The Federal Government Girls College Calabar has threatened to sue the State Security Service, SSS, for allegedly attacking and brutalising its teachers and staff.
A lawyer representing the school, Baba Isa, said in a statement that a female relative of one of the school’s SS3 students, led the attack because one of the teachers flogged the student for flouting the school’s rules.
Narrating how it all started the lawyer said, “Mr Owai Owai, a Civic Education teacher of over 17 years standing came to class that fateful Thursday (last week) morning and found a junior student sweeping the class of the SS3 students when classes was going on in the class of the junior, against the school rules that junior students should not be found sweeping the classes of seniors during school periods”.
“Mr Owai was able to fish out about 10 seniors who asked the juniors to sweep their class during school period contrary to school regulations. He punished the seniors by flogging them on their palms, two strokes of the cane each”.
“One of the seniors, Grace Loveth Asuquo, grabbed the teacher by the collar of his shirt, protesting her flogging. The teacher was shocked and gave her more strokes for her action. She told the teacher in front of the students that her parents will burn down the school today and stormed out of the class”.
According to the lawyer, Mr. Owai continued teaching, unknown to him that Grace has called her mum, who called her sister that is a SSS operative.
“Half way through the class, the student’s mum, her aunt who is a DSS operative and another man, stormed the class, gestapo-style, took the teacher’s canes and flogged him mercilessly before his alarmed students”.
“When the canes broke from the trashing of hapless Mr Owai, they descended on his frail frame and rained torrents of blows and kicks on him. The screams of the students alerted the teachers who came to the rescue”.
Mr. Isa said the student’s SSS operative aunt called for reinforcement and three Hilux load of SSS operatives stormed the school.
“The operatives went berserk and started shooting sporadically and hitting teachers with anything they could find: blows, kicks, stones, gun butts! Several teachers sustained injuries from the assault and battery”.
“Some ran into adjoining bushes and farms to save their lives. Some of the teachers started taking pictures and videoing. When the DSS operatives found out, they went after them, forcefully collecting their phones and further brutalising them. Phones, monies, glasses and other valuables were taken away by the operatives”.
“When they were driving out, they found the gate locked. They beat up the security men and shut the padlock open! They abducted the student, Grace Loveth Asuquo and left the school premises.”
The lawyer said the entire staff and students of Federal Government Girls College community are traumatized and frightened adding that “classes didn’t hold on Friday, February 3rd because of this”.
The State Security Service, which has not appointed a spokesperson, could not be reached for this story.
The management and staff of the school, said the lawyer in the statement, is demanding, the following:
“1 A written public apology from DSS published on NTA, Radio Nigeria and 4 national dailies. 2. An oral apology given at the Assembly Ground before staff and students. 3. Outright dismissal and prosecution of the operatives involved in this barbaric act.
4. To foot the hospital bills of all staff who sustained injuries during the assault. 5. To return/pay for all lost or damaged items like phones, monies, glasses, etc 6. Replace the damaged school gate 7. Pay a 10 million naira compensation to the school”.
The lawyer said the staff have instructed him to file a suit in a court of competent jurisdiction to seek for redress and damages.
“We must all wail against the excesses of our law enforcement agents. Their duty is to protect us and not to intimidate us. A formal petition has been lodged with the appropriate authorities. But there is something we can do here: let’s stand up and shout against this barbaric intimidation by the DSS, if we don’t stand up now, there might be no one left to stand tomorrow,” added the counsel.