Six teachers at the Federal Government Girls College in Calabar on Thursday alleged that they were beaten in the presence of pupils by operatives of the Department of State Services, Cross River State Command.
They alleged that the armed security officials stormed the school premises at about 10am on the invitation of a female DSS official who had come to beat up a teacher for flogging her daughter.
One of the teachers, Mr. Owai Owai, said he was flogged in front of his pupils by the DSS woman and her husband.
Other teachers, who claimed to have been beaten up when the school later became flooded with DSS officials, identified themselves simply as Ndarake, Inyang, Udoh, Agba, Njor and the college’s Chief Security Officer, John Ikpeme.
A security official, identified as James, said the DSS officials who stormed the school in three vehicles, shot repeatedly into the air before they forcefully gained entrance.
However, the state Director of DSS, Mr. Fubara Duke, said the matter was a case of mistaken identity.
Punch observed that the school gate had bullet holes, while some spent shells were seen on the floor.
Owai, who teaches Civic Education in the senior class, said trouble started when he flogged some pupils for failing to sweep their classroom.
He said, “I was about to teach when I noticed some junior pupils sweeping the classroom of the senior pupils. I learnt that the senior pupils had imposed it on them. It was a wrong precedent because all the pupils had been told to sweep their respective classes.
“I punished the senior pupils who ordered the junior ones to sweep. I gave each of them two strokes of the cane on their palm and one of them challenged me for flogging her. Before I knew what was happening, she telephoned her mother, whom I later learnt was a DSS official. The mother came to the school with her husband and they started beating me.
“They used my own cane to flog me in the presence of the pupils. My fellow teachers came in to stop them, but they were rebuffed. Later, the DSS woman called her colleagues for reinforcement and that was how the school became flooded with DSS officials. They started beating teachers who ran into them.”
Another teacher, Amos Princewill, said the DSS officials took away two mobile phones, a binocular and N80,000 belonging to his colleagues who were molested.
But DSS Director, Duke, said, “It was not true that they used guns. What happened was that there was a mistaken identity somewhere. Our people responded to a call from them and on getting there, a group of hoodlums that had earlier gone there took to their heels.
“Meanwhile, a parent had gone to the school to complain that her daughter was beaten up by a teacher. She (the parent) was mistaken to be among the hoodlums and some teachers from the school pounced on her. They even attacked a DSS official. I have complained to the school authorities to take administrative action against what they did to a member of my staff.”