From Priscilla Ediare, Ado-Ekiti
An Ekiti State High Court sitting in Ado Ekiti has dismissed a suit instituted by a 9-year-old Junior Secondary School I (JSS 1) female student of Mary Immaculate Girls Grammar School, Ado Ekiti, through her mother.
In his judgement, Justice Lekan Ogunmoye said that ‘the applicant who, in the main, had sought for declaratory reliefs was, however, unable to place before this court credible and sufficient evidence to convince me as to the need to grant her prayers with the implication that she would be unable to make a success of the reliefs herein sought. It is also trite that applications for the enforcement of fundamental rights are granted once the rights of the applicants are shown to have been breached or threatened. This was not done in the instant case.
‘The sole issue for determination is hereby resolved against the claimants. The reliefs sought are hereby dismissed,’ he concluded.
In his Originating Summons before the court, counsel to the applicant, Mr Timileyin Eric Omotoso, among other reliefs sought were that (1) a declaration that the physical, mental, violence, abuse, negligent treatment of Miss Gift Eniola Agenoisa, a nine-year-old JSS 1 student of Mary Immaculate Girls Grammar School, Ado Ekiti, by the respondents is illegal and unconstitutional and a violation of her fundamental right to the dignity of her person as guaranteed under section 34(1)(a) of the Constitution of Nigeria as amended and Article 5, of the African Charter accordingly (2) An order directing the respondents to immediately lift the suspension placed on the applicant on 19th May, 2021 at the school premises and reabsorb her to continue her education and learning forthwith and (3) An order directing the defendants jointly and severally to pay the sum of Fifteen Million Naira (N15,000,000.00) as general damages for the violation of her fundamental rights to education, dignity, fair hearing and the protection of the Child Right.
Respondents in the suit are: The School Principal, Mrs Oluwasanmi Funmilayo, Ekiti State Commissioner for Education, Ekiti State Teaching Service Commission and the Government of Ekiti State.
Counsel for the respondents SBJ Bamise, in his counter-affidavit, described all averments in the Originating Summons as not only untrue but total falsehood.
According to one of the respondents, Gift Eniola Agenoisa, a nine-year-old JSS1 student of Mary Immaculate Girls Grammar School on 19/5/2021 came to the school with a weird, indecent and unapproved hairdo. In an attempt to correct and scold her, she shouted at her teacher that it was her mother who made the hairdo, being her birthday.
Following her unruly behaviour, she was punished with two strokes of the cane and warned not to come to school with such a hairdo again.
During a meeting with the girl and her mother on the second day, Mrs Agenoisa called her husband, Moses Igenoisa, a police officer, who later came to the school with five fully armed policemen. On their arrival, they started beating and harassing some of the school teachers, forcibly opening the school gate and harming the gateman in the process. Other officers in the company of Moses went away with a mobile phone belonging to one of the teachers who had been filming them during the fracas.
Speaking with the applicant’s counsel after the judgement, Barrister Omotoso said he was reviewing the judgment and promised to appeal the verdict thereafter.