SWITZERLAND, JANUARY 02 – In the aftermath of the death of Sylvester Oromoni, a 12-year-old student of Dowen College, Lagos, allegedly as a result of bullying from fellow students, the Good Citizen Radio Show has explored the dangers of poor parenting.
Sponsored by Sustainability firm, CSR – in- Action and Aspire Coronation Trust (ACT) Foundation, a grant making non-profit organization, and hosted by renowned sustainability advocate and consultant, Bekeme Masade Olowola, the Good Citizen show features discussions on pertinent public issues related to corporate citizenship in Nigeria. The show features discussions on citizenship challenges and solutions to some of the challenges facing Nigeria as a nation.
Sylvester Oromoni died on 30 November 2021 with the school saying he had sustained injuries while playing football. Shortly after, his parents claimed that before taking his last breath, Sylvester told them he had been severely beaten and forced to drink an unknown substance by five senior boys. The boy’s death sparked widespread outrage and protests against bullying and cultism in secondary schools.
Sylvester’s death was made known by his cousin who had gone on to social media to announce his death, and to announce the fact that he had identified 5 other students as having been the cause of his death. According to media reports, four of them were in SS1 while the 5th was in SS2. Meanwhile, there had been other complaints by parents who claimed that their children had also been victims of bullying in the Nigerian boarding school system.
While the school is culpable for failing in its primary duty of protecting students, the strange attitude of the Dowen school boys who had allegedly bullied Sylvester incessantly and ultimately caused his death has been linked to poor parenting. In a recent session of the Good Citizen Show on Inspiration FM 92.3, callers discussed the harmful effects of poor parenting in the society; a situation that leads to the raising up of children with antisocial behaviours who often become a burden on the society.
“Nobody is caring about these children anymore. Parents should make up for their slumber. Lots of things are happening in our homes,” said a caller from Iyana-Ipaja area of Lagos.
According to the caller, many children are suffering from parental neglect, without their parents monitoring them and giving them the needed care and training to develop into useful members of the society.
Another caller, known as Tommy from Ilasan, said the Sylvester incidence is a big opportunity for the government and parents to stop cultism and bullying in secondary schools. Tommy spoke about the growing culture on rivalries in secondary schools, referencing what happens in his community.
“We have a school village in Ilasan here… Did you know at the end of every term, it is a tradition that there will be an inter-rivalry conflict between students?”
Tommy also claimed that it is easy to identify the bad students in the schools and called on the Lagos state government to allow necessary disciplinary actions taking against recalcitrant students in public schools.
“In my own days, there is something they call black books. Once a child is suspended from a school, the whole school in the state, no one will admit you, except maybe the private. But things like that do not exist again. And if those things do not exist, there is no way we will stop this issue of late Sylvester. The best thing now is for the government to be up and doing and, the parent forum as they have called it in government schools, let them identify these people. These people are not spirits. These children are not spirits.”
A Olanrewaju, another caller on the program, explored the impact of peer pressure and the influence of young adults on their younger peers.
“If you checked it, during the locked down last year, many children were at home, even the ones that were in higher institution. You know some of them, even the young one who is secondary school, private school, they might have a brother that might been in cult in higher institutions,” said Olanrewaju.
“These students are seeing what they are doing, maybe, when their brother or their relative came, they are seeing what they are doing…”
He also mentioned the increasing exposure of children to harmful content such as pornography due to lack of parental monitoring, using the example of a three-year-old boy who saw nude photos on his grandmother’s phone.
“They have their own fault because they are supposed to have a monitor. They are supposed to have the hostel master that will check what they are doing. Everything, they will be monitoring all their activities. That is where the school have the question to answer,” Olanrewaju added.
Another caller called Tony, attributed the rising incidence of vices amongst children to poor parenting methods, which he blamed on modernization of parenting and the reluctance to discipline children.
“The bible says there is foolishness in the heart of a child. The rod of correction drives it out. These days, the sort of parents over pamper them,” Tony said. “There is saying that it is not what you leave for your children, it what you leave in them. Parents are striving to leave a lot for their children without leaving anything in them”
According to the next caller, who is a teacher, parents are promoting indiscipline by criticizing teachers when they punish their children.
“A child does something in school and the child is disciplined, you’ll find out the mothers will go to school to fight the teacher. You know, I once had an experience where I taught in a school and disciplined a child. He was 3 then. And you know the next morning he came, he was conversing with his friends, and he said, ‘my mummy said she is coming to face teacher IJ and put her inside the ‘Ghana must go’. “