Investigation: Group Accused Lagos School Of ‘Unlawful Detention’ of Members 

One of the school’s classrooms with students sitting on the floor
            A human rights group, Human Rights Monitor Agenda (HURMA) has accused staffers of Igbobi Junior High School, Somolu, Lagos, of harassing, intimidating and detaining some of its media team, Human Rights Monitors, for taking pictures of students sitting on the floor.
             The group alleged that its members who paid unannounced visit to the school on Wednesday, to investigate allegation of inadequate furniture for the students,  were forced to delete all pictures in their phone before they could be released.
          HURMA led by Comrade Buna Olaitan    Isiak, stated that the it’s investigating team had visited the school to confirm the complaints lodged by some parents that some students in the school sits on the  their wards are sitting on the floor.
        The group in a release emailed to states: “we were at Igbobi Junior High School in Shomolu when some of our crew were detained within the school premises for allegedly taking pictures of students sitting on classroom floors, during class periods due to lack of enough chairs and tables.
            “HURMA decided to visit the school unannounced, to investigate the complaints to our office by some parents, who reported that their children are made to sit on the floor due to lack of Chairs and Tables. More so, it was reported that the children are always sent to inform their parents that unless they bring those furniture, they will remain in that condition through their complete academic periods.
              “While the leader of the team, Comrade Buna Olaitan was requesting to meet with the school principal, after officially signed at the gate, a member of the investigating team, Abd Hadi Adeyemi, was alleged to have entered one of the classrooms and took some pictures. This was however reported to and he was duly cautioned by Comrade Buna, the team leader.
           “One of the school’s teachers led the team to the Principal’s office but he was not on sit and we were later attended to by two Vice Principals, admin, Mrs. Sofoluwe and Mr. Ogunshakin.
            “The two Vice Principals before attending us, insisted that photograph allegedly taken, if any, must be deleted. On this, the phone was searched and all schools related photos deleted. They later addressed the reason for the visit but denied the alleged sitting on floors and insist that Lagos State government supplies all needed furniture to school without delay.
           “When we asked if there was any challenge presently faced by the school, Mr. Ogunshakin replied that only the Parents Forum discuss that and the  Chairman of the Parents Forum may be contacted”.
             HURMA Further stated that things were actually going smoothly and discussion about to end when one woman, who simply identified herself as Vice Principal on Academic came and began all sorts of attitude and utterances to attack the Human Rights Monitoring team.
         “All efforts to explain that all issues were already addressed by the two Vice Principals fell into deaf hear. She insisted that the phone should be rechecked and this was also done.
            “Despite all that, said she did not regard the intervention of the 2 Vice Principals on Administration and she ordered that the entire team be detained in the compound.
             “While trying to leave the school premises peacefully, she rushed to the gate to instruct that the gate be locked and encouraged  some students to unruly challenge the team, but got persuaded when explained to that the exercise was for the good of futures.
              “After several minutes of detention, we were released on the intervention of the good mannered Vice Principals.
          “Our request to enter the classrooms to officially confirmed the alleged lack of Chairs was made before leaving the premises, but this was denied. The Vice Principals insist that a letter from government most be presented before such request would be granted.
            “Responding to the allegation, the school’s Vice Principal (Administration) Mr. Ogunshakin, admitted the harassment, intimidation and detention of the group’s members.
            Ogunshakin however apologized to the group on behalf of the school. While also called on them to visit the school for a peaceful resolution of the matter.
            “It’s true all that they told you. Am even the person that intervened in the matter. Please, help me appeal to them to come over so that we can resolve the matter amicably”.

About Paul Sanusi, Lagos

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