Gift Ohanazeze, mother of the 19-month-old pupil of Arise and Shine Nursery and Primary School, Asaba, Delta State, who was reportedly flogged to death has called for justice for her son.
Speaking with SaharaReporters on Wednesday, the young woman explained that she had barely enrolled her son in the school before the sad incident occurred.
Ohanazeze said she was a single mother who had been struggling to take care of the child and had just moved to Asaba and in a bid to get a job, she enrolled her son in the school.
She lamented that she made a mistake of not making enquiries before taking the child to the school considering the bad history of the school in the community where a teacher had allegedly removed the fingernails of a baby while beating the child.
Meanwhile, an autopsy will be carried out on the corpse of the little boy today (Wednesday) to ascertain the cause of his death, the mother said.
Recall that the state police commissioner, Ari Muhammed Ali had said a post mortem would be conducted to determine the cause of death of the deceased child.
Speaking with SaharaReporters, the mother said, “My son was one year and seven months. The day I went to meet the school boss that they flogged my child; she told me that my baby was disturbing the school, she said do I know the gravity of my son’s offence? I asked her what the gravity of offence a child of 1 year, 7 months would commit? She said the boy was disturbing the school; that was all she said.
“Her son, at the police station, said Obinna was playing with water, she questioned him that where the tap is, Obinna’s hand could not get there, that’s what the proprietress told the GRA police station.
“The son again claimed that he pushed another child and hit his head when they were interviewing him yesterday but some other children at the school said Obinna was only crying, took his lunch box to the proprietress, she took the box from him, dropped it and called the son and a teacher, they tied Obinna and she was the one flogging, not her son. The son is just an accomplice who held the leg of my child, while the other one held the hand.
“My son is barely two weeks in that school, he was a new intake; that was his eighth day, even the uniform they gave him, he had not worn some of them, he only wore one. This is his first time of going to school. I had to register him because I didn’t have a job, I barely feed so I couldn’t register him but now, I had to gather money to register him so I can also look for a job.
“The proprietress and the son are in the police station but the other lady who held the leg ran away, they’ve not seen her since then.
“It was after my son’s incident I learnt that they really beat children in that school, there are kids with bruises on their legs, they injure some; they once removed a baby’s fingernail while beating. People were saying this is not the first time. The problem is I just relocated to Asaba so I didn’t know. I even live in an uncompleted building and I had not stayed up to one month in that compound. The mistake I made is, I didn’t ask questions, I didn’t know.
“The police said the autopsy will be conducted today, as I speak to you, I’m at the mortuary, we are waiting for the police officers to come so we can take the corpse. From what I’m seeing the governor is really interested in this case, he’s doing his best, he’s fighting like this boy is his son, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa is trying his best to ensure I get justice. Even the commissioner, she is also trying, she was the one that said they must conduct autopsy today.
“It was one Mr Saviour that helped me to amplify my voice, he was the one who started this fight even when the child was flogged. The children in school said they couldn’t even count if it was 31 strokes or more.”
SaharaReporters had broken the story of how the late toddler was beaten by the school administrators.
The sad incident was made known by Ebenezer Omejalile, Chief Operating Officer of Advocates for Children and Vulnerable People’s Network, a human rights group.
SaharaReporters had earlier reported that the baby, a pupil of Arise and Shine Nursery and Primary School, Asaba, Delta State, was given 31 strokes of the cane for playing with water and getting wet.
The mother of the victim had said that the act was perpetrated by the school owner and her son, who tied the hands and legs of the baby before flogging him into a coma.
The woman and her son, who were initially in police custody but released after reaching an agreement with the victim’s family, were rearrested on Saturday after the baby died.