Parents drag proprietor to court for allegedly expelling three pupils from school over N200

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BY TIMOTHY AGBOR, OSOGBO

The Proprietor of Ibukunolu Nursery, Primary and Secondary School, Osogbo, capital of Osun State, Femi Fawole, has been dragged before a Family Court in the state for allegedly driving away three young children from school over non-payment of N200 bank charges.

Fawole, a former Permanent Secretary at one of the Ministries in the state, allegedly sent the three pupils, who are of the same parents, away from school, recently, after their parents failed to add N200 bank charges to the school fees of their children, which was transferred to the proprietor’s bank account.

When the children resumed classes, Fawole reportedly told the pupils, aged between 6 and 12, that their parents had yet to pay the sum of N200, which the bank deducted after the transfer of their school fees as charges.

The proprietor, thereafter, called the pupils out on the assembly ground, allegedly tongue lashed them and drove them out of the school to fetch the money.

Angered that the school owner exposed their children to danger by expelling them without their notice and also assaulting them verbally before their fellow students, the affected parents approached a Family Court in Osogbo to protect the rights of the children to education and also seek redress for the alleged verbal and psychological abuse they were subjected to.

In a ‘Save-our-Soul’ letter authored by the mother of the three pupils, Mrs Azeez Bolanle, and obtained by The Point, Fawole was accused of flouting the Child Right Law of the state.

The letter, which was addressed to a human rights organisation in the state, read, “I, Mrs. Azeez Bolanle, write to complain against Mr. Femi Fawole, the Proprietor of Ibukunolu Nursery, Primary and Secondary School, Alekunwodo, Osogbo, for child assault, psychological and emotional violence against my children – Azeez Abdulateef, 12 years; Azeez Kafilat, 9 years and Azeez Sofiyya, 6 years. I paid their school fees without owing the school management. But, to my surprise, my child was sent out of school for N200 bank charges that the proprietor added to the school fees without a proper and formal notice.

“I phoned him that he should stop assaulting the child, that when I come back, I would visit the school. The boy was sent out of school when no one was at home, the boy had to beg a woman on the street for the N200 to pay to the school, which they collected. When I heard about it, I had to call the proprietor and gave him another warning for not protecting the interest of the child in his custody, which is against the Child Right Law and VAPP Law.

“The following morning, he (proprietor) had to gather all the teachers and students to inform them that my three children should not come to school again, that they were not disciplined for them to have reported him to their parents. I want you to use your good office to look into this matter. This has caused my family, most especially the boy involved, psychological and emotional imbalance ever since the matter started. Thesechildren can’t be expelled from school because education is their right.”

A human rights activist, Citizen Lola Wey, frowned at the incident, saying, “The fundamental right of the children to education is being trampled upon by the proprietor because of an alleged non-payment of N200 demanded as bank charges for money transferred from their mother’s bank account into the school’s bank account. The poor little children were allegedly expelled from the school on Monday after being abused verbally and psychologically at the school’s assembly in the presence of other students and staff of the school for a sin purportedly committed by their mother before being sent home.”

Meanwhile, Magistrate A. Daramola of the Family Court has ordered that the pupils be accepted back to their school and adjourned the matter for the proprietor to appear.

“This case is being looked into at the Family Court, Testing Ground Area, Osogbo. The court has ordered the children back to the school without any further molestation and stigmatization by either the proprietor, his staff and other students of the school to enable them sit for the promotion exam. The case has been adjourned till Thursday 25th July for proper hearing when Mr Fawole’s lawyer, Mr Olatunbosun, is expected to be in court as requested by him,” Wey disclosed.