The Lagos State Government, LASG, has suspended four teachers of the Eva Adelaja Girls Secondary School in the Bariga area of the state, following their involvement in the brutality of a 14-year-old pupil of the school, Anyalewechi Ogechi.
The teachers affected are Mr. Bello (Mathematics), Mrs. Tejumaye (English language), Mrs. Omoge (Physical Education) and Mr. Bakare (Economics).
Ogechi, a Senior Secondary School 2 student, was said to have been punished after a senior prefect of the school, simply identified as Zainab, complained to the principal that Ogechi returned a slap she gave her for being rude.
The principal, Mrs. C.O. Coker alongside the just suspended teachers, reportedly flogged Ogechi following the complaint from the senior prefect, and inflicted injuries on her.
They took turns to slap her and the principal also ordered the prefect to slap her.
Ogechi was said to have been hospitalized at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, Ikeja, after the brutal assault meted on her.
Mr. Balogun, the Mathematics teacher was alleged to have told her to remove her tight (drawers) and flogged her on the buttocks.
It would be recalled that the LASG, through the Special Adviser to the Governor on Education, Fela Bank-Olemoh, said the state had commenced investigation into the allegation.
According to Bank-Olemoh, “We place value on the dignity of all students in our schools and I want to assure you that we are handling this case with due diligence.”
Meanwhile, the Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, SP Dolapo Badmos, had also said the permanent secretary of the ministry of education had already taken over the case.
The panel set up by the government to investigate the allegation, recommended their suspension.
The state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Steve Ayorinde, said the government would go to any length to discourage what happened to Ogechi.
He said, “Having taken the first step of suspension to show that the government is unhappy with what happened, we will look at it further to see what will assuage the victim’s family and what will send the right signal to the public that this is an unacceptable conduct. But I cannot say what they are in specific terms,” Ayorinde noted.
Following the recent development, the PPRO said the teachers, having being suspended, will face prosecution, noting that Coker, the principal of the school and the vice-principal, Mrs. Balogun will also face the law.
Meanwhile, the Punch gathered that some students of the school protested against the removal of their principal by the government.
It was gathered that some students of the school trooped out with placards to protest against the removal of the principal.
A source said, “Some teachers led the students to go on a protest action on Thursday. They said they wanted their teachers back and that Ogechi was not a goddess that could not be flogged.
The victim’s mother, Esther, said the family was not interested in “bringing down” the culprits, adding that the government should temper justice with mercy on the erring workers.
Ogechi’s elder brother, Joseph, said the Ministry of Youth and Social Development had assured the family that it would take up the case against the principal and others.
According to him, “The ministry has a department, the Department of Social Works, which is responsible for the protection of minors, and since Ogechi is a minor, they said they would take it up against them.
“I am happy that the case of Ogechi has got to this level of attention and I believe it will help to caution other teachers to be careful when meting out punishments to students.
“The state government had urged that Ogechi should be allowed to continue in the school, but we are yet to take a decision on it,” Joseph added.
The embattled teenager, however, said she does not want to continue in the school, as she was already facing persecution.
She said, “I regret slapping the prefect back. But with what has happened, I won’t like to continue in the school. Everybody has been looking at me as an enemy. They don’t talk to me,” Ogechi sobbed.