OrderPaperToday – The House of Representatives has joined the trending call for justice for murdered school boy, Sylvester, Oromoni, by demanding of the Federal Ministry of Education to set out guidelines for the operations of Boarding Schools across the country.

This was as the House condemned, in strong terms, recent reports of inhuman treatment and abuses happening in boarding schools across the country.

The lawmakers urged the Inspector-General of Police to immediately commence and take over the investigation, prosecution and punishment of those involved in the death of Sylvester Oromoni and Karen-Happuch Aondodoo Akpagher of Dowen College Lagos and Premiere Academy Lugbe Abuja, respectively.

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These resolutions were reached on Tuesday after deliberations on a motion entitled, “A call to condemn the trend of inhumane treatment in Nigerian boarding schools across the country and comprehensive investigation into the activities of Nigerian boarding system,” brought by Mr. Idem Unyime representing Ukanafun/Oruk Anam federal constituency of Akwa Ibom State.

The motion was raised in response to growing public call for justice for Sylvester and regulatory action against Dowen College.

In his lead debate, Unyime highlighted the advantages of boarding schools noting that boarding students, apart from having classes together, ate and shared apartment, adding: “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.

“Also, the social media has been agog in the last few days following the reports on Sylvester Oromoni, a 12-year-old boy who recently passed away on the 27th November, 2021 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. The parents of the deceased said he was attacked for declining to join what he termed as the secondary school’s “cult group” dominated by older boys at Dowen College in Lekki, Lagos.

“Again, another incidence leading to the death of 14-year-old Karen-Happuch Aondodoo Akpagher of Premier Academy, Lugbe, Abuja on the 22nd day of June 2021, is one that left many heartbroken. Her parents narrated how their daughter was sexually assaulted and later died of complications as a result of a condom left in her private part. Six months later, there is still no news of a suspect being arrested.

He said “following the two recent cases, some Nigerians on the social space have been voicing out their bitter experiences with boarding school system of operation. A public analyst who spoke on the trending issue said “bullying” is a major pandemic in Nigerian boarding schools. “Also, social organizations have attacked the ministries of Women Affairs and Education over their silence and complacency on the several incidences: of killings and abnormal behaviours in our boarding schools across the country describing their position and inaction as disappointing.”

Contributing to the motion, members jointly condemned the act as they called on the federal government to, without delay, launch a national campaign on advocacy, public sensitization and social mobilization on the issue of bullying.

Obinna Chidoka (PDP, Anambra) said: “It is very important to send strong signal that our children cannot be treated this way. There was one case in Kwara that trended, where corporal punishment was given to students. On the criminal aspects, the IGP (Inspector General of Police) should investigate thoroughly and give feedback”.

On his part, Mr. Babajide Obanikoro (APC, Lagos) said: “On this particular matter, there are five students that are involved: they are flight risk, their names should be placed on no flight list. And the school as shutdown by Lagos State should remain shut until the school is cleared of all the allegations.”

After the House adopted the motion, the presiding officer, deputy speaker Idris Wase, mandated the House Committees on Education, Youth Development and Women Affairs and Social Development and Safety Standard to follow up with the investigations and report to the House within two weeks.

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