The recent incident at a famous secondary school in Maiduguri of El-Kanemi College of Islamic Theology has stirred reactions as authorities set out to unravel circumstances leading to the near-death slitting of the throat of Jibril Sadi Mato, an 11-year-old JSS 3 student of the college.
A 16-year-old senior secondary school student of the school, Ahmed Umar Goni, 16, last Saturday, went wild when he used a razor blade to slit the throat of the junior student.
Daily Trust on Sunday gathered that the incident, which has made it difficult for the victim to talk, happened at night after the school’s evening prep, following a minor disagreement between him and the suspect.
Though the victim is currently receiving medical attention at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, the incident has put the school on the spot following insinuations of alleged cover-up by the parents of the suspect and school authorities.
It was gathered that the suspect, popularly called Fairoz, dragged the victim to the back of the dormitory, where he used razor blade and cut his throat from different sides.
Despite ongoing investigations, there have been counter allegations as to the real cause of the attack, which has, however, been denied by the parents of the suspect and the victim.
Goni was paraded alongside other criminals on Friday at the police headquarters, Maiduguri.
The suspect told our correspondent that he carried out the attack to fulfill his intention to be expelled from boarding school.
“I committed the act because I don’t want boarding school. I just wanted to draw attention of my parents to remove me from boarding school. I didn’t expect that my action would cause such a terrible thing like this. The victim was not responsible for my being in the boarding school.
“Nobody asked me to do it, and I have never done so in the past,” he Goni said.
The Borno State commissioner of police, Abdu Umar, told news men that the matter was under investigation.
The step father of the victim, Muhammad Ajiya, an engineer, said: “Last Sunday morning I received a call from the school, informing me that Jibril had been injured and there was the need for me to come to the teaching hospital to see his condition. I was also informed that the same text message was sent to his mother, but I decided to come myself first to ascertain the condition of the child. When I was ushered into the ICU of the hospital, I saw him sleeping. I am thankful to God that he is still alive.
“My primary focus is to ensure that he regains his health so that he can continue with his studies.”
Ajiya expressed delight that the school management had demonstrated commitment by ensuring proper medical attention on his son, especially by picking all the medical bills.
He added that the management of the school also told him that the suspect had been in police custody, with investigations ongoing.
“On Wednesday, two security men visited the hospital and contacted the head of the ICU. They saw the condition of the boy and left. On Thursday, the deputy commissioner of police in charge of CID also visited the ICU officials and to see the boy,” he added.
Explaining his relationship with the victim, Ajiya noted, “I am a guardian to Jibril because I am married to his mother. His father is late. Since we got married, the boy has been under my care. When he finished his primary school, I decided to send him to secondary school. In fact, I enrolled him into El-Kanemi after an interview. He was admitted into pre-JSS alongside my other children in the same school. Some of them have finished from the school. I felt that I should take him to the school where all my children were attending.
“I was told that the act was committed by an SS2 student, who is far above him because the boy is in pre-JSS. He has a gap of about five years; and the culprit may be about 16 years.
“Now, my child cannot talk because his neck was severely injured. Whenever he wants to communicate, he only gestures to be given an exercise book and a pen to write whatever he wants to say.”
On the alleged conspiracy to conceal the case, Ajiya said, “Some people have been saying that a’m trying to conceal the whole matter, out of mischief. I have been the guardian of this child for several years. Since the day the incident happened, I have been at the hospital to ensure he gets well. How then can I conceal such a heinous act? Security operatives have told me that they are on top of the matter.
“This incident can never be swept under the carpet. Justice must be done for this boy. But the problem, as I keep on telling people, is that I don’t want a divided attention. I want to focus on the wellbeing of the boy so that if he gets well, other matters would follow and justice will take its course because justice is not something to be done in a hurry. It takes time and investigation has to be conducted.”
Ajiya also noted that the culprit might have collaborators, insisting that the issue had to be investigated before it is taken to court.
“People have to be patient. Somebody who never cares to go to the hospital to see the boy but claiming to be his elder brother went to the social media to post rubbish, to the extent of alleging that I am trying to connive with the school authorities to conceal the matter. Anyway, for now, I am being patient, but definitely, I am going to take up this issue with the boy who posted all the nonsense about me.”
The school, in a statement signed by the principal, Kashim Ibrahim Abdullahi, noted, “The incident took place in our college on the night of January 15, 2022, about 10.05pm, immediately after the prep.
“The matter was instantly reported to the principal of the junior secondary school, who rushed the victim to the Borno State Specialist Hospital, from where they referred him to the Trauma Centre of the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital.
“Jibril is now receiving the necessary medical attention. Some staff of the college queued up to donate blood for the victim and the school fully took the financial responsibility.
“According to the law of the land, the college has no right to handle crime cases of such magnitude, and thus, handed over the culprit to the police a few moments after the incident, for further investigations.
“Unfortunately, some media houses, individuals, as well as other critics of the college, without any proof or verifiable evidence, went ahead to spread false information whereas the college is still awaiting the police to conclude investigations. Therefore, the management of the college denounces all the conspiracy allegations and fake news about the incident.
“Several accusations were made against the college, as well as the allegation that parents of the culprit and the guardians of the victim were concealing the facts about the incident. Contrarily, the testimonies of both parents in their media interactions debunked the allegations, which were meant to dent the image of the college. It is also noteworthy that such incident has never occurred in the 47-year history of the college.
“Most importantly, Jibril is now getting better, by Allah’s grace. The management of the college, its entire staff and students sincerely sympathise with the family of the victim and earnestly pray for his quick recovery.”
Meanwhile, the Borno State Government, through the Ministry of Education, has constituted a five-man committee to investigate the circumstances that led to the incident.
In a letter addressed to the chairman of the committee and ministerial secretary, Ministry of Education, Alhaji Sadiq Kadafur, and signed by the permanent secretary of the ministry, Mohammed Mustapha Abatcha, the committee was directed to investigate and establish the cause of the incident and suggest ways to avoid recurrence.
The committee, which is made up of representatives of the commissioner of police, State Security Service, commandant of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), as well as the director, Quality Assurance, Ministry of Education, Hajiya Hadiza Nasiru Wali, has one week to submit its report to the state commissioner for education.