Enforcing discipline in schools, attack on teachers and matters arising

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By Bankole Taiwo

The news broke last week Tuesday of how a 35-yr-old man, Abidemi Oluwaseun reportedly stormed Baptist Girls College, Idi Aba, Abeokuta with two hired thugs armed with cutlass to deal decisive blow to one of the teachers who beat his 15-yr old daughter.

According to statement from the Spokesman of the State Police Command, DSP Abimbola Oyeyemi, the names of the alleged thugs were given as Fayesele Olabanji aged 25 and 24 years old Alebiosu Quawiyum.

Abidemi Oluwaseun and his two hired thugs were said to have been picked up after a distress call from the Principal of the secondary school to the police division, Kemta, Abeokuta detailing how three men allegedly armed with brand new cutlass invaded the school with an unregistered vehicle, threatening to hack down a teacher of the school.

The police said that preliminary investigation revealed that, while the teacher was teaching, some of the students including the suspect’s daughter were mocking the teacher and distracting other students.

The teacher, however, after identifying those disturbing the class reportedly flogged them as a corrective measure, but the suspect’s daughter went home and reported to her father, consequent upon which her father mobilized two thugs and stormed the school to avenge the discipline meted out to his daughter.

The Commissioner of Police for the state, CP Lanre Bankole, was said to have ordered that the suspects be properly investigated and charged to court as soon as possible.

The dust of this incident has not settled down when there was another reported bloody attack on the teachers of Unity High School, Kajola, Ibooro, in Ado-Odo/Ota local government area of the state.

The account of the report was not anything different to the earlier one as a particular parent, an Aunt to a set of twins was alleged to have hired hoodlums and stormed the school to take a pound of flesh from some teachers who dared beat the twins.

The hoodlums were said to have come with machetes and charms beating the daylight of the teachers with many of the teachers suffering varying degrees of injuries and taken to hospital for medical treatment.

The Chairman of Academic Staff Union of Secondary Schools (ASUSS) in Ado-Odo/ Ota local government, Comrade Akande Olusanjo, was said to have confirmed the report condemning it and calling on relevant government agencies to rise in defence of unwarranted attack against the defenceless teachers.

The Divisional Police Officer of Atan Police station CSP Abolade Oladigbolu who confirmed the incident was reported to have said that several reports have been coming from this particular school in the past on similar ugly incidents, hence he had ordered the arrest and detention of the Aunt of the two girls until the miscreants who unleashed terror on the school were produced while the case will be charged to court.

As if this was not enough, our Correspondent also heard that similar occurrence was recorded at Egba Comprehensive High School, Asero last week Thursday.

Fight was said to have broken out when an SS2 female student disrespected one of the Vigilantes guarding the school but while the Vigilante officer was trying to correct her, she twisted the whole issue and engaged the officer in a scuffle.

The female student was alleged to have deliberately turned the whole issue to a fracas because her lover, a male student who is a cultist was around with his friend.

The report has it that before anyone could say Jack Robinson, the school had been turned into another battle ground with stones being freely thrown and that it was one of the stones aimed at the Vigilante officer that  landed on the head of the girl injuring her.

The girl was said to have been taken to the school clinic for treatment but while receiving treatment, her aunt came in after which 10 other hoodlums entered the school and pronto, stones began flying some of which damaged the windshield of some cars belonging to the teachers.

Security forces such as Police and Nigeria Security Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) were said to have been brought in to bring the situation under control and that even the following day, the police patrol vehicle stationed at the gate of the school was attacked too.

Two boys were said to have been arrested in connection with this disturbing incident.

Speaking with our Correspondent, an educationist and teacher in one of the schools in the state, Mr Tope Adeleke described these incidents as another sad commentary on our wobbling education sector saying that relevant stakeholders like the parents, and particularly the government must rise up and crush this barbaric act before further damage is done.

Mr Adeleke said, “I feel pained that the teachers are being harassed and tormented for doing just their job, it’s a dangerous trend that will make life further difficult for all. It is part of the training as an educationist to motivate a child when he or she does well and of course to punish and reprimand when he or she goes wrong. A child left to himself is surely keeping date with destruction.

“In those days when a teacher punishes, parents will even ask the teacher to punish you the more because they wanted the best for their children. But these days, it’s terrible our value system has been eroded, we are now copying the western world, this is not going to work. In fact, some are even bringing their children from abroad back to the country to learn.

“I just hope that the government will not sit by and allow every sector of our life to collapse right before us. Parents and anyone involved in these dastardly acts should be made to face the music irrespective of the status of such people in the society. The House of Assembly can even enact a law to make it a grievous offence for anyone to attack a teacher for doing his job, helping to ensure that we have responsible people in the society. I also urge government to ensure that there is provision of adequate security for the schools such that nobody can just gain access without any form of checking or controlling people’s movement.”

Meanwhile, the leadership of Academic Staff Union of Secondary Schools, (ASUSS) Ogun State chapter has registered its displeasure at the rate at which parents invite hoodlums and touts to beat teachers in schools across the state.

Speaking on the heels of the recent invasion of schools and attack on teachers because they disciplined erring students, the State Chairman of the union, Comrade Akeem Lasisi, said a letter of complaint from the union had been sent to the appropriate agencies and the state government, warning that the union may be forced to withdraw teachers from classrooms if such ugly incident occurs again.

Comrade Akeem Lasisi stated that the teachers in the state are really hurt by the unpatriotic moves of some members of the public hiring thugs to beat up the teachers saying that plans are underway to hold an official meeting with the state leadership of PTA so as to work out modaliies to curb the ugly trend.

Speaking with our Correspondent, the Commissioner for Education, Prof Abayomi Arigbabu said that the government was not happy with any form of disturbance in its school neither will it tolerate anything that could put either the lives of the students or that of the teachers at risk.

Prof Arigbabu disclosed that “we are on top of the recent invasion of our schools, we condemn it outrightly and we’re working with relevant security agencies to heighten security of lives and properties in our schools.

“The incident is a reflection of the rot we struggle with in our society but as a matter of emphasis, Ogun State government won’t allow such acts in our schools, we are deeply committed to providing conducive environment for learning and we shall leave no stones unturned in achieving this.

“We are also using this medium to warn parents who want to turn our schools to theatre of war to stay away, parents who will not want their children to be disciplined may decide to go and get a school of their own but we won’t tolerate a situation where our teachers will be subjected to attacks while just doing their constitutional duties. We will continue to support our teachers and make the learning environment safe for both the teachers and the learners.”

Ask if the government would be willing to prosecute those that had been arrested during the reported invasion of schools, the Commissioner said that the police definitely know what to do as anyone found disturbing the peace of the land knows already the consequences.

Efforts to speak with Police Public Relations Officer of the state command, DSP Abimbola Oyeyemi proved abortive as calls to his phone were not picked.

However, the Commissioner of Police, Lanre Bankole while speaking over one of the school invasions had promised to deal decisively with anyone hiding under any guise to harm the peace and tranquility being enjoyed across the state.