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    Monday, March 28, 2016

    Flogging: Suspended Lagos Principal, Teachers May Face Trial

    Indications have emerged that the Lagos State Government may prosecute the principal of Eva Adelaja, Mrs. C.O. Coker, the school’s vice-principal, Mrs. Balogun and four other teachers said to have been implicated in a child brutality case.
    We learnt that the state government had suspended the affected workers and might commence proceedings against them.
    This is just as some students of the school protested against the removal of their principal by the government.
    The teachers affected are Mr. Bello (Mathematics), Mrs. Tejumaye (English language), Mrs. Omoge (Physical Education) and Mr. Bakare (Economics).
    The workers were suspended for their roles in the brutality of a 14-year-old pupil of the school, Ogechi Anyalewechi.
    PUNCH Metro had reported that Ogechi, who was in Senior Secondary School 2, had a confrontation with the school’s senior prefect, Zainab.
    The school principal, the vice-principal and some other teachers were said to have taken turns to flog Ogechi, after which she was asked to cut grass.
    The government had set up a panel to investigate the allegation, which recommended their suspension.

    A source, who was at the panel’s meeting on Wednesday, said the principal claimed that she gave Ogechi four strokes of the cane.
    He said, “They were called in one by one. The principal, who was the first, said she only gave her four strokes of cane.
    “Bello also insisted he gave her four strokes of cane.”
    It was gathered that the panel subsequently advised their suspension.
    Meanwhile, 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.
    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.
    He said, “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.”
    Joseph said the state government had urged that the 14-year-old should be allowed to continue in the school, adding that the family had yet to take a decision on it.
    Ogechi told our correspondent she did 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.”
    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.
    The Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Steve Ayorinde, said the government would go 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.”
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