Catholic school Principal risks jail term for alleged child abuse

From CoC Onah

A parent of Mater Amabilis Secondary School, Umuoji, Anambra State has commenced legal action against a Reverend Fr. Francis Onwuchulum in the State over allegations of expulsion arising from Corporal punishment of a student in the school by Catholic school’s Principal.

FILE PHOTO USED FOR ILLUSTRATION:: A SECURITY AGENT ARMED WITH A WHIP LOOKING FOR LATE COMERS IN IMAGUERO COLLEGE, SAPELE ROAD IN BENIN CITY.

Recall that Nigerian government is a signatory to the Child Rights Act and had prohibited corporal punishment, which involves spanking pupils a form of reprimand such as caning or flogging that some parents and teachers utilise to correct recalcitrant and errant children.

The school Principal, who is liable to a jail term if found guilty of the offences, had expelled the female student, according to a Facebook post by the victim’s mother, Mrs Chika Omesi.

Shs said their travails began after joining her daughter to protest against the suspension of her daughter (name withheld), became fed up having been forced to carry hollow blocks at the school’s construction site for a period of two weeks during school hours, while the school was still in session.

TheNewspad reports that the Ekwulobia born mother of four children in Aguata Local Government Area of the State, told our Correspondent that as a consequence, she is protesting against the expulsion of her daughter currently in Senior Secondary School (SSS2).

The petitioner is seeking a N10 million damages against the Management of the school, for expelling the daughter alleging that her daughter was subjected  to corporal punishment, including carrying blocks for about one week to a building site in the school compound in the suit.

Omesi alleged that it was after she drew the attention of the school’s Management to her daughter’s plight on the school’s Facebook page, that her daughter was suspended and thereafter, expelled from the school.

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The grieving mother who revealed this while briefing the Press on Monday in Onitsha, Anambra State, said trouble started after her daughter along with 11 other students of the school returned from the Students for Advancement of Global Entrepreneurship competition held at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential library, Ogun State, months ago.

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 Non-Governmental Organization 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”, Mrs Omesi alleged.

She also 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.

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Omesi claimed that 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 lamented that it was unjust and unfair for her daughter to be expelled over an offence she did not commit, vowing to seek a legal redress.

Worried by the unfolding development, the parent of the student through her Solicitors to serve notice of intention to sue Anambra State Government and State Secondary School Board as upon the expiration of three months from the service of the notice dated 14/03/2023, at the State High Court, Ogidi as parties in the suit.

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.

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 size.

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