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Juliana Francis

The Head of Rescue and Referral, Advocates for Children and Vulnerable Persons Network (ACVPN), Comrade Toyin Okanlawon, has narrated how a mild drama played out at the Magistrates Court 2 in Ikorodu area of Lagos State, during the ongoing case of the Proprietress of Alwarit Private School, who was arraigned for in inflicting injury on a student.

Okanlawon alleged a high-level conspiracy against the plaintiff’s mother, Mrs. Ayoola Fatimo, to frustrate the case.

It will be recalled that a student was flogged by the proprietress, Mrs Shobawale, which is against the laws of Lagos State.

Parents and family members of the victim had demanded justice. But the victim’s family has been under intense pressure to drop the case, with influential Nigerians pressuring parents and family members.

The matter was finally taken to court and another drama played out. Members of ACVPN believed that what played out in court was another move to subdue the victim’s mother, trying to make her back out of the case.

Okanlawon, who was in court and has been tracking the case, narrated: “As a result of this pressure, during the court session the mother of the victim went to use rest room and at that time, the case was called. It was assumed she was not in court but the court was informed that she went to the restroom, after a while the case was adjourned to the 27th of July, 2024.

“The victim’s mother, Mrs. Ayoola Fatimo, was about to go home when the Directorate of Public Prosecutor (DPP) representative took her to an office accusing her of reporting her to a human rights organisation, which made a publication against her office.

“The DPP representative threatened to detain Fatimo and handed her to a policeman. Fatimo started begging and denied making any publication.

“The DPP representative then asked her to swear an affidavit that all that was said about her in the publication was not true, adding that she was not backing the proprietress as reported, but that she scolded the proprietress on the day she saw the case in court.

“Fatimo called her husband, who instructed her not to swear to any affidavit. Fatimo and I went back to the court to inform the police orderly of court 2 that her husband asked her to swear to an affidavit.”

Okanlawo said that he had to reach out to his office when a policeman on the DPP representative’s instructions restrained Fatimo.

“What the DPP representative did was nothing short of abuse of office. The DPP rep, a woman, acted as if she had a personal interest in the case and was using underhand tactics to intimidate Fatimo.”

Our reporter gathered that Fatimo and Okanlawo were allowed to go after ACVPN leadership reached out to a judge on the shenanigans playing out at the court.

The case was adjourned to the 27th of July, 2024.

However, before the court case, ACVPN commended a promised effort by the Department Of School Social Work Lagos State Ministry Of Youth And Social Development Mysd Alausa Secretariat, to visit the school and the mom of the brutalised student to hear both sides of the incident.

Okanlawo said: “Report has it that the school social workbook team had called the mother of the victim and promised to visit her and to hear her side of the story.

“The team also called the proprietress of the school to inform of her their visit as well and also hear the side of the story from the witnesses who are siblings of the victim.

“But the findings of the school social work took a reverse step, on getting to the school, the School social work representatives went into the proprietress’s office within a twinkle of an eye they came out smiling while the two siblings of the victim were not called to ask them questions and victim’s mother was not visited nor called back for feedback.

 

It clearly shows that the school social work department representatives have sold out their conscience and mortgage their findings.

 

Tomorrow 23rd of May, 2024 is the court case of the said matter. Details of the court proceedings will be given as it unfolds. It’s now in the open that the school proprietress and her partners in crime are not resting in their journey to truncate justice.

 

The office of the attorney general, DPP, ministry of education and the media should kindly take note.

 

 

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