By Gabriel Dike

The father of SS2 student of Federal Government College, Ijanikin, Lagos, Mr. Douglas Danor has faulted the process that led to the suspension of his son, Daniel Divine Danor by the school management.

Danor told Daily Sun that his son was not given fair hearing by the college management nor was he informed of his offence until he received the suspension letter.

Daniel, an SS2 pupil was placed on indefinite suspension for allegedly soaking the bag of a teacher in the water. He was suspended in August 2023 and his portal for registration and payment of school fee were blocked.

He said his son was falsely accused of conniving with and confessing to doing so with two other classmates of his to soak a teacher’s bag in water, adding, “no evidence of connivance or confession was presented in his file or presented either to the parents or the public.”

He added further: “All this is happening because some our parents, and I am one of them, took the PTA exco to the EFCC and refused to withdraw the case as ordered by the principal of the school, who had earlier threatened that we must withdraw the case if we want our children to remain in FGCL Ijanikin. He is on record saying this, three weeks before this organised suspension came up.

“The incidence (soaking of the teacher’s bag) was said to have happened on Thursday, November 30th, 2023 and the letter of indefinite suspension was handed over on Tuesday, November 4th, 2023. Meaning that the investigation lasted for just one day. From Friday, December 1st, 2023, the day my son went to report the matter to his (assistant class captain, who informed the school authority) to December 4th, 2023 the day I was called to come for the suspension letter. Saturday and Sunday are not weekdays, so he was at home because he is a day student.”

Danor explained that his son’s portal was already blocked as at August 2023, meaning he was technically suspended since August 2023 while the letter of suspension for indiscipline came on December 4th, 2023.

“The school lied saying my son was suspended for misdemeanour which happened about four months after he was already suspended.”

According to him, the school has a contract with him, not his son, stating, “I was not informed of any disciplinary matter so I can be there or send a representative there to boost the child’s confidence and ensure that the sessions are free and fair.

He raised a question mark on proper representation at the panel that tried his son and his right to fair hearing, which was ignored by the college management.

“The boy is a child of barely 14 years, which is less than the age of accountability by the Constitution of Nigeria, yet he was made to face a committee of four adults; Mallam Bello, Madam Oyediran, the VP SA, Mrs. Oluwaseyitan and Mr. Idris Jimba, who had and still have the powers and liberty to harass and intimidate him without any representative from him, noting, “he was denied fair hearing period.”

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Said he: “My son was never given a query or indefinite suspension for a known crime or misconduct as no reason was stated in the letter of suspension. That administrative rules are clear on issues of fair hearing and malicious prosecution.”

He observed that the section of the Federal Ministry of Education rules that his son broke and is being punished for are not stated in his suspension letter, noting, a portion of the letter read: “according to the FME uniform guidelines on offences and punishment, your son is therefore placed on indefinite suspension” What section of the FME guidelines is the DC quoting from?

Danor insisted that his son was the one that reported the matter to the authorities, which helped the disciplinary committee locate the eventual “culprits” and was punished by both the school and the other boys for so doing.

He revealed that the other two boys are known bullies with nefarious activities already known to the school and were deboarded at a time for their bad behaviour and are not known friends of his son.

“My son’s lunch and his bag got missing for hours because he reported the matter to the assistant class captain. He later caught them eating the food, close to the toilet area. This is exactly why he succumbed to the unwritten threat by the boys to help them get the bag, to avoid being bullied.

“After handing over the bag as ordered, he left there and was not part of those who soaked same in the water. Where then lies the connivance?

The angry parent said the whole scheme was preplanned in line with the principal’s threat to achieve a particular objective, asking, “which teacher carries his credentials everywhere and leaves it under the sun on his/her Okada? Where does that happen apart from FGC, Ijanikin?

Danor insisted that his son is innocent of the allegations against him and the college management know it, but they had to look for something to hang on his neck because I was part of parents that dragged the PTA to the EFCC.

He explained that from JSS, his son has never had a query in his file, neither was he (parents) ever called to the school over any matter, arguing, “this is in stark contrast to the records of the other pupils the school is forcefully trying to lump them together.”

He continued: “This is the first time he has been mentioned in any disciplinary action and his punishment is indefinite suspension while there are well known and documented cases of severe matters that happened including a well known misdemeanour that affected the child of the vice principal SA of FGC. The matter is being covered up for several months now. This is known to so many SS 3G and SS 3 students and some teachers.”

Danor disclosed that his son’s right to education as enshrined in our statutes is being breached without fair hearing or due process.

His words: “Nigerians should kindly help to prevail on the authority to rescind this wrong decision. The authorities too must be aware that whatever necessary steps legally or otherwise permissible that should be, would be employed to get justice for this child.”