From Laide Raheem, Abeokuta
These are certainly not the best of times for teachers in Ogun State. As if it is a new normal, secondary school students and, sometimes, their parents have been on the rampage against teachers in the state.
Teachers, who used to be like demi-gods have, in recent times, been subjected to attacks in some secondary schools, particularly in remote communities.
Students have oftentimes hired thugs to punish with any tutor who tried to instill discipline in them. On some occasions, parents or siblings of such students have joined in raining blows on hapless teachers.
Although the state government had taken steps to arrest the situation, students continue to attack teachers with reckless abandon.
One of such steps was the undertaking the state government made primary school pupils, secondary students and their parents or guardians sign before resumption for the second term.
The state government had mandated all parents and guardians to sign the undertaking in view of the ugly trend of assault on teachers across the state by students.
In October 2021, no fewer than four cases of attacks on schools took place in different public schools in the state.
On October 12, the police said they arrested a 35-year-old Abidemi Oluwaseun for invading Baptist Girls College Idi-Aba, Abeokuta, the capital of the state, with thugs to attack a teacher, whom he accused of beating his 15-year-old daughter.
The teacher had flogged Oluwaseun’s daughter and others for disturbing his class, mocking him and distracting other students.
Aggrieved, the father hired two others, Fayesele Olabanji, 25, and Alebiosu Quawiyu, 24. They stormed the school in an unregistered vehicle, armed with a cutlass and threatening to hack down the teacher.
When they were arrested by the DPO of Kemta Division, CSP Opebiyi Sunday, Oluwaseun confirmed hiring the other men to teach the teacher who beat his daughter the lesson of his life.
In Unity High School, Kajola Ibooro, Ado-Odo/Ota Local Government Area, three teachers, including a nursing mother, were attacked by miscreants, who were reportedly hired by some students to unleash mayhem on them.
The nursing mother, Mrs Oyadoke, who reportedly went through a caesarian session 10 months earlier, was attacked when she tried to caution an aunt of a student, who was having an altercation with the school principal.
According to a report by one Olufemi Ayannuga of the Academic Staff Union of Secondary Schools (ASUSS) press crew, the aunt, who was infuriated with Mrs Oyadoke’s interference to the brawl between her and the principal, rushed out to hire thugs, who reportedly dragged the nursing mother on the floor, while inflicting injuries on her body through serious beating.
Similarly, students of Community High School, Ijoun, in Yewa North Local Government Area were said to have hired hoodlums to attack and send their teachers away from the school.
It was gathered that the hoodlums stormed the school premises at about 10.45am and freely used weapons such as machetes and axes on Stephen Oyelekan and Kayode Olatunji.
The Ogun State police command said four students were arrested in connection with the ugly incident.
In the same vein, an elderly mathematics teacher identified as Mr Owolabi at Comprehensive High School, Itori, was beaten up by an SSS 3 student.
It was reported that the mathematics teacher was teaching SSS 1 students when the ‘attacker’ rudely burst into his class and started beating a girl.
As Owolabi attempted to stop the boy from maltreating the girl, who who was in his class at the time, the SSS 3 student “descended heavily on the innocent teacher, beat him mercilessly with heavy blows,” a source had disclosed.
The unruly student was reportedly apprehended by the police and operatives of the Amotekun Corps were deployed to the school as teachers panicked that his gang members in the school may attack them.
Findings by our correspondent revealed that some of the secondary school students are now members of various cult groups.
Aside from cultism, teachers who spoke with our correspondent anonymously explained that some boys are into Internet fraud, otherwise known as ‘Yahoo-Yahoo’.
“The moment they start doing Yahoo-Yahoo or when they join cult groups, they become so unruly that nobody can talk to them or scold them. Many of them are already smoking and drinking all manner of substances. That’s why teachers are now being careful to avoid being attacked by their own students,” a teacher stated.
Despite the government efforts to curb school violence, however, a student of Toyon High School, Ere in Ado-Odo/Ota Local Government Area of the state, Joshua Joseph, in company of his parents and hired hoodlums stormed the school to attack and brutalize teachers.
The attackers on Tuesday, January 18, had descended heavily on about three teachers, inflicting injuries on them and also vandalized a car belonging to another teacher.
Why the attack?
A teacher identified as Mr Kabir Azeez had instructed the student to go and cut his hair before entering the classroom.
But Joshua, an SSS 3 student, who perhaps felt offended by the teacher’s order went away angrily and returned to the school with his mum and a thug, who attacked the teachers.
Three teachers – Abel Thomas, Kabir Azeez and Adegun Adekunle were brutalised, while a Toyota Corolla car belonging to another teacher, Mr Jolayemi Jeromu, was vandalised by one of the thugs. It was alleged that Posu Baale was the one who smashed the car.
An official of the school who craved anonymity, said: “On Monday, we asked one of our students to go and cut his hair because the hair style he had on him was not acceptable in the school. On Tuesday, he came again with that same hair style, we told him to go and cut the hair. I collected his bag and told him to come back after cutting the hair. Coming back to school, he came with two men and two women to ask us that why should we ask him to go and cut his hair.
“I now told them that if we cannot tell him to cut his hair, all of them should leave my office. I gave them his bag and told them to go and be teaching him at home. They went out and I started to hear noises within the school promises. They started beating the teachers. They smashed the windscreen of a car parked within the school.
“In the evening, they came to our quarters again, claiming that we stole their phone. They almost attacked us. We told them their phone was not with us. They came to meet us again on Wednesday morning, but we thank God no one was attacked.”
The official added that the mother of the student and one of the thugs have been arrested by the police.
According to the official, the teachers invited the police after locking up the duo in the computer room.
Joshua’s parents in police net
A statement by the spokesperson of the Ogun State police command, Abimbola Oyeyemi, confirmed the arrest of Joshua’s parents, Oyedele Nutai Joseph and Elizabeth Joseph, for unlawfully invading the child’s school with thugs to attack teachers for “having the effrontery” to beat their son.
The PPRO explained that the suspects were arrested following a distress call received by the policemen at Ado Odo divisional headquarters, from the school, that parents of one of their students were in the school with thugs and had beaten and injured one of the teachers.
“Upon the distress call, the DPO, SP Arowojeun Michael, quickly led his men to the school where the couple were arrested while their accomplices escaped.
“Preliminary investigation revealed that the teacher, Abel Thomas, moderately corrected an SS3 student by name Joshua Joseph who then went home to inform his parents that he was beaten by the teacher.
“Having heard from their son, the parents who felt that the teacher had no right to beat their son for any reason mobilized some thugs and stormed the school.
“On getting to the school, they descended heavily on the teacher, beat and injured him. They also damaged the back screen of a Toyota Corolla with registration number LSD 395 FV belonging to another teacher of the school Jolayemi Sunday.
“The injured teacher had been taken to the hospital for medical treatment. Meanwhile, the Commissioner of Police, Lanre Bankole has ordered that the escaped thugs who accompanied the couple to attack the school should be hunted for and brought to justice.
“He also directed that the arrested couple should be charged to court without delay”, Oyeyemi stated in the statement.
The parents remanded
Following the arrest of the student’s parents, they were arraigned before a Magistrate Court sitting in Ado in the Ado Odo Ota Local Government Area of the state.
The court, however, ordered that the parents be remanded in the prison custody.
Magistrate B.O Abdul Salam having listened to the charge read by the prosecuting officer, Inspector Adeyemo, expressed disappointment over the attitude some parents who followed their wards to school to attack teachers for disciplining their wards.
“Why are these children attacking their teachers? If drastic measure is not taken, these are the kinds of youths that will become a menace not only to their teachers, but also to police officers and court officials if they get a judgement that is not satisfactory to them.
“If my parents had followed me to my school to fight my teachers will I be on this bench today?” the magistrate stated.
The magistrate admitted that the offence committed was a bailable one. She, however, directed the suspects be remanded in Abeokuta and Ilaro Correctional Home, while the student said to be at large be produced by the next court sitting.
The case was adjourned till February 15, 2022 .
A parent, Mrs. Janet Abeni, condemned the attacks being meted out to teachers by the students in the state. She attributed the menace to the serious decline in the social and cultural values.
Janet, who called for stiffer punishment against perpetrators, their parents or guardians, urged the ministry of education, science and technology in the state to put further measures in place in order to arrest the ugly trend.
On his part, Adeosun Bosun-Ola, contended that any student found culpable should be expelled from the school, while the parents should be prosecuted.
Adeosun, a private tutor, added that state government must ensure that such expelled student is not admitted into any school in the state.
For Akin Abel, cultism activities in secondary schools is the main cause of the rise in attacks against teachers. He also said exposure to drugs had been responsible for clashes among students of secondary schools, calling on the state government to establish a unit where students will be tested for drugs.