For Daniel Agboola, a Senior Secondary School Two pupil of Camp David Academy, Ogba, Lagos State, Friday, March 29 is a date etched in his memory for life. It was the day his teacher, Mr. Oludare Olaleye, damaged his right eye in the process of caning him.
The day had begun like any other as Daniel and his classmates prepared to sit for an examination in the school’s hall. Olaleye, the supervisor for the exam, told the pupils to move out of the hall because the questions for the examination were not ready.
“As we moved out, he stood by the narrow door. As the last pupil to leave the hall, I had barely stepped out when he (Olaleye) called me back, saying that I hit him while I was rushing out of the hall,” Daniel recalled.
Convinced that he did not hit Olaleye, Daniel said he politely told him so, but that became his undoing.
“He did not allow me to say any other thing. He took his cane and started beating me,” he said.
Daniel recalled that as Olaleye continued to flog him, the cane landed on one his right eye and he collapsed.
He said: “I became weak. It was like I was dead. I could not say anything and did not remember anything. My head was empty. But he probably thought I was pretending, so he beat me the more, asking me to get up. I mustered the last energy in me to get up and I moved out of the hall while he shared the exam papers to my other classmates.
“It was when my classmates shouted that blood was coming out of my eyes that I went to the school’s accountant office to explain everything to her.
“The school sent for a doctor who happened to be one of the school’s parents. She said that nothing was wrong with the eye. Because the eye was swollen, she put ice block on it and said we should seek the advice of an eye specialist.
“The school accountant and I went to the nearby Blue Cross Hospital in Ogba, but we were told that no eye doctor was available and we were referred elsewhere opposite the hospital. On getting there, they too did not have an eye doctor around, so we were referred to another place in the same complex.
“The doctor, after testing the eye, said there was nothing wrong with it. He said it was a minor issue and recommended some eye drops we should buy. The doctor also referred us to Vision Plus, an eye hospital in Ikeja, to check the eye pressure.
“All the while we were moving around, blood was still coming out of my eye. It was swollen, the pain was much and I was not seeing anything with it. I covered the eye from the sun as we headed back to school.
“The accountant and Mr Olaleye later took me to Vision Plus where the eye pressure was checked and we were told to come back for the result the following Monday.
“We went back to the school and I later went home with the eye drops we had bought earlier. I was using the eye drops until the person who was applying them for me discovered that two of them had expired since October last year.”
Daniel added: “On Saturday (the day after the incident), the school took me to Eye Foundation where the eye was tested. The eye surgeon was not around and I was given some other eye drops and tablets.
“They said there was nothing wrong with the eye but that the blood could not flow. So they told us to come back the following Thursday.
“When we got there on Thursday for another round of tests, they still said that nothing was wrong with the eyes.
“It was when we went back there on Friday that we met the eye surgeon who after scan and tests said the eye has traumatic cataract and would need operation.
“He prescribed another eye drop for me because the eye pressure had not gone down. He said the normal eye pressure should be 16 but mine was 32.
“He said the operation could not be done immediately because the pressure of the eye must return to normal first.
“He said the operation would cost N1 million, but the school said the money was too much and that we should try other hospitals.
“The school also took me to Aricillia Catholic Hospital where they said the lens of my eye, which was supposed to be white, was covered with blood, hence other eye drops were prescribed for me.
“The doctor also said I had traumatic cataract and the operation would cost N1 million.”
Daniel said since the incident, he had not been able to go anywhere.
He said: “I have to sit in one place. I can’t look down; I have to always look straight. I could not even finish my exam.
“I can only see with my left eye. My right eye can no longer see anything. It is very blurred. I can’t read or move the shortest distance with the eye. Even if I hold a phone, I cannot see anything on it.”
Daniel’s mother, Hannah Agboola, blamed the school for not contacting the family immediately the incident occurred. She accused them of taking her son round hospitals without the knowledge of his family.
“What I know is that when something happens to a child, the father, mother or guardian should be first called to be notified and decide on what to be done to the child. I also know that students are not meant to be beaten in schools.”
She lamented that after the teacher beat her son and he fell down, the teacher kept beating him and did nothing to help the boy.
She said: “Daniel could not sleep the night the incident happened. He cried all through the night because he was in pains. His eye was dropping some liquids. It was like the eye wanted to remove from the socket. He was just shouting and rolling on the floor.
“Due to this, my blood pressure rose to over 250. Since the incident, I have not gone to work. I have not been to my shop. I have lost money taking care of Daniel.”
She recalled that two of the eye drops bought for her son were expired.
She said: “We discovered the Monday after the incident on April 1, while applying one of the eye drops given to us, that two of them were expired. One was dripping something like oil. We notified the school on the expired drops, but the school director told us he could not do more than he had done and that we should do whatever we wanted to do.
“But the school director later begged. While this was going on, we were called to come to the school; that officials from the state Ministry of Education were in the school. I went with my son and met two representatives from the ministry.
“The ministry told me they would handle the case; that it was already a government matter and that they would call me. But I have not heard anything from them till today.
“My son is not troublesome, I gave birth to him and I know him well. He has never had a problem with his eyes. Nobody in our family has eye problems. His father and I have sharp eyes.”
Mrs Agboola said that since her son’s eye pressure would not go down, she decided to get a chalet at the Mountain of Fire Ministries where she has been praying for her son.
She said: “The liquid drops have stopped but the eye is still swollen and my son cannot see with the eye. “I need help from Nigerians because this is not how I took my son to school. I want my son’s eyes back. How the operation would be done, the payment for the operation and how he would see again must be sorted out by the school.
When The Nation ‘s reporter visited the school, the Head of Schools, who would not disclose her name, said that the incident was an accident.
She said: “There was a case but it was an accident, and it is not as serious as some people have painted it. The state Ministry of Education is involved. The pupil has been well taken care of.
“There is no issue of cataract. We took him to Eye Foundation and we also took him to Aricilla Catholic Hospital. The outcome of all the hospitals we took him to was that there was no report of any serious damage to the eye. And from the medical report, there is no cause for alarm, and there is nothing like the teacher flogged him and he developed cataract. It is not possible.
“From our investigation, we discovered that the boy had eye problem before he came to the school. As a school, we are concerned to make sure that the boy is 100 per cent fit and there is no issue at all with him. The school has been responsible for all the bills.