The Principal of Eva Adelaja Girls Secondary School, Mrs. C.O. Coker, and four other teachers, who were suspended after a case of alleged brutality, have been recalled by the Lagos State Government.
A source said that Coker and the teachers had returned to the school for the new term.
It had been reported that a Senior Secondary School two pupil of the school, Ogechi Anyalewechi, was severely flogged by the principal and four other teachers after she returned the slap of a prefect in the school, Zainab.
The victim was said to have been taken to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja, where she was treated for the injuries sustained during the assault.
The Lagos State Government had ordered the suspension of the principal and the teachers – Mr. Bello (Mathematics), Mrs. Tejumaye (English language), Mrs. Omoge (Physical Education) and Mr. Bakare (Economics) – for their roles in the incident.
However, a source said the decision had been rescinded and the affected workers recalled after the intervention of the Nigerian Union of Teachers.
He 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 The union then wrote the government, asking that the decision be rescinded.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.”
When contacted, the Chairman of the NUT, Segun Raheem, confirmed the intervention of the union, saying investigations showed that Ogechi’s injuries were fabricated.
Raheem explained that the NUT only asked the government to conduct its investigation, adding that the outcome led to the redeployment of the affected teachers.
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.”
He said the Ministry of Education in conjunction with the district, set up a Personnel Management Board, which said “the principal and teachers did not do enough to save the situation.”
Raheem said the PMB recommended some punishments for the teachers.
“They are no longer in the school. As I speak with you, the teachers have been redeployed to another school, while the principal has been recalled to the district office. She has been taken out of the school to be reporting at the district office,” he added.
The union leader said it discovered that the photos of Ogechi’s injuries were doctored, adding that the claim that she was taken to a hospital after the beating was also not true.
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.”
But Ogechi’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.
He said, “We are waiting for the time the school will resume and that is when we will decide whether Ogechi will continue in that school or not. But I feel disappointed if it is true that someone is claiming that my sister’s assault photos were doctored. I may not have any option but to pursue the legal option open to us.”
The state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Steve Ayorinde, said the principal and the teachers were not back in the school.
He said, “It is not true. The teachers and the principal are not back in the school. They have been withdrawn and taken to district two. It is the vice principal admin, that is running the school for now.”
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