Hundreds of teachers under the umbrella of The Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria took to the streets of Calabar on Tuesday to protest against the attack on their colleagues at the Federal Government Girls College by officials of the Department of State Services.
The teachers, who trekked over eight kilometres along major routes in Calabar, went to the Cross River State House of Assembly and the Governor’s office to present letters of grievance to the Speaker, Mr. John Gaul-Lebo; and Governor Ben Ayade respectively.
PUNCH Metro had reported that a Civic Education teacher, Mr. Owai Owai, had on Thursday flogged 10 pupils of Senior Secondary School 3, for forcing some Junior Secondary School pupils to sweep their (SSS3) classroom when classes had commenced.
One of the SSS3 pupils was said to have called her mother, Mrs. Asuquo, a DSS official, on the telephone, who reportedly raced to the school and invited her colleagues.
The DSS officials stormed the college premises, shooting indiscriminately. They reportedly flogged Owai, and other teachers, who attempted to caution them.
The protest by members of the association, which is an affiliate of the Trade Union Congress, also attracted officials of the state chapter of the Nigeria Union of Teachers.
In the letter titled, ‘A case of threat to lives, molestation and abduction of students and attempted murder of teachers in the FGGC, Calabar, which was delivered separately to the Speaker and the governor, the protesters urged the government to properly investigate the matter.
The letter was endorsed by chairman and secretary of ASCSN, Udofa V.M., and Emore M.E., respectively.
The state Chairman of TUC, Mr. Clarkson Otu, who presented the letter on behalf of the teachers said, “We are here to protest against the brutal attack on our colleagues at the FGGC, Calabar, by officials of the DSS on February 2. We know that the DSS is not under your control, but we have come to register our grievance.
“We know you will use your good offices to ensure that the matter is not swept under the carpet. This matter is before you and we want justice. We want the matter to be properly investigated so that those behind this brutality are punished.”
The Clerk of the House, Mr. Bassey Ekpenyong, who received the letter on behalf of the Speaker, promised that the matter would not be swept under the carpet.
He decried the action of the DSS officials, stating that the attack on the teachers was unwarranted.
“This letter will get to its destination. We will ensure that justice is served,” he said.
Also, a Director at the office of State Security Adviser, Mr. Etam Eno, who received the letter on behalf of Ayade, promised that a meeting would be called between the management of the school and the DSS to resolve the matter amicably.
Eno, who said the governor was aware of the development, promised that justice would be done.
Meanwhile, the brutalised teachers’ lawyer, First Baba Issa, who has been handling the case, told one of our correspondents on Tuesday that the Federal Ministry of Education had invited him for a meeting on the incident, adding that the state Assembly had pledged to ensure that the operatives were brought to book.