Bounce Exclusive: Queens College Threatens To Jail Journalist
Under fire, Principal of Queens College Lagos, Bola Are is very angry.
She has threatened a journalist for taking pictures of the school and interviewing aggrieved parents.
Lekan Oladeinde, a Correspondent with Bounce News had gone to the school on Sunday to monitor the return of students after the forced mid-term break.
The school was shutdown over three weeks ago after two students allegedly died of diarrhea, between Thursday, February 23 and Friday, February 24, 2017.
Vivian Osuinyi and Bithia Itulua reportedly died of sicknesses linked to contaminated water and unhygienic environmental conditions in the elitist school.
Oladeinde had earlier approached one of the Vice Principals of the school to seek clarification on the resumption schedule and what efforts were being made to ensure the safety of the returning students.
It, however, appears there are too many skeletons in the locker as his request was rejected.
Oladeinde was, however, able to gain access into the school premises to see things on ground.
He equally spoke with some parents, who had brought their wards to school only to be told that the school has been shut indefinitely.
The parents were told that only JSS 3 students are to resume as day students while boarding facilities have been suspended.
While taking his shots, security guards approached him and tried to seize his phone.
The reporter insisted that he had done nothing wrong as the school is a public place.
A call was put to the Principal, who asked the guards to confiscate the phone, a move that was vehemently resisted by the reporter.
During this period, the Vice Principal and other staff joined the security guards and were demanding for the journalist’s identity.
The Principal was overheard on phone saying one Ajose is using the reporter to tarnish the image of the school, a claim denied by the journalist.
“I overheard the principal telling the VP and the guards that Ajose is the one using me. I bluntly told them I don’t know any Ajose or anybody in the school”, Oladeinde said.
The Principal later asked the security guards, led by the Chief Security Officer (CSO) of the school to take the matter to the Sabo Police station.
At the police station, the principal was not clear on what offence the journalist had committed, so the police did not take any statement from him.
Sensing that the case might work against school management, the principal again called her men to say a no case should be entered against the reporter.
She, however, insisted that the pictures and the videos about the school should be deleted from the journalist’s phone.
She also told the police to tell the reporter to stay away from the school.
Asked what his mission was at the school, the journalist told the police that he was doing his job by trying to report the real situation of things on ground and not what the school management wants the people to know.
After about an hour, an agreement was reached and the pictures and videos were deleted.
Bounce News is therefore challenging the school's management to publish photographs of the hostels and dining hall to prove our correspondent wrong.
“I challenge the management of the school to independently publish pictures of the current state of the hostels and dining hall as at today, Monday, March 20 if truly it is not hiding something from the public.
“The school can also call a press conference between Monday and Tuesday and show other journalists the situation on ground in the school to prove me wrong”, he added.
Late Bithia Itulua
Parents vent their anger
Some of the parents who spoke with Bounce News expressed their displeasure with the way things have turned out in the school.
In one of the videos that was deleted, a parent told Bounce News that she was traumatized with what is happening in the school.
She said the federal government allowed the situation to degenerate to this level by turning the former Principal of the school into a semi-god.
The woman, who has two daughters in the school, said she is afraid whether one of her daughters, who is in SS3 would make her results in WASSE examinations, which starts in a few days.
She said she has already enrolled her other daughter, who is SS1 in another school.
Nothing on ground in the school
Contrary to the impression being created by the school management that the school was prepared for the students, a visit round the premises by Bounce News shows that the school is not ready.
There is nothing on ground to show that everything is in place.
The school dining hall and hostels are in a dismal state, although renovation is currently going on. Renovation works are also going on in the classrooms.
Recall that the Lagos State Government on Friday advised that the school be shut down indefinitely for a proper treatment of the water system in the school.
The state Ministry of Health said results from samples taken from water sources in the school showed that the water was “polluted,” adding that the school’s food handlers were also culpable.