A student of Mater Amabilis Secondary School, Umuoji, Anambra State has been expelled from the school over a post she made on the school’s Facebook wall.
However, the mother of the student, Mrs Chika Omesi, is protesting against the suspension and expulsion of her child, Chiamaka Omesi.
According to Punch, Omesi, an indigene of Ekwulobia in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State, lamented that her 15-year-old daughter in Senior Secondary School two was “unjustly” used for child labour by the school in a construction site for three days as a punishment for some flimsy reasons by the school manager.
She said it was after she drew the attention of the school’s management to her daughter’s plight on the school’s Facebook wall, that her daughter was suspended and thereafter, expelled from the school.
According to her, the expulsion letter dated March 8, 2023, was presented to the girl on the Assembly ground, adding that it was unjust to punish her for an offence not committed by her.
The aggrieved mother stated these in a teary voice in Onitsha, Anambra State, on Monday, during a press conference involving her Solicitors, Nkem C. Olisa & Co.
Omesi said trouble started after her daughter alongside other 11 students of the school came back from a Students for Advancement of Global Entrepreneurship competition held at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Ogun State, some months back.
She said, “The school came second in that competition and was again selected for another competition in Dubai. The trips to Ogun State and Dubai were sponsored by an NGO called Bosslady Organisation based in Abuja because the school management refused to sponsor the students.
“The management of the school held a reception after the trips during which the school manager, Rev Fr. Francis Onwuchulum, in his speech, failed to acknowledge the efforts and magnanimity of the NGO who facilitated and sponsored the whole affair.
“It was when the students in their own speech duly acknowledged and thanked the NGO that they incurred the wrath of the school management and the manager thereafter started targeting the students of which my daughter was among for publicly acknowledging the NGO.
“As a punishment, Rev Fr. Onwuchulum forced the students to kneel down under the sun for the whole day. The following day, he also asked them to carry thousands of concrete blocks to a construction site in the school, which they did throughout that day. He cancelled my daughter’s name listed as perfect and substituted it with his niece.”
Omesi, therefore, accused Rev. Father Onwuchulum of exhibiting “irrational behaviour”, “high handedness” and “child abuse”, which she said is “unlawful” and contrary to the Child Rights Act.
Omesi said it was after she drew the attention of the school’s management to the latest development on the school’s Facebook wall, that her daughter was suspended and thereafter, expelled from the school.
She said it was unjust and unfair for her daughter to be expelled over an offence she did not commit, vowing to seek a legal redress.
She, therefore, through her solicitors, served a notice of intention to sue Anambra State Government and Anambra State Secondary School Board at the expiration of three months from the service of the notice dated March 14, 2023, at the state High Court, Ogidi.
The reliefs claimed, among others, include: N10 million damages for the unlawful acts of the defendant and a declaration that the suspension and further expulsion of the plaintiff without any lawful reason and justification is unlawful.
Further more, a declaration that the inhumane treatment of the punishment to kneel down for over eight hours on February 1, 2023 and punishment to carry building blocks of nine inches hollow type all day on February 2, 2023 without any lawful justification is unlawful and contrary to the Child Rights Act.
When contacted for reactions on the telephone, Rev. Father Onwuchulum, who did not deny any of the allegations, simply said, “I won’t make any official statement on this issue. Speak with the Onitsha Archdiocesan Education Secretary. I have handed over the case to him and he has the ‘true account’ of what happened. Thank you.”