Lagos State governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu and the State Commissioner of Education, Mrs. Folashade Adefisayo, have been called upon to set up a panel of inquiry, to investigate the inhuman treatment done to the press crew of a human right group, Human Monitoring Agenda (HURMA) by the officials of Igbobi Junior High School, Shomolu, Lagos.
HURMA in a separate petitions to Governor Sanwo-Olu and Education Commissioner dated October 16, 2019 and signed by its Executive Director, Comrade Buna Olaitan Isiak, stated that they were in the school to investigate a distress calls received from parents of the pupils in the school when the incident occurred.
The group stated that the pupils’ parents had alleged that their children and wards are made to sit on the floor, as there were no chairs or desks/lockers provided for them.
HURMA’s petition captioned : “detention of Human Rights Monitoring Team Inside school premises during Investigation of Alleged lack of chairs for students; A call For necessary Action And Worthwhile compensation for the office”, reads: “we hereby bring to your notice, a recent humiliating experience by some members of the above organisation at Igbobi Junior High School in Shomolu, Lagos State on Wednesday, October 3, 2019.
“The investigating Rights Monitors 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. We decided to visit the school unannounced on the said date, to investigate some complaints brought to our office by some parents in Somolu, 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 was requesting to meet with the school principal, after officially signing in at the gate, a member of our investigating team, Abd Hadi Adeyemi, was alleged to have entered one of the classrooms and took some pictures. He was however cautioned by the team leader.
“One of the school teachers led the team to the Principal’s office but he was not on sit and we were attended to by school’s two Vice Principals, Admin, one Mrs. Sofoluwe and Mr. Ogunshakin, respectively. The two Vice Principals before attending to us on the reason for the unscheduled visitation, insisted that photograph allegedly taken, if any, must be deleted. On this, the phone was searched and all related photos were deleted. They later addressed the reason for the visit but denied the alleged sitting on floors and maintained that Lagos State government supplies all needed furniture to school without delay.
“When 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.
“While the discussion was ongoing, a woman, who simply identified herself as Vice Principal, 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 ears”.
HURMA stated further that the self-acclaimed Vice Principal academic insisted that its members phones should be rechecked adding that despite that, she said, she did not regard the intervention of the two Vice Principals on Admin, and proceeded to insist that the entire team be detained in the compound.
The group stated further that while its members were leave the premises peacefully, she rushed to the gate to instruct that the gate be locked. And that she also encouraged some students to challenge and attack the team, but the students got persuaded when they were told that the exercise was for the good of their future.
HURMA stated further that after some minutes of detention, the investigating team were released on the intervention of the good mannered two Vice Principals and the request to enter the classrooms to officially confirmed and the alleged lack of Chairs was made before leaving the premises, but this was refused.
The group therefore appealed to Governor Sanwo-Olu and the Education Commissioner to use their good office to investigate the attack, intimidation, harassment and detention and do necessary justice without delay.