A media executive and former Commissioner for Information in Ogun State, Mr. Niran Malaolu and the management of Trinity International College, Ofada, also in Ogun State, are at daggers’ drawn following the expulsion of Malaolu’s daughter from the school.
A Senior Secondary (SS3) student, Oluwademilade Malaolu was expelled from the school over alleged gross misconduct, bullying of fellow students and use of contraband item in the college. And the student was also accused of recording students undergoing punishment and posting same online.
But the father of the girl said there were many questions that were yet to be answered in the allegations against his daughter. He said no one has been able to provide the link to the purported video. Also, he said no student has so far come to validate the physical injuries inflicted on her, as raised by the school management. Therefore, he said such expulsion must be reversed and Oluwademilade should be allowed to attend her graduation.
But the Board Chairman of the college, Pastor S. O. Olatunji, told the reporter on the telephone that Malaolu was only shying away from the truth. He said the management and board of the school would not take such decision in a hasty manner but only after thorough investigations, which went through four phases.
Insisting that there was nothing anyone could do about the expulsion, which he said was in line with the code and conduct of the college, he advised the aggrieved parent to go to court if he is not satisfied with the decision of the school rather than seeking public sympathy.
He expressed disappointment over Malaolu’s reaction to the punishment meted out to the alleged erring student. He said the same law applies to every student in the school.
As gathered, trouble started on June 30, 2019, when Mr. Malaolu got a text message from the school asking him, as a matter of urgency, to see the college administrator in her office immediately after the Parents Teachers Association’s (PTA) meeting.
Malaolu said he and his wife were alarmed by the message, especially as they were not in Nigeria at that moment. He said they started making frantic efforts to call the necessary people to ascertain what the exact problem was.
He said he finally got across to the Principal, Senior School (PSS), Mrs. O. R. Adeyemo the following morning, noting that she thereafter broke the news to him that his daughter had done something that is capable of dragging the name of the school in the mud.
In a letter he wrote to Pastor Olatunji, the distraught father said: “The PSS told me that ‘Oluwademilade lost her hand-fan and after lights-out at 12.00 midnight, then she packed all the SS1 students out of their hostel, lined them out on the lawn and punished them for hours.’
“I was alarmed. And I said why would she do that when she’s not their teacher or housemother. I apologised for her misdemeanour and reiterated the fact that we weren’t in the country. She said the issue had thrown the whole college into commotion, as it disrupted the PTA meeting, with some aggrieved parents threatening to take the school to court. She restated the need for me to see the college administrator urgently. I told her I would quickly begin to look for a flight immediately. We got a flight to Accra on Thursday, July 4, from where we then flew to Lagos. Our physical and emotional state is better imagined than narrated.”
He narrated that he and his wife went straight to the school upon arriving in Lagos. “The PSS then said ‘that Oluwademilade tortured the SS1 students, inflicted bodily injuries on them and then videoed them nude and posted the video online. She opened her safe and brought out the phone (exhibit) with which Oluwademilade purportedly committed the act. I almost collapsed on my seat. I was shaken to the bone marrow with guilt and sorrow.
“Thereafter, the PSS took us to the college administrator who repeated the same story. We felt so ashamed that my wife burst into tears, right there in the college administrator’s office. But we were comforted when the college administrator said that Oluwademilade had been made to realise her error via punishment by isolation since Sunday, June 30. She had apologised to the concerned students at the assembly, we were told, and that the punishment was not meant to destroy her but to correct her.
“The PSS added that the whole incident has had an impact on Oluwademilade as, for the first time, she has seen Oluwademilade broken. While we apologised profusely, the college administrator told us that there would be further consequences: that Oluwademilade would not be allowed to attend the graduation, and that she would also be expelled from the college.
“We were dazed, but we took the ‘decree’ with spiritual equanimity. We requested to see her, but we were not obliged as we were told to return the next day, July 5. We felt deflated and disappointed. We were angry with our own daughter. Why won’t we? The case against her was well-marshalled and carefully presented that any judge, no matter how benevolent, would immediately order her summary execution.
“Again, we had another ‘night of the long knife.’ I had to be sedated, as I couldn’t sleep. However, we returned to the college on July 5, and the PSS took us to the college administrator. There, we were given the letter of expulsion. Afterwards, we picked her up and drove her home.
However, we noticed that she had lost weight and had been drained emotionally. Who would not be? As we didn’t want to aggravate things, we deferred asking for her side of the story till the following day.
“We resumed calling the parents of the complainant-students to tender our heartfelt apology. We spoke to many of the parents and it was then that we found out the gross inconsistencies in the stories we have been fed all along.
“On July 6, I asked Oluwademilade for her side of the story. Her version corroborated the stories of the parents of the complainant-students. I asked her if she inflicted bodily harm on the students, videoed them nude and posted same online. She denied doing all that vehemently. It was at that point that my daughter tumbled over. She started gasping for breath. And we had to rush her to the hospital.”
He said it was shameful to him that his daughter took part in such an act and described it as condemnable, but Malaolu argued that the allegation has conveniently buried the notion of cause and effect, as key aspect in behavioural analysis.
He stated: “The allegation insinuates that my daughter just woke up, like a sadist unfit for human habitation, and marched a group of 29 students to Golgotha. Why the causality of the incident was buried baffles me. The truth is that Esther Ajuwa came to my daughter searching for her hand-fan. The colour of Esther’s hand-fan is green while Oluwademilade’s is white. She (Esther) claimed that the missing hand-fan, which was borrowed from a JS1 student, was stolen. Oluwademilade followed her in search of the stolen hand-fan. The said hand-fan was found in the locker of a certain SS1 student in Room 9. Why the investigations conveniently overlooked that fact is mind-boggling.”
On the nude video that was posted online, he said: “The phone with my daughter has no SIM card and is incapable of posting anything online. Besides, every equipment capable of posting materials online have identifiable IP address. Such IP addresses are traceable with location, date and time. The investigators probably misled the college administrator as they did the entire board.”
But the board chairman said apart from other processes of the investigations, almost all the victims as well as Oluwademilade, have written separate statements to validate the act.
But Malaolu faulted the claim. He said: “The investigators probably forgot to disclose that they made Oluwademilade to write her statement four separate times as they kept coming back dictating to her what to write and how to write it. They probably forgot that a statement gotten by coercion is a nullity before the law.
“I have spoken to some of the parents of the complainant-students, including the parent that raised the issue at the meeting. I asked them if their wards had any bodily injuries. They all answered in the negative. I asked if they had seen the ‘nude’ video of their children online and on which website. They all answered in the negative. Also, neither my wife nor I have been shown the video and the online site where the so-called evidence was posted. I wonder if the Board members have seen these ‘magical videos’ too? Therefore, if these clandestine and elusive videos are the evidence upon which Oluwademilade had suffered unimaginable mental, physical and psychological torture, including isolation like a prisoner, then, it is obvious that there’s a sinister motive at play.
“I know that Demilade is outspoken and I understand that that ‘attribute’ has made her a target of some of your officials. Sir, I am also not unaware that every incident in the college that involved her, no matter how insignificant, has ended in serious tongue-lashing or dressing down. On such occasions, she had been called ‘a failure,’ ‘a fool,’ ‘someone without morals,’ ‘someone who has no Jesus in her,’ ‘someone whose marriage will fail,’ ‘someone without home training’, among others.
“When a child is bombarded with such negative vibes in a particular environment, it is understandable that such a child, as parenting experts and child psychologists have posited, would also react to that loveless and hateful milieu. Sir, I want to believe that there are records of your staff meetings. If you interrogate such records, you would begin to understand how Oluwademilade had been a target with unending threats to de-badge her.”
Malaolu said since his daughter has written a letter of apology for each of the students; apologised before the whole school; to the school management; and taken round by the same parent who raised the issue at the PTA meeting to beg the other parents and the teachers, the expulsion was too harsh on her.
He, therefore, appealed to the management of the school, to reverse the expulsion and allow Oluwademilade to attend her graduation.
Also speaking with the reporter, the college administrator, Mrs Titi Akintemi said going to this level even when the aggrieved father knew the truth was least expected of him. She said Malaolu was out to rubbish the reputation of the college.
She said apart from Oluwademilade, another student was expelled over the same issue, revealing that the latter’s parents took it in good faith.
“This thing has been established because we set up a disciplinary committee to look into it. I don’t know why he is running to the press,” she said.