Police plan charges after whipped student lost eye

Ralia Suleiman

Police will charge Moses Auta, a teacher in Government Junior Secondary School, Kachia, Kaduna State, for seriously injuring a student while whipping her.

The right eye of Ralia Suleiman, a JSS3 student and the deputy head girl of the school, was struck and damaged when Mr. Auta allegedly used a horsewhip that had iron pellets to beat her.

The State Commissioner of Education, Andrew Nok, said a four-member committee had been set up by his ministry to investigate the incident.

The committee, made up of the permanent secretary, the director of schools and two other director, is to submit its report by next week.

“Our priority now is to also find a way to treat the student. I have spoken with my colleague, the Commissioner of Health to assist us and arrange for the student to be treated at Kaduna State Teaching Hospital, Kaduna (former Barau Dikko Specialist Hospital),” he assured.

A spokesperson for Kaduna State police command, Aliyu Usman, told PREMIUM TIMES on Friday that charges would be brought against the teacher at the Magistrate court, Kachia, on Monday.

Kabiru Mohammed, a lawyer for the victim’s family, said the girl’s father, Suleiman Kachia, had assigned him to be in court on behalf of the family.

But teachers of the school and a senior official of the education ministry said the incident was an accident.

They said the whip hit the girl’s eyes as she stood behind the teacher, who was flogging another student after whipping Ralia.

They said the teacher was immediately queried by the school’s principal.

“From our meeting on Thursday, we discovered that the teacher was queried by the principal when the incident happened,” the ministry official, who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak, said.

“We also gathered that the horsewhip accidentally hit her as she stood behind the teacher while whipping another student,” the source said.

But, Mr. Mohammed, the victim’s family lawyer, said even at that, the teacher cannot be exonerated since it was his action that led to the injury.

PREMIUM TIMES learnt that the teacher assembled all the prefects and whipped them for refusing to carry out his assignment against latecomers.

But Sani Abubakar, the victim’s uncle, said the claims were not true.

“They were just trying to water down the unfortunate incident. Ralia actually lost her eyes when she was being whipped by the teacher,” he insisted.

Huwaila Sulaiman, Ralia’s mother, said her husband could not speak with our reporter because he was down with hypertension because of the incident.

Teachers who spoke to PREMIUM TIMES said Mr. Auta was well-mannered, and insisted the incident was an accident.

“It is natural for students to complain against teachers who discipline them,” one teacher said.

Ahmad Bello, the school librarian, described Mr. Auta as humble, respected and highly disciplined teacher.

“That is why he was even made the discipline master in addition to his teaching work,” he said.

“In fact his mother sold the family land and raised N300, 000, while Ralia’s uncle also raised N100, 000 for her treatment at Eye Center,” Mr. Bello said of efforts to treat the girl.

Shuaibu Goma, a storekeeper of the school, backed that claim.

“He takes his job very serious and has a lot of concern for his students’ lessons and discipline devoid of any ethnic or religious sentiment.

“What happened to Ralia is just an accident. He is not a drunk and he does not smoke. In fact he sold his phone and his shop to add to the money raised for Ralia’s treatment,” Mr. Goma added.

With about 3, 000 students, the Government Junior Secondary School, Kachia, has just 18 teachers.


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