A delegation of the Edo State Government led by the Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, on Wednesday, visited Idogbo Secondary School in Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Area of the state to assess the level of damage on the school, which facilities were recently destroyed by some hoodlums in the area.
Speaking shortly after inspecting the school facilities, Commissioner for Education, Dr. Joan Osa-Oviawe, described the event as “disturbing.”
According to her, “This is a very disturbing occurrence in this school. We are taking a very specific step to address this problem once and for all, so as to make sure it doesn’t happen in other parts of the state.
“We are going to review our policies on admission for us to decongest our schools. The population of this school is high, so it’s important that we address this issue before this school is reopened.
“His Excellency has approved the recruitment of teachers under the Edo STAR fellowship programme so that we can fill in gaps that already exist in our senior schools. Damage has been done and there are still some other additional things that we need to do to ensure that we provide a conducive environment for learning for this school and similar schools.”
The commissioner continued, “We want to create an enabling environment for all our students, not just infrastructure but also to provide psychosocial services for schools like this. We are going to make sure that there are guidance counselors and there are careers counselors.
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“We are going to meet with all the communities where some of these students come from and meet with the parents and collectively come up with a solution that will help bring back discipline and accountability into our school.”
“Government has zero-tolerance for this kind of unruly behavior. It is not acceptable as there was no reason for this. We are not going to stand for this kind of behavior; the parents and the students are going to be held accountable for this,” she reassured.
Earlier, the principal of Idogbo Secondary School, Mr. Sunday Osaretin, while giving the account of what transpired, said that some students and unknown hoodlums numbering 49, invaded the school premises hauling dangerous objects at students and teachers.
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Osaretin said that it took the efforts of the police personnel and vigilante to put the situation under control.
Students of Idogbo Secondary School had gone haywire, setting a section of the school ablaze, just as they vandalised the principal’s office who flee for his life.
They were said to have also harassed a policeman on duty in the school while the students were writing exams.
The students were seen chasing a man believed to be the principal, who outran them. In anger, the rampaging students returned to the school premises and destroyed the principal’s office.
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It was gathered that the incident happened on Friday, 3rd December and that the students resorted to violence when one of them had an altercation with one of the policemen drafted to the school to maintain law and order and in the process, overpowered the policeman, who was stripped by the irate students.
A source in the school, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the school management invited security personnel in anticipation of security breaches in the school as it had become a regular occurrence, especially during festive and examination seasons.
He said: “Days before the exams started, we were battling with students throwing bangers and other explosives in the compound.
“So, when the exams started on December 3, 2021, we invited some policemen and vigilante members in case of any eventuality. So, because we anticipated that there could be a disturbance, the first set of policemen came while we waited for other police officers.
“One of the policemen on duty was moving around the school compound, what happened is what some of us don’t know. But we saw that the students were chasing the policeman, so some of his colleagues came to rescue him, that was when the students started throwing stones and other weapons.
“When it became uncontrollable, teachers started running for their lives, then the students went on a rampage, destroying everything on sight. The police were called from the Police Command, but they could not control them.
“It was when they invited the DSS operatives that they used gunshots to scare them away. Later the DSS personnel arrested about 45 of the students who were hiding in the bush. They are now at the police command.”
A reporter who visited the school, said he was chased away by a man with a machete, who claimed to be the security man and refused any picture of the compound to be taken.
When contacted, the Edo State Police Command Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Bello Kontongs, confirmed the incident.
The PPRO added that “49 students were in custody for willful damage of government property. None has been changed to court yet.”