By Kadir Abdulfatai
Recently the entire citizens of kwara state were thrown into massive chaos following a dust of an escalating confusion that greeted the Kwara State School for Special Needs (KSSSN), leading to a free-for-all confrontation between the Deaf and Blind units of the school.
Incidentally, the controversial squabble, INN understands, has made a thunderous buzz on the page of Daily Trust Newspaper of Sunday, July 16th, 2023, and on social media platforms.
However, the news reported by Daily Trust newspaper on the development has met with scornful resistance from the stakeholders of Kwara State Association of the Deaf (KWSAD) and management of Kwara State School for Special Needs (KSSSN) on the ground of gross disinformation and alleged misrepresentation of facts.
In an attempt to set the record straight and paint a clear picture of the dramatic incident in the faces of the general public, the leadership of KWSAD and that of KSSSN jointly refuted the seemingly smear and misconstrued narratives captured on the page of Daily Trust newspaper through a rejoinder that goes viral on social media and made a copy available to Inclusive News Network (INN).
The content of the well-drafted rejoinder reads partly, thus;
“The attention of the Kwara State Association of the Deaf as well as the Management of Kwara State School for Special Needs, Ilorin, has been drawn to a misleading report that has gone viral on social media and was published in the Daily Trust Newspaper on Sunday, July 16th, 2023 on page 29 reported by Kwara Reporters captioned “In Kwara Special School, It’s Battle Between Blind, Deaf Students”
“The report carried a distorted account of a matter that transpired in the Principalship between the Blind unit and the Deaf unit which the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education and Human Capital Development had amicably settled out of the false allegation carried out by the National Association of Blind, Kwara State Chapter”.
“Yes, the Permanent Secretary with one of her entourage came to the school to resolve the matter, where it gave peace a chance. The Management wishes to state categorically that the information contained in the said publications is fake, baseless, and very likely, a deliberate attempt to misrepresent the issues to destroy the reputation of the school and its Principal”. the statement said.
Recalling the root cause of the free-for-all drama that fateful Sunday, the statement noted; “The issue of fighting over food between the Blind students and the Deaf students was raised a few weeks after Alhaji (Engr.) Ganeey Olododo Ayodeji took over as the Principal”.
” It occurred on one Sunday when students were supposed to take their lunch of Beans and Garri immediately after the Shur prayer (afternoon Muslim prayer), specifically 2:30 pm – 3 pm but the Blind pupils arrived earlier than the usual time when nobody was in the dining hall except one Deaf senior student who was helping to guide the food already set on table while the school cooks were busy in the kitchen preparing the dinner”.
“Though, not yet time for the lunch, the blind pupils were allowed to take their food and the Deaf student who was guiding the food volunteered to serve them Garri with the usual measurement. So one stubborn blind boy who is partially sighted demanded more Garri but the Deaf student refused and insisted that they are all served equal measurement.”
” The blind boy started to abuse the Deaf in speaking and also in local signs which the Deaf student told him to stop, but he refused, which led to a fight between the two. Another blind girl joined to beat the Deaf under the pretence of separating them, so the Deaf turned to the girl too and beat her.”
” In the process, the blind girl bites the Deaf. All through that time, it was only one Deaf student with many Blind pupils until when the time for lunch was ready Deaf students arrived to meet them and separate them and called the attention of the cooks who also joined in the separation”.
“Later the matron on duty also came to meet and settled the misunderstanding. Then report was carried to Mrs Afolayan Opebimpe S., the food mistress and she also went to meet them and settled the matter”.
“When the Principal arrived in the evening from his usual family meeting, he has not even entered the house when he went to summon all the Blind and Deaf pupils/students in the dining hall and address them. The matter was amicably settled. How comes the Blind Association used it against the Deaf to the extent of claiming that the Principal always defends the Deaf against them?”
According to the statement, One other thing that further compounded the issue “is that the Daily Trust Newspaper reported as if they have direct contact with the Principal, they withheld those students’ names, whereas they never visited the school or meet with the Principal”
The groups also said, “had the Reporters exercised greater diligence in gathering their information, they would have discovered the claim that “a month ago, Deaf students engaged in a game-like relationship with Blind students, leading to a battle over food during lunch” is completely unscrupulous of the matter that cannot produce ample evidence. Indeed, the premise on which the entire report is based is patently deceptive and appears to have been done purposely to mislead the general public”
Another effort made by the two organizations to further justify the ingenuity of the misconstrued claims published in the Daily Trust newspaper of Sunday 16th July, 2023, especially that of sexual molestation against the so-called innocent Blind student as reported in the misleading story is the bold assertion that “the allegations of sexual harassment done by the Deaf student to the female Blind student, claiming that it is supported by the school principal, Alhjai (Engr.) Ganeey Olododo Ayodeji, we challenge the mischief of this spurious allegation to prove it with substantiated proof to justify the claim”
It is also revealed in the statement that, “If a blind female student who claimed that she has been sexually harassed by a Deaf student is true, her name would not have been withheld in the said publications and she would have reported to the school authority earlier”
Stressing further that in the history of KSSSN, “this issue has never gotten to the office of the past principals not even to talk of the present principal”.
” It appears that blind teachers and blind outsiders were aiding blind students in perpetrating this acrimony against Deaf students”
Finally, the groups queried, “One hearing teacher, named Mr Michael Bamisaiye stayed in the next flat of the blind female hostel, if the deaf male student was in action with the blind student, would she not cried out for help to the extend that he (Bamisaiye) could hear?”
In light of the above, KWSAD demands the Daily Trust Newspaper should as a matter of urgency publish this rejoinder in response to their Newspaper publications of Sunday, July 16 2023 and apologize for reporting what they have not confirmed.