Two soldiers attached to Abraham Adesanya Polytechnic, Ijebu Igbo, Ogun State, have allegedly battered a female student of the school, Miss Oladokun Leshi Folashade, and denied her entry into the school’s premises to sit her exams. The incident occurred on April 18, 2016.
It was learnt that the school had asked students to pay a mandatory fee of N5,000 for the repair of one of the buildings that got burnt in the school recently.
Oladokun, a 28yrs old National Diploma 2 student of Mass Communication, was among over 100 students who could not pay within the stipulated period and decided to pay cash on the day of the incident.
Sadly, she was turned back by the soldiers, who insisted she would not be allowed to do her exams.
It was learnt that the soldiers pounced on Miss Oladokun and mercilessly flogged her while she pleaded to be allowed to pay the fee and do her exams.
A petition by her lawyer, Mr. Habeeb Whyte of R.R.A & Associates, has since been forwarded to the Ogun State Governor’s Office, the Ministry of Education, Office of the Speaker of Ogun State House of Assembly and National Association of Ogun State Students (NAOSS).
The petition dated April 20, reads in part:
“Our client (Oladokun Leshi Folashade) informed us on April 19, 2016, that in the early hours of April 18, 2016, she and several other students of the polytechnic were barred and denied access to write the Use of English (GND 201) examination because they had not paid the required sum of N5,000, being a fee that was made compulsory for all students to be paid for the maintenance and replacement of the burnt equipment in the school premises before writing their examinations.
“Our client, having paid her school fees for the session, went to the school premises with the hope of paying her own maintenance fee in cash.
“The said N5,000 was rejected at the entry point on the ground that it was too late for her to pay the fees. She stood at the school gate with other (affected) students of the institution, hoping that the management would collect the said N5,000 from her and allow her write her examination.
“She pleaded profusely but that did not attract the mercy of the management of the institution, especially the Rector.” According to the petition, trouble began when the Rector of the school, Prof. Jumoke Awoderu, ordered soldiers attached to the school to use force to disperse the affected students.
“We gathered that the Rector of the school gave an order to the officers of Operation Mesa (a special security outfit of the Nigeria Army) attached to the school to use force to send away her (Oladokun) and other students from the the school’s gate; this was done to spite our client and her colleagues.
“In obedience to the standing order of the Rector by the men in uniform, our client was flogged several times by two men in uniform with wire and the tail end of their guns, making her to sustain injuries.
“She was further dragged on the floor and brutally molested, making her to sustain several injuries on her body.
“This humiliation from the men in uniform attracted other students and members of the community who condemned the arbitrary use of power.
“The men in uniform, having realised the gravity of what they had done, took our client to the office of the Rector and lied that our client was confrontational. The Rector saw this and instead of doing the needful ordered that our client be taken to Tapon Police Station to make statements on what actually transpired between her and the men in uniform despite her bad condition.”
Oladokun, a native of Isara Remo, according to the petition, was said to have been detained at the police station for about 10 hours before she was released, following the intervention of a traditional ruler. The petition added:”It is disheartening that when our client was taken to the police station, she was detained from the hours of 12:30 pm to 10:00 pm until the intervention of His Royal Highness, Oba Beje of Oke Agbo in Ijebu Igbo, who other students of the institution had gone to report the unfortunate incident to.
“The traditional ruler came down to the station and secured the release of our client who at that time had lost a lot of blood.
“Our client informed us that the monarch frowned at the act of the police officers and the school authorities.
“This unfortunate act done to our client is vexatious, callous and a gross abuse of her fundamental human rights and human dignity.
“This is least expected from the top official of an institution and the police. Many a time, acts like these are being swept under the carpet and victims are made to suffer in vain.
“That would not happen in this case. This would be pursued to the highest point of ensuring that justice is done. We implore you to use your good office to investigate this matter and ensure that justice is allowed to prevail.”
The school’s reaction
The Rector of the Polytechnic, Mrs Bilesanmi Awoderu, told the The Nation that the information it got about what happened to the female student was not correct. Prodded to give what she considered the correct account of what transpired, she declined further comment.
Awoderui, who spoke briefly on the telephone, gave conditions under which she would speak further on the matter. She said she would have to get clearance from the Ogun State Government to supply information about the issue, asking The Nation to find a date to come down to the institution’s campus at Ijebu-Igbo once the permission to speak on the issue was granted.
When contacted, the Public Relations Officer of Ogun State Ministry of Education, Mr. Kayode Oduyebo, said that he was not aware of the incident or any petition relating to the incident.
In a text message, Oduyebo said: “This is yet to be brought to my notice.”
Recalling her ordeal in the hands of the soldiers, Miss Oladokun said:
“As I was bleeding from the brutality the soldiers meted out to me, the Rector asked them to take me to Tapon Police Station where I was detained for many hours before I was set free after the intervention of Oba Baje of Oke Agbo in Ijebu Igbo.
“As I speak with you I have not recovered from both the injuries sustained and the trauma of the needless attack on me.”
It was learnt that the polytechnic had initially invited Oladokun to appear before the Students Disciplinary Committee (SDC) yesterday, but the invitation was cancelled on Thursday for no clear reasons.
Meanwhile, the national leadership of NAOSS has issued a seven-day ultimatum to the state government to bring the masterminds of the incident to justice.