Mrs. Dorcas Gibson, a teacher at Federal Government College, Kwali reportedly beat a 13 year-old, J.S.S.2 boarding student for failure to do his homework. Incidentally, the victim of corporal punishment, Yahaya Nuhu Aliyu, Yahaya Nuhu Aliyu was the grandson to the late Aliyu Mohammed, a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation. Prior to the teacher’s entry into the class, the deceased had initially gone to the school’s clinic to receive treatment but he could not be attended to on the basis that he had not eaten anything that day. The reason adduced by Yahaya Nuhu Aliyu for failing to do his assignment was that he was indisposed, yet, his teacher would not have his excuse, rather she initially asked the boy to remove weed as a punishment. After the pupil had observed this punishment, she consistently beat him on his head with the metal handle of a bucket until he slumped and died.
The incident occurred during period eight on August 9, 2021. The school, where the incident occurred, Federal Government College, Kwali is located in Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. Narrating the incident, one of the classmates of Yahaya said, “During Period 8, Mrs. Gibson entered and requested for assignment submissions. Yahaya and I failed to submit and as a result she ordered us to take out weed. Yahaya had informed the teacher he was ill and didn’t do the assignment. Nevertheless, she ordered us to clear the weeds, after which we returned to class. His head was resting on the desk due to the illness but she severely beat him on the head with a metal bucket handle until he passed out.”
After the teacher left the class, Yahaya Nuhu Aliyu put his head on the table and remained still. This attracted the attention of his colleagues who called for assistance from the school authorities. He was taken to Rema Clinic where he was confirmed dead. This sparked off reactions from his classmates who took to the school’s premises in protest. Although the school (Federal Government College, Kwali) initially denied responsibility, by insisting that Yahaya Nuhu Aliyu died of malaria, a meeting was convened on August 11 and 13 where the school owned up. The school also begged the parents of the late Yahaya Nuhu Aliyu to forgive and forget, insisting that fact finding would only lead to displeasure.
Reacting to the incident, spokesperson of Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Education, Ben Goong, noted that the ministry had visited the parents of the victim of corporal punishment and had inaugurated a committee to investigate the alleged murder. In a similar vein, Engineer, Musa Ibrahim, the National President of Federal Government Kwali Old Students Association (FEDGOKOSA) acknowledges the severity of the incident, noting further that it had the capacity to smear the good name and image of the school. He also promised to leave no stone unturned in ensuring that justice is done to all the parties concerned. In his words, “Since Sunday night up till this moment, it’s been calls, consultations, clarifications with different personalities ranging from the Father, Principal, deceased relatives and the list goes on, all these geared towards unraveling the fact on what caused the demise of our son, which has also smeared the integrity of our dear school… Be assured of NEC’s resolve to ensure that justice is done to our Son, his father and FGC Kwali that we rightly cherish.” There has however been no publicized report from the Ministry of Education and the alumni association of the school.
The incidence however calls for a revisiting of the posture of the Nigerian legal system to corporal punishment. Chapter 25 of the Nigerian Criminal Code provides thus:
“A blow or other force, not in any case extending to a wound or grievous harm, may be justified for the purpose of correction as follows….a father or mother may correct his or her legitimate or illegitimate child, being under sixteen years of age, or any guardian or person acting as a guardian, his ward, being under sixteen years of age, for misconduct or disobedience to any lawful command….[and] may delegate to any person whom he or she entrusts permanently or temporarily with the governance or custody of his or her child or ward all his or her own authority for correction, including the power to determine in what cases correction ought to be inflicted; and such a delegation shall be presumed, except in so far as it may be expressly withheld, in the case of a schoolmaster or a person acting as a schoolmaster, in respect of a child or ward.”
This provision certainly gives impetus to caregivers and school teachers to inflict corporal punishment on children and there is a need for it to be expunged. This is because it is difficult to control and curtail the passion that comes with the infliction of harm on young children once the action of corporal punishment has been set in motion. In most cases, the damage done to young people as in the case of Nuhu Aliyu above is clearly disproportionate and irreparable. A clear abolition of corporal punishment is what is advocated for to further save innocent souls like Nuhu Aliyu. Doing this will shift Nigeria into the categories of countries who have fully protected children from corporal punishment which instills fear. Presently, only 8% of African children have been fully protected from corporal punishment.
Abass Latifat, “Teacher Beats Student to Death over Homework” blackboxnigeria.com/teacher-beats-student-to-death-over-homework accessed on September 18, 2021
Adekunle Dada, “Teacher Reportedly Beats Student to Death in Abuja” Within Nigeria News; www.withinnigerua.com/news/2021/08/16/teacher-reportedly-beats-student-to-death-in-/abuja/amp>accessed on 18 September 2021
Grace Udofia, “Teacher Beats 13-Year-Old Student to Death in Abuja”; http://www.the heritagetimes.com/teacher-beats-13-year-old-student-to-death-in-abuja/ accessed on September 18, 2021
Kess Ewubare, “FG Reacts to Alleged Beating of Student to Death in Abuja” Legit; legit.ng/1430161/-fg-reacts-to-alleged-beating-of-student-to-death-in-abuja.html> accessed on September 18, 2021
Sahara Reporters, New York, “13-Year-Old Abuja Schoolboy Dies After Flogging By Teacher” www.saharareporters.com/2021/08/17/13-year-old-abuja-schoolboy-dies-after-flogging-by-teacher> accessed on September 18, 2021
 Adekunle Dada, “Teacher Reportedly Beats Student to Death in Abuja” Within Nigeria News; www.withinnigerua.com/news/2021/08/16/teacher-reportedly-beats-student-to-death-in-/abuja/amp
 Kess Ewubare, “FG Reacts to Alleged Beating of Student to Death in Abuja” (August 19, 2021) Legit; legit.ng/1430161/-fg-reacts-to-alleged-beating-of-student-to-death-in-abuja.html
 Sahara Reporters, New York, “13-Year-Old Abuja Schoolboy Dies After Flogging By Teacher” (August 17, 2021) http://www.saharareporters.com/2021/08/17/13-year-old-abuja-schoolboy-dies-after-flogging-by-teacher