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Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Two arraigned over pupil’s death in septic tank

Uchechukwu Nwazuo

Two persons were on Monday arraigned before an Ebute Metta Magistrate’s Court, Lagos, over the death of a three-year-old pupil in a septic tank on a school premises.

The suspects, Mr. Nwosu Benjamin, 59, and Mrs. Anekwe Nwosu, 36, were accused of negligently and unlawfully causing the death of Master Uchechukwu Nwazuo.

Benjamin, the proprietor of King of Kings Nursery/Primary School, Okota, Lagos, and Anekwe, a class teacher, were said to have committed an offence punishable under Section 325 of the Criminal Code of Lagos State.

The school is located at 17, Babs Aregbesola Street, Off Alli Dada Street, Ago Palaceway, Okota, Lagos.

The charge sheet obtained by our correspondent on Monday said, “That you Nwosu Benjamin, male, 59, and Anekwe Chiamaka, female, on September 27, 2010, at about 12.30pm at Ago-Okota area of Lagos in the Lagos Magisterial District did negligently and unlawfully cause the death of one Uchechukwu Nwazuo, male, and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 325 of the Criminal Code Cap C17 Vol II laws of Lagos, Nigeria, 2003.”

When their pleas were taken, the suspects pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Police Prosecutor, Insp. Phillip Ugbodu, objected to their bail application, saying that they should not be granted bail pending the advice of the state’s Director of Public Prosecution.

But Magistrate M.O. Olubi, who held brief for Mrs. Kikelomo Doja-Ojo, overruled the prosecutor and granted the accused bail in the sum of N200,000 each with two sureties in like sum.

She, however, said the sureties must be suspects’ relatives; have identity card; means of livelihood; sworn affidavit; three years of tax clearance certificate and one of the sureties must be a civil servant in Grade level 5 and above.

Olubi adjourned the case to November 29, 2010 for further hearing.

Meanwhile, the father of the deceased, Mr. Ucheyh Nwazuo-Ijebuonwu, has petitioned the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Mrs. Sarah Sosan, to step into the matter for the sake of justice.

Also copied in the petition are the state’s ministries of Women Affairs; Justice; Education; Directorate of Public Prosecution; and the Office of the Public Defender.

According to the petition, Nwazuo-Ijebuonwu claimed that the school authorities were economical with the truth, alleging that the claim that the child fell into a septic tank on the school premises was curious.

He said Uchechukwu was still in his school uniform when he was removed from the septic tank on October 19, 2010, in the presence of the police, but he observed that his son’s head had been cut off.

He said, “I want to bring to your knowledge the story and case of my only child, who was missing, murdered and thrown in a septic tank in the school.

“The school authorities claim that the child fell into the septic tank that was never opened and had been in the place for 21 days, yet the body was fresh and not smelling when he was found. But where is the head of the child? The remains of the child were however deposited at the Isolo General Hospital mortuary.”

Nwazuo-Ijebuonwu said Uchechukwu‘s mother, Florence, had been hospitalised and in bad condition since the incident happened.

The petition reads in part, “I am hereby begging that you use your exalted office and position to look into this matter.

“The school must tell the world what happened to the child that I put in their custody. They should also tell us the whereabouts of the head of the child. We have greatly undergone a huge degree of physical, psychological and mental trauma and must be adequately compensated.

“The family is counting on you as a parent (s) to ensure that this injustice done to my only child will not be swept under the carpet and the perpetrators do not go unpunished.”



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