A total of 71 pupils of the Government Secondary School, Etoi in Uyo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State have been suspended for allegedly attempting to burn down the school.
It was gathered that some pupils alleged to be members of a cult group took the law into their hands and vandalised the school property. The pupils also held the Principal hostage for several hours and attacked security personnel in the school.
The Commissioner for Education, Prof Nse Essien, announced the suspension when he led the management staff of the ministry and other stakeholders in the education sector to assess the situation, with a view to proffering a lasting solution.
Expressing his dismay at the attitude of the pupils, Essien said the school was the right of everyone and it should be protected. He said the Akwa Ibom State Government would not fold its hands and allow hooligans take over the school.
The commissioner added that anybody found culpable would be severely punished. Stressing that those who took part in the incident were not bonafide pupils of the school, he called for the cooperation of all, including the security agencies, to fish out the bad eggs.
“All the 71 pupils will be suspended indefinitely for their part in the acts of violence and insubordination, except proven otherwise. “We got some of the names through intelligence. This measure is meant to sanitise the system and serve as deterrent to others” he said.
He added that the final-year pupils among them would have their names removed from the list of WASSCE candidates to further buttress government’s zero tolerance for indiscipline. The commissioner blamed the teachers for the poor upbringing of the affected pupils, which he claimed had contributed to their actions.
“As teachers, it is your job to instill discipline in the pupils and to forestall a breakdown of law and order in our schools. Any teacher who is accustomed to lateness, negligence of duty and other forms of misdemeanor will face serious sanctions”, he said.