St Michael’s Boys College, Ozubulu, Anambra State, has lost a boarding student, Chimdalu Onyekwuluje.
His death comes over a month after the death of Sylvester Oromoni, also a boarding student of Dowen College, Lagos.
Onyekwuluje, an 11-year-old JSS 2 student at the school, was reported to have died as a result of the school’s incompetence in not calling his parents to pick him up when he became ill.
He has since been buried at Uzoakwa, Ihiala, Anambra State, in his family compound.
Even when the student’s health had completely deteriorated, the management insisted he stay behind to finish his exams before being released, according to his parents, Prince Cornelius and Ogochukwu Onyekwuluje, who spoke to journalists during his son’s burial, said the decision was the reason for his death.
He died on December 17, 2021, nine days after his parents picked him up after a cousin of the dead borrowed a phone to warn them to the boy’s illness.
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 tell 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.
Meanwhile, the principal of the school, Rev Fr Romanus Ike Muoma has denied that the school management delayed in releasing the student to his parents.
Fr Muoma 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, Father Muoma said the boy was only made to kneel down 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.
The Onyekwuluje family has however indicated its interest to pursue justice for their son. Mr Ben Onyekwuluje, elder brother of the deceased’s father said a petition has been sent to the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, and the family will stop at nothing until justice is served.