Editorial: Bullying in Nigeria schools needs to be stopped

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Bullying in secondary schools in Nigeria is taking a serious frightening dimension following the death of Sylvester Oromoni Jrn. a student of Dowen College in Lagos state, who died in a Lagos hospital as a result of injuries sustained from bullying by senior students of the college.

Mr. Sylvester Oromoni Srn., the father of the deceased student, said his son was subjected to severe bullying prior to the incident that led to Oromoni Jrn’s death. The bereaved father said the boys who allegedly bullied Oromoni Jnr had been reported to the school management the previous term but the violence that eventually led to the death of his son did not stopped. “The boys they mentioned were also reported to the school last term when they bullied Junior and collected all his foodstuffs; clothes. I have two daughters, one of whom earlier graduated. I had to remove the second after this incident. They asked this boy to describe the sister’s privates and this got to us.”

The late Oromoni was made to drink an unknown substance after he was beaten and had been issued death threats if he ever revealed what happens to him in school.

Oromoni’s elder sister had reported that some bullies wanted to know if the late student had seen the nakedness of his sister. The same boy who had bullied Sylvester into admitting that he had seen his sister’s nakedness reported to her that the latter claimed to have seen her nakedness. A week before the unfortunate incident the school called the father that his son fell while playing football and was sick. Mr. Oromoni took his son home for special care.

But at the point of death Sylvester revealed that he did not play football and could not have sustained any injury while playing football. He then narrated how he was tortured and beaten up by five senior boys because he refused to join their cult. He went further to named his torturers before his painful death based on the video that circulated the social media.

Bullying is never a new order in boarding house, it has been from time immemorial. It has taken different forms from bathing new and junior student with cold water during hammatan by senior students as a form of initiation to the boardinghouse system. Some even take the form of sizing the provisions of the junior students. In spite this, the boarding house system provides a safe haven for this junior students through school fathers’ and mothers’ who serve as supervisors, mentors and guide to the vulnerable students. Recent misfortunes emanating from boardinghouses show the tide has changed from what is previously obtainable.

A year ago, Deborah Okezie, mother of a student in Deeper Life High school, Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, posted a video on Facebook where she said some students in the college “habitually inserted their fingers and toes in his son’s anus.” Mrs. Okezie said her son was frequently starved and beaten up by the senior students.

The victim was moved by the school principal from a hostel where other junior students stayed to another hostel filled with senior students because he was bedwetting, Mrs Okezie said in the clip which has gone viral on Facebook.

A similar video also surfaced on social media of students in Benin City, Edo state capital, brutalizing and humiliating their classmates where the victim was stripped naked.

That our education system would degrade to such inhuman standard is most unfortunate. Schools are meant to prepare and groom children for a bright future and mold them into responsible citizens that would contribute to the advancement of the country. The developments emanating from our schools shows they are rather grooming grounds for socially misfits. The reasons for this are rather not Far-fetched. Most of these children are deficient in Parental training and civil responsibilities that can only be instilled by parents.

While we are quick to blame school authorities and management for the decadence, parents must also own up to their part of the fault. Most parents have jettisoned their parental responsibilities for financial and material acquisition under the pretense of working for a better life for their children.

On the Oromoni’s case, we appreciate the prompt response of  the Lagos State government and we call for unbiased investigation to the cause of death. We also call for prosecution of students and other person s that may be found culpable in the death of the late Oromoni. In the same vein, parents most ensure that proper home training is instilled in their children to reduce the scourge of bullying in our schools.

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