Edo State Acting Governor, Rt. Hon. Comrade Philip Shaibu, has ordered the partial shutdown of Ihogbe College and Oba Akenzua Secondary School, to allow the state government, parents and a mentorship committee brainstorm and provide solutions to cult-related activities among students in the schools.
During a meeting between the acting governor and parents of the students, held at the school premises on Monday, April 1, in Benin City, Shaibu said the schools would be shut a week earlier than the scheduled date for closure, with only those in Senior Secondary School 3 (SS3) and Junior Secondary School (JSS3) allowed into school, as others students have finished their exams.
He said this would enable a mentorship committee set up to address clashes in the schools, come up with effective approaches to resolving the lingering issues and set the template to ensure the students imbibe acceptable social behaviours and good morals.
He noted, “We cannot allow cultism in our secondary schools in Edo state. We have to stamp our authority in these two schools. We cannot allow rivalry and cult clashes among students. That is why we have to come in to deal with the issue of morals. Something went wrong and that is what we must correct. That is why we have set up the mentorship committee and closed the school to investigate the root cause of this incident and find solutions.”
He added, “What is key is that these students need serious moral rearmament. We have to refocus their minds toward education.”
Noting that there was a need to involve parents in addressing the lingering issues, Shaibu said, “We cannot do it without involving parents. The teacher will play his or her role; the government will play theirs, but the feedback and follow up from home is critical. That is why we have to bring the parents in.”
Stressing that the situation in the school is not a lost cause, he said the students can still be guided aright with the right mentoring and support. “The good news is that the situation is not that bad to the extent that these children cannot be helped. The complaints from the teachers and all other things I saw are policy issues, which we will go back to the office and discuss. Don’t forget that the governor must endorse some of these decisions because they are going to be critical and we have to think through them before making any drastic decision. We are not going to leave any stone unturned,” he added.
A motivational speaker, Pastor Kay Benson-Akhigbe, urged the students not to feel offended whenever their teachers correct them, noting that such corrections are meant to enable them lead better lives.
Akhigbe urged the parents to ensure they guide their children and wards on appropriate morals and report deviant behaviours to teachers and members of the committee.