High School Expels Students For Praying, Alleged Assault!!

Twelve pupils of Gaskiya Senior College, Ijora, Lagos State, are currently undergoing punishments for holding fellowship beyond the time allowed inthe school and allegedly assaulting the principal.
The students were also branded “cultists” by the school principal, Mrs Oghenetega Sobowale, who signed the letters that informed them of theirpunishments.
While one of the students was expelled, five were placed on indefinite suspension.The six others were given lesser punishment. The suspended students have been missing third term examinations currently being written by their schoolmates
The students involved are Ejiro John, Otega John, Michael Changa, Valentine Okoye, Faith Okolie, Chidinma Chidozie, Jennifer Emmanuel, Eunice Ikpesu, Okiemute Jeremiah, Goodluck Kalu, Samuel Egwu and Rebecca David.
Otega, 16-year-old SS2 student, said it was a break down in communication that caused their problem.
He said, “We usually hold fellowship on Tuesdays after school hours by 3.30pm. The principal had told us to always end it at 5pm.
“On April 2, 2013, while the 12 of us were praying, the school guard entered and told us that the principal said we should end the fellowship immediately. My brother, Ejiro, told the guard we were rounding off. But the guard told the principal that we refused to leave.”
Otega said the principal came into the class as they were saying the closing prayer and later pounced on Jennifer Emmanuel who was “praying fervently.”
He said, “Jennifer was not aware that the principal was standing beside herand she mistakenly hit the principal as she was praying.
“Not long after, a teacher came and wrote our names and classes. He told us to bring our parents the next day.”
Another of the affected students, Ejiro, said, “On the following day, we were called out during the morning assembly. A teacher announced to the school that we were cultists.
“Later in the day, our parents had a meeting with the Principal, Vice-Principal Mr. Omonijo, and other members of staff. The principal refused our pleas. She also warned the teachers against pleading for us.”
Another affected student, Okiemute Jeremiah, said, like her, all the SS3 students involved were prefects of the school.
She said, “We were removed from our various positions by the principal. Mrs. Sobowale also banned the fellowship and gave us a week suspension.She told our parents that the case would be reported to Education District V.”
Chidinma Chidozie, who also spoke with our correspondent, said, “On the second day of third term, we received letters from the principal that five SS2 students involved had been suspended indefinitely. Jennifer Emmanuel, also in SS2, was expelled.”
The remaining six SS3 students were issued letters titled, ‘Re: Emergence of cultism in school’, in which they were accused of “insurgency.”
Copies of the letters, which were shown to our correspondent, stated thatthe SS3 students would only be allowed to write Senior Secondary Certificate Examination if their parents accompanied them to school on each examination day.
One of the parents, Mrs. Beauty John, lamented the fate of her children.
She said, “We have pleaded with the principal and we have written letters of apology to her. We copied the letters and sent them to Education District V. But all to no avail.
Mrs Goodness Chidozie, said she had been praying for divine intervention because he daughter, Chidinma, was still in SS2.
Okiemute’s father, Mr. Ojagbube Jeremiah, said, “My daughter missed one SSCE paper because I couldn’t go with her on the examination day. She is a good Christian, but the the government has it in its record that she is a cultist. I want her name cleared.”
Michael Changa’s mother, Mrs. Jacinta Changa, said, “This is a serious caseand I want Governor Babtunde Fashola to intervene.”
When our correspondent called the principal on the telephone, she said she would rather speak in person. However, she told our correspondent inher office, “The case is no longer in my hands. It is now handled by Education District V. I am not authorised to speak.”
The Lagos State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Lateef Ibirogba, said he was aware of the students’ expulsion and suspensions.
He said, “We will investigate the case of Gaskiya Senior College. The government will not allow the students to be unjustly punished if they didn’t commit any offence. However, I want to state that if the students were actually Christians, who are morally upright, I find it difficult to believe that one of them will mistakenly slap the principal.
“While we won’t allow the students to be unjustly punished, we will not also allow the principal to be ridiculed. We will not tolerate indiscipline.”

VNTI G.N

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