By Monima Kalaotaji

Bullying in Nigerian schools is an epidemic just coming to light.

Reading the story of Sylvester Oromoni,the young boy who was ki.lled by bullies in Dowen college is just heartbreaking and brings tears to my eyes. It is not easy loosing a child you have dedicatedly and painstakingly nurtured over the years.

Earlier in the year it was an 11 year old boy Don Davis of Deeper life school who barely escaped with his life, and these are just the highly publicised stories.

Bullying in schools has been an epidemic since time immemorial in Nigerian schools,it’s just gaining light now most probably because we are in the age of the internet where news catches like wildfire.

I attended boarding house in Jss1 as an 11 year old but just for 2 terms cos my parents were smart enough to know that this “bolo” cannot cope with its rigours and boy was I glad I left.

Food was garbage, seniors were hostile, living conditions were substandard. In fact most of our boarding houses are no different from prison cells.

We only ate good food on visiting days when our parents brought home made food and I remember when my dad saw me after a month or so,he was shocked at how much I lost weight.

We have school masters and mistresses in boarding houses but how commited are they to their jobs? Are they oblivious to the fact that cultism and clicks and bullies are bred under their noses? I believe they see a lot of misbehaviour from kids but how well are they handled in terms of discipline to prevent future occurrences and create a harmonious living condition for these children?

To the parents,what kind of child are you raising? Are you aware of the activities of your children or your job is just to dump them anywhere far from you and pay people to watch over them?

My mum will always say “charity begins at home” and I agree with her totally. Parents play the largest role in bringing up a child. They set the tone to the way a child is brought up and if not handled delicately from the beginning, what you’ll be doing is nurturing a potential terr.orist.

Some parents are ready to fight school owners and withdraw their children from schools who try to instill discipline in their children and in order not to loose parents in droves,school owners prefer to turn the other way and not jeopardize their income.

For me,we can’t totally eradicate bullies, they’re viruses that will always spring up,but we can curb them to the barest minimum by emboldening our children to speak up and disperse fears of threats made by the bullies.

Pay keen attention to your children especially when you see strange changes like being moody and poor communication amongst others, something drastic is happening to them at that period,do not take it likely cos that may be their tipping point and you may jolly well be saving your child at that crucial moment.

To parents who know their children are bullies but feign ignorance,know this, it is not too late to help your child turn a new leaf. Don’t think they won’t bully you when they get older,you’ll also most likely suffer the same fate as their previous victims and your fate will surely be worse off.

I hope Sylvester Oromoni gets justice and the culprits are fished out and punished for the death of the young boy.

(c) Monima Kalaotaji 2021