The police in Anambra State on Wednesday arrested Mrs. Njideka Imoka, the teacher that allegedly flogged a pupil, Chidimma Ukachukwu, to death at St. John of God Secondary School, Awka. Also arrested was the school’s principal, Mrs. Phil Odenigbo, who happens to be the wife of the immediate-past secretary to the state government, Mr. Paul Odenigbo.
Chidimma was said to have collapsed after being flogged by the teacher for failing to do her assignment. She was rushed to the Catholic church-owned Regina Caeli Hospital, Awka, where she was confirmed dead.
At the the police station, the teacher admitted that she had administered a mild caning on the deceased and several others before leaving the classroom. Imoka said she had to rush back to the classroom when she heard sounds of commotion coming from the deceased’s class.
On getting to the classroom, she added that she saw the deceased’s classmates trying to revive her and also joined in the effort. According to her, Chidimma was rushed to a private hospital nearby but when there was no doctor on duty, the deceased was taken to the Catholic hospital, where she eventually died.
However following the intervention of Governor Peter Obi and the leadership of the Catholic Diocese of Awka, owners of the school, the principal and the teacher were released. It was learnt that efforts were being made by the church and state government to ensure that the matter is amicably resolved.
When contacted to explain the governor’s role in the matter, the Special Assistant to the Governor on Media and Publicity, Mr. Valentine Obienyem, promised to call back. He did not return calls to his line afterwards.
It was also gathered that the family, the school and the church did not report the incident to the police. However, following wide media coverage on Wednesday, the suspects were arrested.
A doctor’s report obtained from the hospital where the girl died said the deceased was brought in alive.
It however stated that Chidimma was vomiting, had headache and pains in her leg. The report further said her condition worsened a few hours later when she began to have abnormal respiratory movement.
According to the report, efforts were immediately made to revive her but she did not respond and later died.
In a related development, Chidimma’s family has said they are not interested in pursuing the matter because they did not suspect any foul play.
In a sworn affidavit submitted to the police in Awka on Wednesday, the mother of the deceased, Mrs. Ukachukwu, said the family was not blaming anyone for their daughter’s death.
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