By Adewale Sanyaolu, Lagos
Worried by the growing level of insecurity and moral decadence plaguing the Nigerian system, the Legal Assistance and Citizens Rights Initiative (LACRI) has called for a review of the boarding school system.
This was even as it said LACRI as an organization was committed to protecting the weak and ready to step in to provide pro-bono legal assistance where necessary, adding that the menace of bullying and abuse in schools must be met with stiffer sanctions and the perpetrators made scapegoats for this ugly trend to end.
LACRI in a statement signed by its Director of Mobilization, Mr Odu Ebam, said it was alarmed by the recent spate of ugly incidents in the Nigeria boarding school system, asking if boarding schools is still the way to go?
The group said it strongly condemns all acts of misconduct relating to the Dowen College incident and implores the Lagos state government and all concerned parties to investigate and prosecute all the perpetrators of this evil act accordingly.
LACRI noted that for decades, the boarding house system in Nigeria has been a preferred choice as it has presented a lot of advantages including but not limited to: a learning conducive environment, smaller class sizes, social maturity, personal growth, and challenging academics, peer learning.
However, the group said in recent times, the media has been awash with stories of physical, sexual abuse and gross bullying perpetrated by so-called “senior students” in boarding houses and these stories have slowly faded away without any real investigation and punishment.
According to LACRI, it said the most recent is the case of Sylvester Oromoni Jnr, the 12-year-old student of Dowen College, Lekki, Lagos State, who was allegedly bullied by a set of senior students and lost his life in the process.
“Various media reports quoted the deceased father, Sylvester Oromoni Snr, as alleging that his late son was beaten and forced to drink a substance for refusing to be initiated into a secret cult group. But the management of the school has maintained that he sustained injuries from a fall while playing football.
“At the moment, it is unclear if the school authority is shielding the perpetrators of this act or simply trying to protect the battered image of the school. Whatever the case, human life is sacred and the school management must be held responsible for any mishap on the grounds of the school.
“We wish to recall sordid stories similar to that of Sylvester which have been treated with kid gloves and since forgotten.”
LACRI further alluded to the story of 14-year-old, Karen-Happuch Akpagher, of Premier Academy, Lugbe, who died of suspected sepsis after she was allegedly raped and a used condom found on her comes to mind.
“Also is the story 11-year-old Don Davis of Deeper Life High School, Uyo whose mother, Deborah Okezie, alleged was starved and sexually assaulted for bedwetting.”
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