I’m happy and sad, says pupil with eye damaged by teacher’s cane.

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by Olatunde Odebiyi

For years to come, Daniel Agboola will not forget March 29, the day he almost lost one of his eyes from the damage his class teacher, Mr. Oludare Olaleye’s cane did to it. As it was reported by The Nation on May 4, it was exam period at Camp David Group of Schools in Ogba, a Lagos suburb, so the SS2 pupil sat in the classroom with his classmates, awaiting the question papers.

Then came in Olaleye, their supervisor and teacher in the school, who told them to move out of the classroom as necessary arrangements were being made to get the questions ready. It turned out that Daniel was the last of the pupils to step out of the classroom as directed.

Daniel had barely stepped out of the class when the teacher called him back and accused him of marching on his foot as he was going out. Daniel responded by saying that he did not know that he marched on the teacher’s foot. But rather than demand an apology, the teacher fetched a cane and flogged Daniel mercilessly, injuring his right eye in the process.

Lamenting the incident, Daniel recalled that he had gone to school late on that day and would have stayed at home if he had an inkling of the evil that lurked in the corner.

He said: “I went to school late on that day. If I had known what fate had in store for me, I would have absconded from school. The incident gave me a lot of psychological stress for months.”

Since the incident, Daniel had not gone to school because he could not see with his damaged right eye. He also could not write the remaining subjects in the examination. But respite finally came after some turbulent exchanges between him, his parents, the teacher, the school’s authority and the Lagos State Government. His damaged eye was operated upon and now he admitted enjoying such a relief that he thinks he is in a dream.

The operation, paid for by the school, was carried out on May 28 at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) where he is still going for checkups. But Daniel still desires regaining his clear vision back even though he can now see better than he did when the incident occurred.

But he has his worries, the biggest being how he would avoid losing one academic year, knowing that he did not finish the second term exams while the third term exams are around the corner.

He said: “My right eye vision is not yet clear. I can only see things that are very close. I cannot read. I cannot see from afar. I want my vision to be clear. I don’t want to use recommended glasses.”

Recalling his time under the surgeon’s knife, Daniel said he was scared going for the operation. He said: “It was something new and strange to me. I had not gone for an operation nor seen one before.

“When I entered the theatre, fear struck me, but I had to bring my faith into action. Undergoing an operation was not an easy task. I was told not to move for about 30 minutes that the operation lasted. I thank God it was successful.

“My left eye was covered so I did not see what was going on. But I heard some of the things the doctors said and felt what they were doing to the eye. I know they changed my lens. I was just praying to God for success.

“The initial pain in the eye has reduced after the operation. Now I have been told that I must not bend and must always put on the sun shade till the eye is fully recovered.

“I faced the stress of going to the police station to write a statement after the operation. My education has been affected. It is not easy for me to remember some things, especially school work. I am just recovering and getting myself back. I don’t want to repeat SS2.

“I believe I can meet up with extra classes to do the SS2 promotional exam and pass, but I cannot read with the eye. I want my vision back. I want the school to pay damages for the stress I have passed through, and those of my mother and my entire family.”

Angry, distressed and unhappy over the condition of her son’s eye, Daniel’s mother, Hannah Agboola, said the incident had cost her a whole lot. “Is it the physical stress that I want to count or the emotional or psychological or unbudgeted financial expenses?

“This school has stressed me beyond measure over the past two months. I cannot go to work or carry out my duties as an evangelist in the church. I have to stay all day with Daniel to apply his various eye drops. Some are to be administered every one hour, two hours, five hours and so on. I have had to set the alarm as a reminder. I dare not miss one, because he cannot apply them himself. I even wake up the night to apply the eye drops.

Commending the press for its reports on the issue, Mrs. Agboola said “When the first story was published, I saw in it the school’s claim that my son’s eye was already paining him before he came to school, but I said that was a lie.

“The Lagos State Ministry of Youths and Social Development called me and requested that I should write out all my expenses and bring it to their office. I told them I could not write out how much I had spent, but that I would come to the office.

“When I got there, the woman who attended to me said they have to call me because the teacher said he did not beat my son in the eye. But I debunked the claim because the teacher admitted at the onset that the so-called beating was a mistake.

“There was a lot of drama in the school. They wanted to cheat me because they thought there was nothing l could do.

“A woman in the school said that since I was shouting that I wanted the operation done at eye foundation, I should bring N500,000 because the school had no money. I asked if I looked like someone that had that kind of money. Then I said I was not doing the operation in Nigeria again, that I wanted it done abroad

“In the end, one of the teachers followed us to LASUTH, but the operation was not done on that day. He was checked and it was confirmed that he had cataract. The school owner later begged.

“The following day, I went to the state Ministry of Education because I wanted to know the report that education ministry gave to the ministry of youth and social development. They condemned the step l took by reporting the incident in the newspaper.

“The next day, we went to LASUTH where it was also confirmed that he had cataract. We did different tests on several days, but I thank God that the operation was eventually done on May 28, almost two months after the incident.

“I thank God that the operation was successful. He went home the same day the operation was done.” she explained.

Daniel’s mother said the first publication on the incident The Nation was the saving grace because the school authority were not ready to shoulder the operation bills. She however said she spent some of her personal money before the operation took place.

Teacher Oladele was, however, dragged to an Ikeja Magistrate’s Court on July 22, 2019 for inflicting an injury on his pupil.

According to the prosecutor, ASP Benson Emuerhi, the teacher committed the offence on March 29 between 11 am and 1 pm at Camp David Academy located at No. 7, Bodunrin Caulcrick Close, Ogba, Lagos.

Emuerhi said: “The teacher was on duty supervising examinations at the school and had requested that the SS1 and SS2 students leave the hall before the commencement of their examination.

“The defendant alleged that the complainant, Daniel Agboola an SS1 student, had hit him while leaving the hall and Olaleye caned the student as punishment.

“While the teacher was caning Agboola, the cane hit him in his right eye, leading to a serious injury which required surgery.”

According to the prosecution, the offence contravened Section 173 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2015.

Following the teacher’s arraignment, the Chief Magistrate, Mrs Olufunke Sule-Amzat, granted the teacher bail in the sum of N50,000 with a surety in like sum. She adjourned the case until October 21, for mention. (The Nation)

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