The Federal Government yesterday constituted a five-man panel to probe the sexual molestation allegation against a teacher at Queen’s College in Yaba, Lagos Mainland.
The panel members were not named.
A statement by the Federal Ministry of Education (FMoE) Deputy Director of Press Bem Goong said the government was disturbed by the claim that a teacher, Mr Olaseni Oshifala, sexually molested a Junior School Two (JSII) pupil. The girl’s identity is yet to be unravelled.
The claim of her mother, Chinenye Okoye, on a blog, Olorisupergal.com, that her daughter was sexually harassed by her teacher, outraged the public, which is demanding an investigation into the matter.
The setting up of the panel came just as the Queens’ College Old Girls’ Association (QCOGA) declared that the allegations against Oshifala were “not unfounded”.
Quoting the Minister of State for Education, Prof Anthony Anwukah, Goong said the panel has two weeks to submit its report.
The panel is to recommend how to deal with the matter without fear or favour.
The statement advised parents, guardians, students and staff of the college who have information to reach the committee on: 07034613096 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anwukah assured parents whose children are in any of the Unity Schools and other Federal Government Colleges that the kids were in safe hands.
The government will continue to do everything within the law to protect children in its schools nationwide, including Queen’s College.
A statement by the QCOGA Fact Finding Committee chairperson Mrs Laila St. Matthew-Daniel, claimed that Oshifala has been harassing pupils of the school since 2005, adding that he was reported but never punished.
The association sent a petition to Lagos State Commissioner of Police, seeking an investigation of the case.
The statement reads: “allegations of sexual harassment, sexual impropriety and indecent treatment of children against Mr Oshifala are not unfounded; the allegations go as far back as 2005 when he was first employed; the allegations against Mr Oshifala and other male staff were consistently reported to current PQC (Principal, Queen’s College), current VPQCs, former PQCs and former VPQCs and no steps were taken to stop these dastardly acts.
“There are male staff living in close proximity (within the hostel areas) whilst the girls move about in different stages of undress; Total neglect of the welfare of the girls as shown by their filthy hostel, with overflowing and smelly gutters, creating potential festering pools of disease.”
The old girls demanded that the ministry “should immediately take steps to remove the alleged perpetrator from the school premises” and “investigate breaches of the Child Rights act.” They are also seeking the sanctioning of the school’s indicted principal officers.
Also yesterday, Lagos State police chief Fatai Owoseni said the command was investigating the matter.
He said: “The very senior police officers who can be best described as the backbone of the command’s intelligence base are on the case. Deputy Commissioner of Police Administration, Deputy Commissioner of Police Operations including the Officer in Charge of Public Complaints Bureau are involved in the case.”
Owoseni spoke when the Nigeria Air Force Ikeja Base Commander Paul David Masiya visited him.
He said security operatives, such as the military, Customs, Immigration and Police, among others, enjoyed cordial relations.
Masiya said: “We want to join Lagos Police Command in its good work of keeping the state safe and I want to assure you that we will improve on the synergy already on ground”.