On this day last year, 2 February 2017, men of the Department of State Services (DSS) invaded the premises of the Federal Government Girls College (FGGC), Calabar. These DSS men beat up teachers, brutalized staff, and shot sporadically. Teachers were injured, monies lost, and phones and other valuables were destroyed.
You may wonder why DSS took law into its hands, particularly in a school premises.
A student, among 10 others, whose aunt works with the DSS was flogged by a teacher. The student, female, reported the teacher’s action to her DSS aunt. With a handful of DSS operatives, her aunt stormed the school to attack the teachers in a most brazen manner.
It’s most likely you have forgotten this injustice—as we often do in a country where victims of injustice are supposed to forget about whatever they have suffered while culprits keep lawlessly wrecking havoc in the society. Well, this is exactly what they want: they want us to forget.
The teachers protested against DSS’s action. Nothing happened. At some point, these teachers were even threatened with sack letters if they kept protesting or talking about the issue. Like many other victims have done in a society where those who are supposed to protect us destroy us, these teachers eventually stopped protesting or talking. The teachers have gone quiet or perhaps they have been forced to forgot about it—as many have done when the state becomes too strong for them.
In my pursuit of justice as the teachers’ advocate, I wrote to the Ministry of Education. The Ministry of Education replied me, saying they were looking into it. Till date, nothing more. I wrote to DSS, demanding an apology and compensation for these teachers. The DSS didn’t reply my letter. Till date, no word.
The truth is DSS wants us to forget it. That’s how our the system works—they delay you; they keep holding endless meetings; they frustrate you; they make you forget. You then abandon your cause.
This is why nothing ever gets done and injustice persists in our society today. This is why we are moving backwards in nearly every sector of our national existence. This is why ills are not healed and wrongs are not corrected.
But if this country under God will ever progress, we should never forget festering ills, uncorrected wrongs, and justice not attained. Our glory as a nation lies in our memory of things like this.
Any nation who forgets that security agents—paid by taxpayers—stormed a school, shooting everywhere and beating up teachers is not a serious nation. No nation should forget this until justice is done. I choose not to forget.
How can we even forget when every media establishment covered that story? Just google it. It is there, recorded indelibly in the pages of history. Our children will see it tomorrow and they will ask what we did when this happened. What are we going to tell them?
So, today, on the anniversary of that barbaric incident, I head to court. I am, on behalf of the teachers and staff of FGGC, suing DSS, the student and her parents for N500 million.
I am suing for the enforcement of the teachers’ fundamental human right to dignity of the human person. I have chosen this method because the teachers—the party I represent—have been obviously threatened and intimidated into silence.
We are not fighting anyone. We are simply demanding that things are done right. We are on the side of Nigeria and we believe that any Nigerian, government official, or DSS operative who believes in Nigeria is on our side.
Today, as we take our prayers to the temple of justice—whether they are answered or not—we will be satisfied that at least we didn’t forget.
First Baba Isa, Esq is the Principal Partner of FBI LEGAL.