Another boarding house student of St. Michael’s Boys College, Ozubulu, Anambra State, Master Chimdalu Onyekwuluje, has reportedly died, while controversy surrounds the death of a boarding student of Dowen College, Lagos, Sylvester Oromoni.
Onyekwuluje, an 11-year-old JSS 2 student at the school, was believed to have died as a result of the school’s negligence, which allegedly neglected to call his parents to pick him up after he became ill.
The scene at Uzoakwa, Ihiala, Anambra State, where the deceased boy was buried seemed to be pitiful, as family members and neighbors wept as the child was laid to rest in his family compound.
Prince Cornelius and Ogochukwu Onyekwuluije, who spoke to journalists during their son’s funeral, said that even though the student’s health had deteriorated, the school administration insisted that he stay in school to finish his exams before being released, claiming that this decision was the cause of his death.
The student died on December 17, 2021, just nine days after his parents picked him up from St. Michael’s Boys College.
This occurred when a deceased relative borrowed a phone to notify the boy’s parents that he was ill and that the school administration was not ready to release him until he completed his exams.
Onyekwuluje said: “My son, Bright Chidalu Onyekwuluje died out of negligence on the part of the school. He was sick, and they refused to tell us. It was my son’s cousin that borrowed a phone to call his mother to inform us to come and pick Bright that he was dying.
“He told us he has been the one backing him from the school hostel to the classroom every day, to sit for exams.
“Even after the call, I reached the guardian of my son, but he lied to me that the boy was okay and that it was nothing serious. I insisted on coming from Port Harcourt, Rivers State where I live to pick him, and they insisted it was nothing serious.
“When I insisted I must see him, I was surprised the boy looked so bad that he was already dying. I asked the guardian if this was the boy he said was alright, but he did not answer. Now I have lost my only son,” he cried.
However, the principal of St Michael’s Boys College, Rev. Fr. Romanus Ike Muoma, has denied that the school management delayed the release of the student to his parents.
Muoma who spoke in his office, said: “The boy was seen here in school moving about with other students, days before his father came. What we have here (college) is not an auxiliary nurse, but a qualified nurse from Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi, and we pay heavily for his services.
“The boy was diagnosed with malaria, and was immediately put on treatment, and afterwards, he was okay. When it was found that the boy was ill again, it was the guardian that called the parents to come and take him.”
When told that the deceased’s cousin was punished by the school for calling the parents to inform them of the illness, Muoma claimed that the boy was only made to kneel for a few minutes and that it was against the rule for students to call parents because calls are only made from a central point by management.
Onyekwuluije’s family, on the other hand, has expressed an interest in seeking justice for their son.
Mr Ben Onyekwuluije, the deceased boy’s elder brother, said the family had filed a petition to the Inspector General of Police, Alkali Baba, and that they would stop at nothing until justice was done.