The Ondo State government has reportedly offered money to a pastor in the state, Joshua Ojo, following the death of his 16-year-old son, Emmanuel Ojo, in controversial circumstances.
The aggrieved father said he was more interested in getting to know the cause of his son's death particularly after the state government officials offered him money though the CAC Grammar School, Akure, Emmanuel’s school.
According to Joshua, someone from his son’s school had told him to rush to the University of Medical Sciences Teaching Hospital in Akure, and on getting there, he learnt of his son's death, FIJ reports.
Joshua said he saw Emmanuel, a junior secondary school 3 student, leave the house healthy on January 11. But by 2pm, he received a call from the school that something was wrong with his son.
“A teacher called and asked that I come to school as my son was sick. While wondering what could have gone wrong, the same person called five minutes later and said I should come to the general hospital. When I got there, I went to the emergency room and asked if there was a fresh case involving a student, but they said no,” he was quoted as saying.
Joshua said he waited for another 40 minutes before the school brought his son. According to him, two teachers and someone who identified herself as a nurse from the school brought his son in a taxi.
The bereaved father said he was scared when he peeped into the taxi and saw his son receiving a drip while his hands and legs were stiff. Afterwards, they rushed the boy to the emergency ward.
Joshua said when a doctor examined his son, he was pronounced dead, adding that he must have died hours before they brought him to the hospital.
“I asked the nurse from my son’s school what had happened to my son. She told me he tried to jump out of a window and fell from there. I then asked her to name the students who were there when it happened, to know if anyone pushed him, and she said she was not there.
“She said they brought him by past 9am and she gave him an injection and a drip. When we took his body, we thought the principal and vice-principal were following us to where we would bury him. But when we got there, we didn’t see them.”
Joshua said he received a call from CAC Grammar School the following day and the caller asked to see him. He said he directed the person to where he was, but he did not expect what he saw on his arrival.
“I saw Olufemi Agagu, the state Commissioner of Education; Lola Amuda, the state head of service; Oluwapelumi Adetimehin, the state permanent secretary; the principal and some four students. They said they wanted to see me. They came to appeal,” he said.
He said he told the government officials that he wanted to know what led to the death of his son.
“I told them I checked his head when I saw his body but I did not see any sign that he fell from the window. His head did not swell and there was no trace of blood from either his nose or head. We only saw traces of tears on his face, meaning he had cried to death. We saw dry lines of tears on his face,” he said.
Joshua said on January 14, a spokesperson from the government, some students, and some teachers visited him again, but this time to give him money, which he rejected.
“I then asked why they wanted to give me money and what kind of money it was. I lost my child, and the next thing was money. Does that mean they killed my son and are giving me money as compensation? If they tell us, we’ll let it go,” he said.
The bereaved man said he knew the school would have said his son died in the hospital if they had got there before him, and that if the school would be honest to tell him how his son died, he would forgive them.
In a press release, Olaoluwa Meshack, head of information unit, Ondo State Ministry of Education, wrote that Emmanuel “sat quietly among his classmates for a while until they played around and he attempted to jump through the window but hit his head against the post and landed on the bare floor, also hitting his head on the concrete”.
But Joshua said there were no signs Emmanuel hit his head on a hard surface.
Meanwhile, Oluwapelumi Adetimehin, the principal of CAC Grammar School, told FIJ that the matter had been transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID).
“I have nothing to say about the issue. If you want to know about it, please go to the SCID. They are investigating the issue. The BBC did not hear from me before publishing their report, so if you want to hear anything, go to the CID,” she said.
According to the report, the principal of CAC Grammar School is the wife of Ade Adetimehin, the Ondo State All Progressives Congress (APC) chairman.