The Lagos State Government (LASG), has recalled the Principal of Eva Adelaja Girls Secondary School and four other teachers, who were suspended after thorough investigation into a case of alleged brutality against a pupil named Ogechi Anyalewechi.
It was gathered that Anyalewechi – a Senior Secondary School 2 student – ‘returned’ a slap given to her by a school prefect, simply identified as Zainab after the latter had served her with abusive words.
Zainab then complained to the principal that Ogechi ‘returned’ a slap she gave her for being rude.
The principal, Mrs. C.O. Coker alongside the four suspended teachers; Mr. Bello (Mathematics); Mrs. Tejumaye (English language); Mrs. Omoge (Physical Education) and Mr. Bakare (Economics), reportedly whipped Ogechi severely leading to injuries that landed her at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH).
Due to this, LASG ordered that the principal and the teachers be suspended for their roles in the incident.
However, a source told The Punch that the decision had been rescinded and the affected workers recalled after the intervention of the Nigerian Union of Teachers, (NUT).
The source said, “The principal of the school has been recalled to the school, as well as all the affected teachers. Immediately the state government ordered their suspension, the case was reported to the NUT. The union then wrote the government, asking that the decision be rescinded.
“The NUT kicked against the suspension and advised that they should be returned to the school. They have been asked to go back, and that was just few days after the suspension. There is no way the pupil can stay in the school with what has happened.”
Speaking on the matter, the Chairman of the NUT, Segun Raheem, claimed that investigations showed that Ogechi’s injuries were concocted.
He said, “When we heard of the case, we swung into action. We went to the school and the education district to have firsthand information of what actually transpired.
“Immediately the incident happened, what the district did was to ask all of them to stop working and start reporting to the district. We felt the decision was wrong. How can you just take action against people without hearing from them or issuing queries?
“The district said a committee was set up by the Ministry of Youths and Sports, and we said it was wrong because the workers were under the Ministry of Education.”
“The Ministry of Education in conjunction with the district set up a Personnel Management Board, PMB, which said “the principal and teachers did not do enough to save the situation, the PMB however recommended some punishments for the teachers.”
Furthermore, the Chairman said that the claim that she was taken to a hospital after the beating was untrue.
He said, “We went to the school and took a real life photograph of the girl and there were signs of strokes of cane on her back because she’s fair. Any fair-complexioned person, even if you hold the person, there will be marks. And that was exactly what we felt.
“The marks were fabricated. It is the work of an expert. The claim that the girl was sick or taken to the hospital are all lies. They are the handiwork of a non-governmental organisation that wants to be relevant. The case was exaggerated out of proportion.”
Meanwhile, the victim’s brother, Joseph, said he was disappointed in the NUT for saying the photos were fabricated, adding that the family was awaiting school’s resumption before taking a decision on the matter.