renovation of identified dilapidated classroom blocks; the construction of a perimeter fence and gatehouse; the construction of new inner roads and drainages; and the rehabilitation of existing access roads.

Others include the construction of a health-care centre; the construction of a fire service station; the construction of a multi-purpose sports complex; the construction of a facility management office; the construction of other external works such as gates, food sheds, canteens, etc.; external electrical works such as solar-powered flood lights; the provision of an all-inclusive school to accommodate people with disabilities; and the provision of land for the ICT hub, central laboratory, and arts and creativity blocks under a private sponsorship arrangement.

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Justifying reasons for the redevelopment of the school complex, he explained that the fact that Ajeromi-Ifelodun Local Government has a growing population of 1,077,735 (Est. 2020) inhabitants, with 33.8 per cent aged between 0 and 14 years, made it imperative for the ambitious regeneration exercise.

He explained that the intervention would cater to the educational needs of the locality.

Smith believes that a holistic regeneration of the Tolu complex will help build capacity in the areas of science, technology, sports, and academics due to the state-of-the-art structures and facilities that will be situated in that area.

“It would be an all-in education and recreation school community for all,” he said.

Sitting on an expanse of approximately 11.73 hectares, the Tolu School Complex was established in 1981 by Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakande’s administration. In propagating his mass education policy, the state government at the time reclaimed the subject parcel of land from the Lagos Lagoon.

This was necessary due to the dense population of the area and the lack of suitable space for the establishment of public schools. The complex itself was in two parcels separated by Temidire Street, covering an expanse of approximately 11.73 hectares. Parcel A covers 10.61 hectares, while Parcel B measures 1.12 hectares. The school complex started with just two schools, then called School 1 and School II, after which they were renamed Unity Secondary School and Olodi Apapa Secondary School, respectively.

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In 1982–1983, some other schools came up, namely: Adeolu Secondary School, Newland Secondary School, Ojoku Secondary School, Ojora Memorial Secondary School, and Oshodi Secondary School. During the era of Air Commodore Gbolahan Mudashiru, who was Lagos State Governor from 1984–1986, he continued the work of his predecessor in improving the school infrastructure by upgrading the existing Jakande blocks to standard ones, and more schools were added to the ever-growing community.

“At the moment, we have thirty-six (36) schools within Tolu Complex, which are distributed as follows: five primary schools, 15 junior secondary schools, and 16 senior secondary schools,” he said.

Having been in existence for decades and subjected to intense usage, he said the existing classroom blocks within the complex were obviously in different stages of dilapidation.

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“From the ones requiring rehabilitation to the ones that need to be demolished and re-developed,. The complex comprises several existing structures housing all the schools and four existing access roads, Lagos State Water Corporation Storage, the John Ighalo Football Pitch, and other amenities like food sheds and kiosks, which are boarded by the lagoon,” Smith said.

During the several reconnaissance and assessment visits to the Tolu Complex by SCRPS officials, he said, “The following problems were identified: High student-to-classroom ratio, which is not conducive to learning. There is a pressing need for additional classroom blocks. Most of the existing blocks require urgent rehabilitation as the blocks are in various stages of dilapidation. Lack of recreational facilities, laboratories, teachers and principals’ offices, toilets, etc. Non-clearly defined boundaries within the school, encouraging inter-school scuffles and fights.

“Inadequate access roads within the complex; recurrent issue of flooding within the entire complex; security issues in the form of school break-ins; theft; non-availability of ICT infrastructure within the complex; lack of perimeter fencing—allowing incessant activities of miscreants within the area.” “All these deficiencies in standard requirements necessitated the need to regenerate the entire complex,” the special adviser to the governor said.

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