"He flogged me with a belt and pushed me on my chest": A Teacher's Beating Made A Boy Unconscious For Six Days
In counties like South Africa, spanking is now a punishable offence. You might think they are overreaching until news of a teacher beating his student into coma surfaces. Does Nigeria need these laws?
Though increasingly frowned at in recent times, lashing has always been a correctional tool for most schools in Nigeria. It is not uncommon to find a teacher in class flogging a pupil with might and main. Occasionally, horror stories have emanated from such a practice, shocking the Nigerian space. One such story has emerged of how a teacher’s beating made a boy unconscious for six days. A Nigerian father, Mr Joseph Emekeme, narrates the shocking story his son’s ordeal and the frustrating way the matter was handled to Onyekachukwu Meluwa for Punch.
The boy’s photos made the rounds on social media, showing him lying sick in a hospital bed. The fourteen-year-old pupil was beaten by his teacher. So bad was the beating that when his parents arrived at Covent University Medical Centre their boy could not recognise them. He was in a coma. By Mr Joseph’s account, they got to know about the incident from a call put through by the hospital between 7 P.M and 8 P.M, demanding for them to come over immediately. But because the call came late last Wednesday Mr Joseph and his wife had to make the trip the following day. Mr Joseph took a picture of his son on arrival.
“My son was in a coma. I had to take his photograph. My wife was crying. My son couldn’t even recognise us,” Mr Joseph said.
How did it happen?
The boy only opened his eyes at 9 A.M. the following morning. According to him, the incident happened in the church at Faith Academy during the praise and worship session. The chaplain had asked him to leave the back and move to the front. An order he was complying to. He packed what was his and was moving to the front when the chaplain called him back halfway. The chaplain accused him of acting sluggish and looking at him a certain way. The chaplain pounced on the boy with his belt.
The assault did not stop there. The chaplain delivered a blow to the chest that left the boy gasping for air. To get some air the boy went outside, but when he returned inside the hall he was feeling…that was the last thing he remembered. The boy remained in a coma between the time it happened and when his parents got there, making a total of six days.
How was the matter handled?
Mr Joseph sought out a police station in Ota, where he reported the incident to the Divisional Police Officer (DPO), a woman. The DPO went to work instantly. She dispatched with Mr Joseph with two Deputy Superintendent of Police and a Sergeant. They were to invite the school for a meeting with the DPO at 2 P.M., but when they got there the University’s Security Officer was absent. The police said they couldn’t go any further without the Security Officer. The principal reluctantly signed the letter. And they proceeded to find the Security Officer, who signed too. But 2 P.M. came and went but no one from the university showed up.
Again, the following morning the DPO sent policemen to fetch them but they were nowhere to be found. This irked the DPO. Only when she threatened to use force did they honour the invitation and brought along the chaplain. The chaplain denied beating the boy but confessed that he pushed him. The DPO said it made no difference and ordered him to be detained. Mr Joseph requested that his son be released to him so he could take him for proper examination. When the went to get his son’s stuff, other pupils threatened to leave too. They cited the chaplain’s usual behaviour towards them as their reason.
Recently, hitting kids is a practice that has gotten the attention it deserves. More and more parents are becoming intolerant of the vicious spanking that often goes on in schools. This time, the teacher’s beating made this boy unconscious And it has no place in school. As a parent, make sure you frown at it right at home. Teach your kids that there are other ways to handle issues. Do not hit them yourself. And if they report that a teacher has hit them, press charges. Do not take it lightly. Change their school if you can.