When discipline in schools goes too far

Is there a need to reassess discipline in Nigeria schools? I think so.

During a conversation a few months ago, my sister mentioned my nephew was slapped at school where he is doing his A Levels. My nephew called his mother immediately after he was slapped by the housemaster because he thought it was uncalled for. My inlaw called the school to hear the other side of the story, the school administrator’s explanation was as my nephew had stated, the case was left hanging – not much of apology, more of emphasis on what the boy did wrong. He was home for a week holiday and still could feel the pain three days after the incident that requires pain relief.

My sister was not happy but didn’t want to call the school because exams is coming up. Nephew is fine, however there was a need to clear the air.

I was curious to know what my nephew did to deserve a slap, the type we call ‘dirty slap’ in Nigeria. The explanation given to my mind is just too flimsy for the punishment given.

So I called the school.

According to the school administrator, the story goes that there was a problem that needs resolving at the hostel so boarders were called to come downstairs for a meeting. My nephew was the last one to get downstairs, this angered the housemaster hence the slap.

The school did nothing to hear the boy’s side of the story or provide comfort, instead she was comparing my nephew with his cousin who is ‘well behaved girl’.

Here I cut in. ‘foot dragging?’ I continue to let the lady understand how absurd it sounds that a post secondary school establishment could not find better ways to make students in their care adjust their behaviour without resorting to violence.

The lady tried so hard to defend the housemaster’s attitude. Then I cited a few examples within the region where students have been put through needless sufferings due to adults’ temper. She was able to see my points. She apologised and said the case has been resolved.

If a child was slapped and still feels the pain a couple of days later, suppose he has permanent damage to his eardrum, should he just live with that? My sister was perfectly happy for her son to stay at home to redo his JAMB this year. I was the one who went out of my way to convince ‘sell’ an A levels – god forbid anything happens, my name is on the line.

With this in mind, I decided to call the school owner/director just to be sure my message was taken. He was aware of the case. He said the housemaster was new ands with them temporarily. I told the owner of my disappointment of them using physical violence towards A levels students. I made known to him that if in the near future my nephew has any problem with his ear on the side he was slapped, he should be prepared that we are coming after him.

He apologised in a way that I feel he meant it. I was pleased.

Initially, I did not want to make these calls as I don’t want my nephew isolated, then I realised this is the same reason kids get ill-treated in our schools. We seldom report serious issue at the onset and often leave things until it get way out of hand.

While I was thinking of my 17 year old nephew. My mind went to a 14 year old girl in the same city who was slapped by the school secretary a couple of years ago. The girl’s eye literally popped out of the socket. Sadly she passed away due to infection on the eye and lack of proper care immediately after the incident. We didn’t hear anything about this secretary, not in the press at least.

We are not in shortage of horror stories due to corporal punishment in Nigeria schools. Another girl was blinded by a school teacher  with cane for being late to school in Kaduna in February.

These are a few we hear about, those that were bullied to silence are unaccounted for.

How do we get schools and teachers to think about consequences of their behaviour – well, parents need to share stories such as these so we all can help get more attention to dangerous and unwanted treatment of students in schools.

As Nigeria goes, assault in schools can happen to just about anyone.

My nephew is totally fine. Housemaster moved to a different hostel, which I think is amusing. I hope he has learned better ways to vent his frustration.

Life of a nine year old maid

A town with no law, there is no sin there –  so goes a Yoruba proverb.

Precious Chinwedu, a nine year old girl who received boiling hot water bath as a punishment for allegedly stolen crayfish is another reminder that there must be a system where children is protected by law of the land beyond  cheap court fine.

The story goes that Precious arrived in Lagos July last year from Imo state to be a live in maid for Madam Mbakwe who has a seven month old baby in Lagos.

I suppose part of the deal was that Precious be educated as she is in primary 3. This story is sad on many levels. Who sends a nine-year old child away to work as a maid? How much work can a nine-year old girl who goes to school during the day can actually do to help Madam Mbakwa?

From experience arrangement like this is quite common in Nigeria, however it often happens with family member or someone related in one way or the other but in Precious’ there was no mention of her being relation of Madam Mbakwa.

This is why rule exists to protect children so no adults be it their parents or outside of home can have absolute power over them.

A neighbour testifies to Mbakwa’s cruelty towards Precious – “If any of the neighbours gave her food, she would beat her. We talked to her several times to stop beating the girl, but she refused. I was not at home on the day the incident happened, she did not allow anybody to intervene,”

Looking at the sorry photo of Mbakwa online, one can not rule out possibility of postpartum depression. I know this is rarely a ‘thing’ to take seriously in Naija but yet it is a very serious issue affecting many new mothers the world over -this in anyway does not excuse the treatment she gave to her employee.

I only wish parents from small towns have just enough number of children they are able to look after. Sending children to live outside of home as employee when they are still children themselves is never the best option, rarely in the child’s best interest.

Precious talked about wanting to go back to her parents, I hope the law enforcement officer on her case at least make this happen for the poor child.

Safeguarding young children in school

Despite deteriorating mainstream school quality in Nigeria, teachers are still respected to a high degree, this respect often borne out of fear of bigger punishment so it is better to be on safe side. However, for young children in nursery or primary school, this respect can have devastating effect especially in a country like ours where everyone makes their own rules.

A few years a go my sister was very upset about the way her son was treated at school. My inlaw had gone to pick up his son at school earlier than usual as they were going on a trip. He met the boy under the stairs outside of the classroom sobbing on his own. His offence – he had accident in the poop department. He was three years old at the time.

Upon seeing the father, the teacher made some story up and even denied any knowledge the boy had soiled himself.

Over the years I have learnt that it is not all the time that children make up stories, sometimes they are telling the truth, actually most of the time they tell it the way it is.

There was a case pending about ‘Auntie’ hitting the children for slightest error that my sister  had overlooked because of the fear her child might be isolated in class.

For this particular offence of soiling himself, the punishment was that the whole class sang a song calling the boy the Oloorun (the dirty one), and then made to stay out of the class with the hope of cleaning him up just before closing time so parents would not know what happened during the day.

To my sister, I said “your call”

I certainly would not leave my child at a school that enjoys collecting fees but fails to train their staff how to deal with young children.

When the school owner enquired why she moved her son away to a different school, she too made up a story – what matters is that the child is treated with respect and love – no one learns in an hostile environment.

Three year old Haliya Abolore was not so lucky. Only heaven knows what kind of offence the little girl committed at a nursery school in Lagos. The class teacher Ms Maryam ordered Haliya to sit on a hot water container (perhaps still plugged to a socket). Haliya must have sat on the container for quite some time to have had such a degree of burn.

“ All my daughter’s private parts were burnt. She was asked to sit on a container containing hot water. Haliya’s father.

Haliya was rushed to Lagos Island General Hospital and later died at Gbagada General Hospital, Lagos a few weeks later due to complications from the burns.

Looking at the picture from the article, Haliya’s buttock peeled off from the right cheek down to her upper thigh while the left part looked darkened – sad is understatement.

3rd or 4th degree burn? Oh, well, the poor girl died in pain.

The fact that Haliya sat long enough to hurt that much shows how terrifying the little girl was – too frightened to go against the teacher’s authority.

There are several ways to get message across to toddlers of Haliya’s age. Many nursery schools use time-outs by separating offending children from the group and it worked. Hard to see how a teacher could not foresee danger from such a punishment.

How I wish Lagos State Department of Criminal Investigation in charge of this case makes it a point to publish the outcome – this is the only way we can change attitude.

Beaten to a pulp

One evening over dinner, when we often share stories about how the day had been. Yeye had news to share inspired by her friend at school. Her friend was curious about something she was told is common in African households, my daughter is the only one in the class of 18 children that remotely looked black so she is the perfect person to answer the question.

“Do your parents beat you?” the six years old *Curious Clara asked.

“I hope you told her the truth” I said.

“Yes, I did” Yeye responded.

“Great, did you remember to add the time I had to shove you down the chimney to clean it up because you asked for a second?” I joked.

Yeye gives a ‘stop the joke’ look

Because Yeye was as curious as Clara so she asked her friend the same question and wanted to know why Clara came about parents beating children of all questions.

Curious Clara has a nanny who is originally from somewhere in Africa, she was the one who told Clara how lucky she was to be born into her type of household where child abuse i.e beating is a no, no unlike black people who beat their children.

Clara’s nanny was not entirely wrong, I don’t get upset for this kind of generalisation anymore because it is something we brag about openly on TV drama as the way to impact discipline into children.

While Curious Clara believed Yeye’s side of the story, stories of child abuse is all over the internet now, how do we stop this if not from home?

The latest I read is about three-year old Peter whose parents out of the goodness of their heart (or not) let him live with his Aunty. Monday, Peter’s Aunty is said to have been married for 7 years but is yet to have a child of her own so made arrangement with Peter’s parents to look after him and in turn keep her company in Lagos.

This kind of arrangement is very common, many people in the city live with their relatives. There are lots of success stories whereby a relative from the village moved to the city or even out of the country to help out with childcare and household chores and in return Uncle/Aunty pays to take care the child’s primary needs and education.

Peter’s case  isn’t one of the successful stories, he was only 3 years old and his Aunty thinks he was pooping on himself so she is determined to beat Peter until the ‘spirit of pooping’ leaves him.

Here is what the DPO, Badmos Dolapo, Isokoko Police Division, had to say when she saw the scars on the toddler’s body:

“In all my years in the police force, I have never cried. But seeing the damage that had been done to this child, I could not hold back tears; I wept like a baby. She had been brutalised. We will not leave any stone unturned in this case,”

We can excuse Mrs Monday for not knowing that a three year old boy still needed help with potty training but what is certain is that she was once a child herself so where is the sensibility here?

It is promising that cases of child abuse is coming out in the open, and that people are encouraged to report extreme cases around them to the police. Maybe case such as this will push the government to do something about child abuse offences  in the way that children are protected in future.


*Not her real name

Ruling by force

If there’s one thing I would love to change about how parents or adults in care discipline children in Nigeria, it would be to stop beating. Adults inflicting physical pains on their children or students is sad and often not in the right proportion to offence committed.

Inflicting physical pains on children is something that comes up in conversations a lot when we talk about childhood memories. From my experience, often the reason for this needless act has little or no connection to why the child is beating mercilessly, it is just an avenue to vent unrelated frustration on anyone too young to fight back.

I don’t believe in corporal punishment as I have never learnt a thing as a result, the only reason I changed my behaviour was so I don’t get beating up again, I always thought that the adult who inflicted the pains is the one needing help.

What happened a few days ago in Lagos is one of the main reasons I disagree with adults transferring their frustrations to anyone they have authority over.  Mr Ajebughobi’s case is a perfect example but not uncommon. He was consumed with anger and beat his son leading the poor boy to have ruptured intestine.

What was the offence of a 13 year old Somtochukwu? He went to visit an aunty to collect his birthday gift, the problem here was that his father has instructed him against visiting this particular family member.

I know about our parents many instructions about a particular family member, often times no reason given to justify the warnings, we are just meant to listen and not question.

According to Somtochukwu: “When my daddy saw me with the slippers and knew she bought the slippers for me, he started beating me. He locked me up in a room and beat me. He kicked me in the stomach many times before he left me there.”

I have seen similar cases like these too many times and it is sad to do such a thing to a child you claim to love.

After the poor child ended up in the hospital, the doctor realised his was a case of child abuse.

Here’s what the father had to say to defend his action:

I did not expect he would be injured that much. What happened was a big mistake on my part. I blame myself for whatever has happened. He is very troublesome but I know nobody wants to hear that now.”

It is clear who the ‘troublesome’ fela is now.

If one had to get a child needing medical attending to show their dislike for a certain family member, then the problem is really not about discipline the child. There are better ways to talk to a child about not relating to someone parents disapproved of – how about giving him convincing reasons why he is not allowed to visit such a family member?

The case of corporal punishment is very common in our country, in homes, schools and anywhere where adults have upper hands. Many swear this is the only thing that lead them to being a disciplined adult, what they are not talking about is how this inappropriate transfer of anger to unconnected entity has contributed to decreasing mental health.

Glad to see the Child Rights Foundation responded favourably to Somtochukwu’s case. I hope he gets better soon.

As for Mr Ajebughobi, maybe one day there will be a law that punishes psycho parents.

Discipline Vs. assault and the role of religious leaders

I could not help but giggled this morning when a caller to LBC radio said Pope is not really in a position to approve smacking children as a way to instil discipline given he has no biological child.

Guess I am the devil’s advocate here.

Being raised in a culture where adults or anyone in positions authority turn to physical punishment where simple communication could suffice makes my skin crawl most especially when someone in influential position such as Pope Francis thought this is an acceptable attitude from parents to children.

The Pope statement will have very little effect in the west because most parents knew better than to follow what he says given there is strict enforcement of law to protect children rights.

My worry is a nation like Nigeria whereby people believed word for word what their religious leaders told them especially when there is a passage in the bible to support the assertion.

As Nigeria goes, there is a thin line between religion and tradition, more often than not, citizens are confused about the source of many craziness that have penetrated into what we now see as our culture.

Proverbs 22: 15 “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him” King James Bible

Iwe Owe 22: 15 ” Ni aya omode ni were, sugbon pasan itoni ni yio le jina kuro lodo re” Translated from King James Bible

Among many of the bible quotations that I had to memorise as a child, the above verse was one of the few I still remember today, although I had long forgotten where the verse were but I remember the words. They did not make any sense to me as a child and neither did they as adult.

There are plenty of lost in translation when it comes to the bible and I wonder how many people have gone over the cliff because of this.

In the bible quotations above: To translate the KGB literally to Yoruba, it will be:

Foolishness – means ẹ̀gọ̀ but instead wèrè (Mental health illness) was used to describe children’s mischievousness.

Rod of correction –  pàsán ìtọ́ni. Ìtọ́ni on its own means correction however, when pàsán is used, usually it is for only one thing – to flog and beat, animals or humans, most especially when the person in charge felt short-term outcome from assault is the route to quick fix while ignoring the lasting impact of communication to bring about favoured behaviour from children.

When does discipline go too far? Here and Here

While many Nigerians would easily say physical punishment is African/Nigerian culture, it is hard to know given I grew up in a part of Nigeria where Christianity is predominant and physical assault is rife both at home and outside including in the church.

It is nations in this category that religious leaders have strong influence on the crowd. Here Pope’s statement is giving more ammunitions to already delusional crowd to justify their unfair punishment on the people, mostly children in their care.

Can physical abuse trigger mental health disorder?

The case of Tolani Ajayi who murdered his father at their Redemption Camp home in Lagos last week got me thinking. The young man’s life prior to the unfortunate incidence was a dream for many Nigerian youths. He attendend a Nigerian private university, father being a lawyer and active member of their church, little was known about her mother, but Tolani portrays his mother in positive lights, in the media at least. Tolani also talked about speaking to his sister and apologising to her for what he did to their father – a sign that they were somehow close-knit family.

What was not reported widely was the mysteries behind his apparent outburst of anger towards his father.

News had it that Tolani took drugs, he agreed to this but said his drugs had nothing to do with him murdering his father as he was not under the influence at the time he committed the murder. The young man insisted that the reason he killed his father was because the late Ajayi senior physically abused him to the point that he had to retaliate to stop his old man, and of course his anger got the best of him and overreacted which led to him butchering his father. He said “My father went to the kitchen and got a stick (wooden spoon) which he used on me repeatedly and I tried to defend myself. Then, he bit me on the shoulder and I got angry.”

To average Nigerian, corporal punishment is not enough to trigger such outrage as Tolani, but I beg to differ. The fact that most children are physically abused by adults in position of power does not mean that children were happy with being flogged, and in most cases in Nigeria, the severity of the punishment do not match the ‘crime’ committed. For example, I have seen a mother who commanded her 1o year old daughter to carry a flat corrugated sheet in the palm of her hands while on her knees, on top of the sheet were big, fist sized flamed coals, the poor girl’s crime was that she had wasted too much time before responding to her mother’s request to fetch drinking water for the family. The mother had lost her husband few months prior to auto accident, she was depressed to say the least but is it right to transfer all this burden to the poor girl?

A friend recently narrated an incidence about his neighbour whom I knew. Timothy, the father has 2 sons. The oldest of the sons was 17 years old and struggled with Mathematics at school, he was doing really well with other subjects. One day he asks his little brother who is two year his junior to explain certain math problems, the younger brother was pleased and helped his older brother, they were both having fun doing this until the father came in and wanted to know what they were doing. The older brother explained to their dad but to his horror, Timothy flipped and started hitting the older boy with all his might and later got out to get a stick, the poor boy was crying so much that neighbours had to intervene as the mother called on them so someone could reason with the father. Timothy later calmed down while his 17 years old son laid on the floor with stick marks all over his body.

The poor boy’s crime was that he asked his little brother for help with some maths problem. Timothy reasoning was that the older brother ‘should know.’ Timothy as it turned out had been suffering from emotional wreck for sometime now, business had not been what it used to be and his health had been a big challenge for him, he was stressed out in all fronts. These are adults problem that adults should find ways of dealing with, but in Nigeria, it is easier to transfer all angers to children in our care.

Tolani will have to face the consequences of his actions, I do hope that his mentioning of his father’s physical abuse is not discarded as immaterial points as there are so many Nigerians today in the same shoes as Tolani. Some are able to deal with it as they grow older but for many it is a real problem and society really do need to understand that corporal punishment goes beyond physical abuse alone, the mental torment afterwards is greater. Here is a piece I wrote on corporal punishment in Nigeria not long ago and this one too.

Corporal punishment – Adults’ misplaced emotions or cultural?

Nigeria – Corporal punishment they say is in our culture.

Most people in position of authority are incapable of using appropriate form of discipline to instil positive behaviour in our society. This is evidenced all around us, at home, schools and other public places.

Even Nigerians in diaspora were always advised to not forget “our culture” in their adopted countries, by this it means children must be flogged in order to get points across, and some of them indeed do follow this insane advise or did it because that is their only way of bringing up a disciplined child.

Last weekend as I sat at a 60th birthday party of a very nice lady, who has achieved so much all round success in her life, everyone looked so happy to be there and to celebrate her life. Then we had a comedian whose jokes was a added pleasure to already good mood, everyone laughed – a lot. One of the jokes was about how all Nigerian parents beat their children regardless of where they reside in the world, because it is a cultural thing, it is what they do at home. Now we all know how we get worked up when we heard statements that is a little bit over-generalising. Actually on this day, not many people laughed to this particular joke, or maybe the joke struck a cord in me that took me away from connecting to the people around me.

There is really no ‘yardstick’ for determining which offence get punished in Nigeria, the weight of punishment heavily depends on the mood of the adults around.

Sister Bola was very energetic happy-go-lucky type, very popular in town for her out spoken attitude. When she was in her mid 30s, her husband died in a terrible car crash on Ife-Ibadan road. At the time, she had 4 children to look after on her own, to say the least, it was a very difficult time for her for so many reasons. Her husband was a hard working man, he had a Bodyshop where he repaired cars of different makes. Now, Sister Bola had a lot to juggle, she just lost her husband, the in-laws were coming out of woodwork making claims of their son’s/brother’s properties  – in Nigeria, husband’s family do this. Sister Bola was coping as well as she could.

So this day, I made a point to visit her on my way from work. She is my friend’s sister. When I got to her house, her older daughter who was 10years old at the time was on her knee with a piece of corrugated iron sheet, big enough to cover the palms of her hands, on the sheets were clusters of hot red coals.  The poor girl was boiling and in pain, in sister Bola’s hand was a cane threatening to flog her if she dropped the metal sheet. Sister Bola has managed to shut everyone around up to mind their business.

When she saw me, we hugged and she started crying, I cried with her because nothing she was doing made any sense. I asked what was her daughter’s offence were to deserve being roasted alive, did she steal, break something? Sister Bola told me her daughter did not “listen” to her instructions. For some reason, I and her little sister managed to say something that she could reason with, so she let the poor girl off the hook.  Sister Bola’s life was crumbling around her, the only way to let off the steam was to take it on her children. Would you call that our culture?

In primary schools, children get beating for being late or not paying attention in class. I was usually a punctual student and for some reason I seemed to listen in class. However in secondary school I got beating a lot for “making noise,” what was I supposed to do when there was no teacher in class?

Childhood beating memory lasts a lifetime.

It is wrong to lazily conclude that corporal punishment is our culture, no one likes to be flogged. Adults need to find better ways of dealing with life challenges without transferring their life frustrations to little ones around them.

Children will be children, we could adopt a more positive ways of discipline. For younger children, ‘time out’ works, and for older children withdrawing rewards would be a good start.

Esther Oyeleke: What would happen to her teacher?

Recent case of a young girl whose life was cut short by a complete mindless student teacher at Akingbile Oluana Memorial School, Moniya, Ibadan, Oyo State prompted this post. Esther Oyeleke was 14 years old, pride of her family, I bet. On Jan 27th 2014, she was among three students that their teacher beat with a cane for not paying attention in class. Few days later Esther was showing signs of ill health, her whole body had swollen up, she was rushed to Osoko Maternity Hospital in Ibadan where she was pronounced dead on January 30th, three days after she was flogged by her teacher.  Here

This is where I don’t understand my people and this is why it makes me so sad (decided not to be angry anymore). Esther is dead. And people are beating around the bush about who was responsible? I have read about the fact that it must have been the devil’s work – no surprises with that one.

Esther’s medical condition could have showed up in months, years time, and could have been treated and she might have survived, grow up to lead a happy healthy life.

What is ironic in our schools was that nine out of 10 times pupils get beating, it has nothing to do with learning. I was once a victim of such teacher, Mrs Oshobi. I have no idea how she managed to be principal of a school or even teacher of any level, the woman was sad and mad all of the time.

One morning in the assembly, I was at the front of the row, one of the teachers led the prayers and we were supposed to say amen which I did religiously. Out of curiosity as any normal 16years would, I opened one eye momentarily out of boredom. A couple of seconds later Mrs Oshobi – our new principal hit my head with her callous fingers so hard I staggered sideways. I cried for most of that day not necessarily for the constant throb of aches on my temple but because I had no idea what I did wrong. It was her first week in my school, we have heard about her wickedness weeks beforehand so we called her Mrs Oso (wizard) and I promised myself never to cross her path, I was wrong.

Another time I was late to school by 5 minutes. This day I had to run back home midway to school because I left my biro at home while doing my homework, so by the time I got back to school at 7.50am, the school gate had closed. Mrs Oshobi only gives three stokes of cane, not on your hands, not on the buttocks and not across your back. She gives it vertically on the spine! This is true.

Three strokes could end up being 10 if you dared move. In front was a chair that you held on to, the 5 foot monster, whom I am sure God has a special place for in hell would flog us from behind, she had no heart, not even a small one so The Grinch was a saint.

She didn’t want to know reasons behind any lateness and there were absolutely no logic to her punishment. When I went to the village on the weekend and told my mother I needed two pens so one could be in my bag always just in case I left one at home, I showed the scars on my back to her, like many mothers would ‘God will punish her.’ she said with empathy and that motherly aching heart.

See, Oshobi’s beats me mercilessly because I was late for assembly that I have attended hundreds of times and it was the same old story. I was a good student and was rarely late for school. My first lesson for the day was 8am, I missed that lesson because of the school principal irrational behaviour.

Like any other situation in Nigeria, it’s all about survival, hustle we say.  You find a way to ride the tide otherwise there were just too many forces about that were there just to swallow one up. They don’t know nor cared for your personal story. They were just really bad and sad public figures who were supposed to educate but will take their frustrations on the innocent young ones around them ignoring we all had stories to tell.

Having read enough about Mrs Oshobi, you would be pleased to know that the day she got into a car accident 1 mile away from my school, she was chasing students around town. My school gate closes at 7.45am during her torturing years so if you were not in before this time you were doomed.  On this fateful day, she was so focused on running after students who were supposed to been in school but choose to wander around town in uniforms instead, so she lost concentration of her driving and drove straight into a sharp bend, lost control of her car and the car turned over, she was lucky to be alive. That was her last day at my school, she left after few weeks at the hospital and we were happy.

See, Mrs Oshobi was chasing students that chose not to learn, she left those who really wanted to learn behind and when she was actually at school, she just had to pick on something to beat us for.

To come back to the original story, this student teacher who triggered whatever health problem Esther Oyeleke had that eventually lead to the poor girl’s untimely death deserves to face the consequences otherwise how could anyone learn that there are other ways to engage students than flogging them.

On a more positive note, I recently ran into one of my high school teachers -Mrs Ayandike at Obafemi Awolowo University  (OAU) Museum. It was over two decades ago she taught me, I jumped into her, she was one of the many teachers who made me believe there’s still hope for decent education in the country. Very beautiful woman, she taught me English Literature, I had huge problem understanding Shakespeare’s play – Macbeth, she made tremendous efforts without intimidating us – her students. If you think teaching any subject in Nigeria is hard, imagine an Ibo lady teaching English Literature to a group of Yoruba students… ha, not uncommon, but super confusing, everyone was, trust me! But Mrs Ayandike managed to carry us along. So when I saw her years later, I had the utmost respect for her strength and perseverance, she now has a school of her own somewhere on Road Seven in Ife, she told me, I was happy for her, she was that great of an educator.

Esther Oyeleke’s murderous teacher: punished or not would live the rest of her live with huge guilt hanging over her head.