Blind students vs their teachers: Inside story of the imbroglio and attack on OCYF president
The Nigerian Training Centre for the Blind, Yaku road, Ogbomoso, Oyo state, is currently engulfed in a crisis of confidence as teachers of the training centre and their pupils/students are having a face-off over the welfare of the latter.
The situation has degenerated so much that teachers of the centre composed of those who are physically impaired and those with their sight, last Thursday, manhandled the president of the Ogbomoso Community Youth Forum, OCYF, Rev’d Peter Olaleye as they frowned at the mediation of the group in the imbroglio.
In a video clip that has gone viral Rev’d Olaleye lamented that he had gone to the centre to hold a meeting with the two parties during which he was attacked by the aggrieved teachers.
According to Olaleye, in a chat with ogbomosoinsightonline.com, OCYF was beckoned to assist in investigating the matter by a popular OAP in Ibadan, Oriyomi Hamzat of Agidigbo FM, Ibadan.
The assignment by Oriyomi Hamzat was sequel to a protest carried out by the students/pupils of the school at the Agidigbo FM station in which they alleged their teachers of high-handedness, of inflicting them with poor welfare, suffering etc.
Six of the students took the protest to Ibadan. They included Akeem Sulaiman, Akinlolu Oluwatosin, Adekanmbi Sodiq, Oladipupo Ibrahim and Olajide Kamil.
The lead speaker, Akeem Sulaiman stated, “The anomaly has been happening since about seven years ago. We used to have a headmaster (HM) Mr. Yemi Omotanbaje, who was unpopular among us for the zero care he demonstrated to our welfare, we were indeed very happy when he left.”
Sulaiman further alleged, “These our ogas divert foods meant for us. The ones donated by philanthropists and those from government via allocations. The result is that we are poorly fed.
“Also, we were given a bus to convey us to school, that is those of us at Adeniran Memorial Grammar School, about a kilometre from the primary section where our hostel is located. This is because many of us were often knocked down by vehicles and okadas while going to school so they donated a bus to us but Omotanbaje never allowed us to benefit the bus he rather converted it to personal use, using the bus for transport business till the vehicle got damaged.”
Another complainant lamented, “The diversion of food is a common thing which make us suffer hunger from time to time. Yet, these are people paid salaries by government.
“Many times when we go to the kitchen to collect food we will be hearing them giving instructions that they should add water to the stew meant for us. The food given us is never tasty. When they cook beans, you could count the number of grains as it is mostly water.
“Also the roads within the centre are bad, which pose serious challenge to us as we do fall while walking on them. So we appeal to government to rehabilitate the roads as well as to public spirited people to come to our aid.
We also beg for provision of another bus because going to and coming from school expose us to a lot of danger on the road.
Then there is the issue of rape of a blind student by three of the teachers. The culprits were picked up by the police but we learnt they were later released on bail. The parent reportedly said they handed the suspects to God.
Furthermore, the students alleged that the school’s clinic is short of drugs, “the same drug is admnistered to someone having malaria, to a pupil knocked down by okada, to those suffering stomachache, even now there is no drug, we treat ourselves spending our money. Government should come to our aid.”
They also alleged that students are delayed after completing their studies, “instead of allowing us to go they keep us without holding graduation for us.”
Furthermore, they said, “they deny us use of hostels meant for us, instead they send us out to rent rooms they organized themselves.
“In addition, electricity situation is bad, and so water is not often pumped. Thus, we go out to fetch water despite our condition. We therefore appeal to government to look into our plight.”
Meanwhile, the protesting students clarified that their protest was not targeted at government but that they were looking towards having improved conditions.
“We are not doing this to antagonize government but to call for improvement in our welfare after all we have limited time to spend but for the purpose of those coming behind us so they won’t have to suffer in the school.
OCYF’s intervention efforts included grading roads within the centre with assistance from Ogbomoso North local government, which provided the body with grader and undertook the fueling.
But the authorities of the school and staff were not disposed favourably to the “probing” by the youth group. It thus tolerated the “pokenosing” until it couldn’t again and so the physical attack on the group’s president, Peter Olaleye, who went there alone on the day.
The teachers vented their anger on him heaping abuses on him, tore his clothes and showed him no mercy. They could be heard in the video shouting thieves on him, who however answered them rhetorically, “Who is a thief between us?”
Prior that day, the Oyo state Commissioners for Education, Science and Technology, Barrister Rahman Abiodun Abdulraheem and Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Inclusion, Alhaja Kafilat Omolabake Olayiwola, visited the school on a fact-finding mission just as the ministry of education officials in Ogbomoso led by Mrs. Abosede Olabode, the Zonal Inspector of Education also called on the centre.
In respect of the rape issue against a blind female student three of the staff were arrested by the police and detained. They were however released on bail while investigation is ongoing to establish the veracity of the claim.
Meanwhile, ogbomosoinsightonline.com learnt that emissaries are being sent to Rev’d Peter Olaleye by the headmistress of the school, Mrs. Rachael Adebiyi, who allegedly orchestrated the attack.
Olaleye had said he informed the woman of his coming that day and had responded no problem “not knowing she had incited her teachers against me.”
Continuing he stated, “We meant no evil for the school. After the road grading we planned on the replacement of pipes within the school premises with a view to restoring water supply there. We had called in plumbers to begin the work. We were planning to fix some other things. But l had asked the teachers about the food diversion, that is what surely put them on edge. They were perhaps frightened that the infractions being perpetrated there were to be exposed. Indeed, corruption is a monster that always fights dirty.”
But he had forgiven them, he emphasized.
When ogbomosoinsightonline.com reached out to the HM she refused to talk. She only retorted, “I have nothing to say.” All prompting to make her give her own side of the story was rebuffed, insisting she had nothing to say.
In the meantime investigations into the matter continue.