As controversy continues to trail the death of a boarding student of Dowen College, Lagos, Sylvester Oromoni, another boarding house student of St. Michael’s Boys College, Ozubulu, Anambra State, Master Chimdalu Onyekwuluje has reportedly died.
Onyekwuluje, a JSS 2 student of the school, aged 11 was said to have died as a result of negligence on the part of the school management, who allegedly refused to call his parents to pick him up after he took ill.
It was a pitiful sight at Uzoakwa, Ihiala, Anambra State, where the deceased boy was buried as family members and neighbours wailed when the child was interred in his family compound.
The parents of the deceased, Prince Cornelius and Ogochukwu Onyekwuluije who spoke to journalists during the burial of their son said even when the student’s health had deteriorated, the school management insisted that he must remain in school to finish his examinations before he would be released, saying the decision was the reason for his death.
The student had reportedly died on December 17, 2021, nine days after he was picked up by the parents from St. Michael’s Boys College.
This was after a cousin to the deceased borrowed a phone to alert the parents that the boy was ill and that the school management was not ready to release him until he finished 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 to THISDAY in his office during a visit, 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 who had called the parent to alert them of the illness was punished by the school for doing so, Muoma said the boy was only made to kneel for some minutes, saying it was against the rule for students to call parents, as calls are only made from a central point by the management.
Onyekwuluje’s family has however indicated its interest to pursue justice for their son.
Mr Ben Onyekwuluje, elder brother of the deceased boy’s father, said a petition had been sent to the Inspector General of Police, Alkali Baba, insisting that the family would stop at nothing until justice is served.
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