Thursday, March 24, 2016 12:28 pm
By Eromosele Ebhomele
The Lagos State Government through the House of Assembly has launched a probe into the alleged brutality suffered by Miss Ogechi Blessing, a 14-year old student of the Eva Adelaja Secondary School, Bariga area of the state in the hands of the school’s principal, vice-principal and some teachers.
If found culpable, the teachers may be sanctioned according to the laws guiding the state’s education sector.
The probe coincides with the move by the family of the brutalised girl to sue the state government over the incident.
Lanre Ogunyemi, the chairman of the House Committee on Education, spoke on the alleged brutality of Ogechi now trending on the internet, when he visited the Eletu Odibo Grammar School and the Education District IV in Yaba area of the state late Wednesday and summoned the school’s principal for not being around when the committee visited.
The lawmaker said the era of impunity by teachers in the state would no longer be condoned.
He disclosed that the committee has begun investigating the battering of Ogechi just as he further promised that the House would champion the introduction of an Education Trust Fund to support government’s efforts at revitalising the education sector of the state.
Ogechi was allegedly beaten to stupor by the teachers on 16 March 2016 after she retaliated when the school’s head girl slapped her.
Those suspected to have beaten the student include Mrs. C. O Coker, the school principal, a Mathematics teacher, whose name was given as Mr. Bello, an Economics teacher named Mr. Bakare, an English teacher whose name was given as Mrs. Tejumaye, her colleague named Mrs. Omoge, as well as the school vice principal, Mrs. Balogun.
The senior secondary 2 student was allegedly stripped of her uniform and caned on her back and bare buttocks and slapped severally. After the beating, the student was thereafter asked to cut grass for four hours in the sun.
Ogunyemi, who stressed that he would not want to conclude on who was guilty since the case was still being investigated, added: “why would the senior girl slap another student, that is very wrong. Also, if the school wants to punish any student, they should only give him or her, at most, four strokes of cane and this has to be supervised by the principal,” he said describing the incident as the height of barbarism.
To him, teachers should be caretakers of children and must exude good examples at every point in time rather than being brutish.
“All the same, the House Committee on Education is wading into the matter to investigate what happened with a view to preventing a future occurrence,” he said adding that no parent would be happy to see such level of maltreatment on his ward.
Concerning the tour his committee began over two weeks ago, Ogunyemi said the committee was able to discover many things that needed to be looked into. For example, he said the state needed to build more schools and provide more infrastructures for the teeming population of students in the schools.
“I would say that the government cannot do everything, we also need the support of the private sector to provide infrastructure in our schools.
“However, I feel that we need to have Education Trust Fund in the state and the Education Committee of the House is working towards that,” he said.
The Committee was received at the District by the Tutor General/Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Are-Adegbite Lola, and other senior staff of the district.
Ogunyemi made it clear that the situation of things at the Eletu Odibo Senior High School in the district was not encouraging as the school’s information centre looked abandoned and that the computers were dusty tasking the Tutor-General to ensure that the teachers are up to the tasks expected of them.
“We carry out unexpected visits to schools to see things for ourselves. We must ensure that we do our best in the sector and leave it better than we met it. Education is critical to development whether economic or social.
“The sector should be a reference point to other states in the federation. We believe that access to education should not be for the rich alone. So we need to make our schools better,” he said adding that reports of school inspectors should be critically analysed.
Reacting, Mrs. Are-Adegbite promised to go round the schools in the district and thanked the committee members for their visit.
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