Last week, a 12-year-old boy, Sylvester Oromoni passed away while nursing multiple internal injuries alleged to have been sustained after he was beaten by his fellow students who were bullying him at a boarding school, Dowen College, Lagos state.
The incident has since raised fresh concerns about the safety of students in boarding schools across the country.
Prior to the incident, a story leading to the death of 14-year-old Karen-Happuch Aondodoo Akpagher of Premier Academy, Lugbe, Abuja, sparked controversy as the school reportedly tried to cover up the real cause of her death.
Nigerians, who responded to the reports of an increased bullying of juniors by the senior ones in boarding schools, urged the government to look into the boarding school system, saying that a lot of evil has been happening there.
Reacting, the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) called for the immediate arrest and interrogations of names of students mentioned in the attack that led to the eventual death of Sylvester irrespective of how highly placed their parents are. There must not be any sacred cow as all of them must be arrested, adequately interrogated, and charged if found culpable.
NANS national president, Asefon Adedayo Sunday said that the principal and the house master of the College whose negligence led to the attack and death of the student and who had purportedly misled the parents of the deceased and the public on the cause of Sylvester should be arrested immediately for a thorough investigation.
He also urged foreign missions in Nigeria to deny entry to the students who had been fingered in the attack leading to the death of Sylvester Oromoni until the investigation is concluded.
“We note that if the allegation against these students is investigated to be true, they must be considered a threat in any country and they do not represent our country Nigeria as we cannot guarantee they will not constitute a greater threat to your country and its people.
“It is therefore important for them to be cleared of any wrongdoing in the death before allowing them access to your countries. Also if any of them has sneaked into your country, it is in the best interest of the security of your country to deport such to first clear their name in Nigeria before given access to stay in your country”
Unlike other schools, boarding students, apart from having classes together, eat and live in the same house. Most times, they are only separated when they all go home to their parents or guardians during holidays.
While there is no way to make a broad conclusion as to whether boarding schools are good or bad, some recent developments in Nigeria have triggered public outrage as many share their experiences.
Speaking to LEADERSHIP, a parent who identified himself as Justice Ayeni said the recent occurrence at Lagos boarding school where a 12-year old was bullied to death raises the need for the government to look more into the boarding system of our secondary school.
“A lot of evil is happening there, it is no longer properly managed like before and Parents should do their own duties, we have a lot of untrained children from these so-called rich parents.
“The Toxicity coming out from boarding school now is more than the advantages.
“I think the mysterious death of Sylvester Oromoni, the 12 year-old student of Dowen College, should elicit a debate on the relevance of boarding school in this age.
“The horrible stories of bullying, cheating and stealing, perpetrated in boarding schools I’ve heard from those who attended boarding schools, cannot encourage me to send my children to boarding school no matter how well packaged they are.
“An environment full of fear, bullying, intimidation and oppression, cannot produce brilliant children,” he added.