Reedemer’s College petitions Ogun EPA over ‘illegal poultry farm’

By BY CHINEDU UWAEGBULAM AND IMONIKHE AYENI   |   02 May 2010   |   10:00 pm  
A PRIVATE institution owned by one of the foremost Pentecostal churches has lodged a complaint with the Ogun State Environmental Protection Agency (OGEPA) on an alleged pollution by a poultry farm situated close to its premises along Sagamu/Ikorodu Road in Ogun State. The school, Christ the Redeemer’s College and Christ the Redeemer Science Academy, owned by the Redeemed Christian Church has accused the owners of the farm of constituting environmental health nuisance to students. The poultry presently harbours three pen houses and a fourth which is still under construction, is directly behind the kitchen and dinning hall of the schools.

The School Principal, Miss Antoniette Omo-Osagie, stated that the college was sited in the area in 1995 because of serenity and cleanness of the air. She complained that the serenity was infringed upon last year July when some persons were clearing the ground behind her school. “We felt initially happy that at last we are going to have neighbours, but when it became clear that a poultry was going to be sited behind us, we called the owner to advise him against it.

“Our invitation was not obliged, until August last year when he eventually came to my office. We told him, this is a residential area and the state’s government urban planning law should not site a large poultry farm in a residential area. We then appealed to him to shift his birds up land and convert his present place to a field mill, to safeguard the health of the students and teachers in the schools,” she said.

Omo-Osagie said: “When we discovered that the farmer was not ready to comply, we reported the matter to the State’s Environmental Protection Agency. After inspection the agency agreed that the poultry is operating illegally as the area was planned for residential purposes and promised us that the agency will work to remove the poultry. But so far nothing has been heard from OGEPA”

However, the school authorities are also accusing the OGEPA of foot dragging on the issue after its petition to the agency. But the agency officials denied it. The agency Head Sanitation Task and Force, Mr. Shofel Akinbode and the Director Inspectorate and Monitoring, Alhaji M.O Adetimilehin, Ogun State Environmental Protection Agency, confirmed receiving a letter from the schools and actually visited the schools.

Akinbode refuted the assertion that the agency had been sluggish in treating the issue, “immediately the matter was reported here we took actions, sometime ago we arranged a meeting for both parties where the farmer threatened the school, after the threat we advised both parties to resolve the matter amicably, since no further complaints has been reported we felt the issues have been amicably resolved.

“When we visited the area, we discovered that the poultry farm is exactly behind the school’s kitchen, I specifically told the poultry farmer, during our visit that his farm cannot be there, because it is a residential area. The school brought all the documents from the various ministries in the state. But when we asked the farmer for his papers he had nothing to show.”

Adetimilehin said that a large poultry farm could not be located in a residential area, “the laws only allows that a mini poultry farm of not more than 20 birds to be located in a residential area.” He told journalist that the issue would be revisited and justice would take its cause.

“I have personally made contacts to see if there could be a soft landing for the farmer, but he is building more pen houses and buying more birds,” she added.

The chairman, Parenting Teachers Association (PTA) Mr. Ayoyinka Akinsoye said that children who lived in serene environment at home could not be living in a poultry farm. He said that if nothing was done to the poultry farm, parents might be forced to remove their children en mass from the school.

The proprietor of the poultry farm who doubles as the Managing Director, Jadefa Enterprises Limited, a shipping company in Lagos, Alhaji B. A. Ogundipe, who spoke on phone said that the school was witch hunting him due to his refusal to sell a part of his land to them, which the school refuted. The school principal said that the school had not developed half of its 30 hectare of land.

Ogundipe who is an indigene of the community (Konigbagbe Village) accused the school that after 15 years of its existence in the community it had failed in its corporate social responsibility. He said that his farm had provided employment to people living in the community, and in the near future would provide electricity to the community.



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