Ifeoma Chime was an SS1 (9th-1oth grade) student of Queen’s College in 2005 when Olaseni Osifala was hired as a Biology teacher. “I remember him as a young and vibrant teacher, at least that’s what we (my classmates and I) thought, he was young when he started teaching the senior class,” she recalls. As an avid member of the Queen’s College Old Girls Association (QCOGA), Chime believes the association is surprised at the statement given by the school’s principal in defense of Osifala. She shared a newsletter showing where the QCOGA stands as regards the ongoing scandal, the contents could also mean that the school’s administration has uncovered some truth to the allegations leveled against Osifala.
According to Chime, Osifala has always been loose with his tongue but many students never took the things he said seriously. “He always used to say nonsense while teaching us biology, like calling human parts sausage and doughnut while telling erring students that if he puts his sausage in their doughnuts, they would not see their tasty time (whatever that means), he also threatened to touch students’ breasts,” she stated. It is possible that he did molest a few of the younger students.
“Osifala is a good teacher in terms of imparting knowledge. In my time, he had a free tongue and with that, he would create fantastic imagery for us as his students,” she said.
During the 1990’s, Toyin Oshinowo was a straight A student at Queen’s College, she attests to the fact that the esteemed school is not as excellent as it used to be back then. In her opinion, the college may not be perfect but the systemic rot and self serving tendencies were not as magnified as they are now in the school. She questions why the principal defended Osifala so vehemently, “I am of the opinion that the Principal and Vice principal are at fault and should also be pulled into the question, being a teacher is a noble profession and there is a duty of care that every teacher should have towards their students.”
For Oshinowo, the action put up by the principal indicates a will to cover up the scandal, which is a pity as it shows the students who have suffered from Osifala’s alleged abuse are not important. “In this case there were classics signs of a cover up, no evidence of protocols being followed and a classic case of protecting their own clan, regardless of Osifala’s innocence or guilt, he should have been removed from the situation and a formal investigation from the authorities should have occurred immediately,” she said.
After the allegations became known to the school authorities, they should have taken some kind of action to at least cushion the effect observers around the world would create with knowledge of the scandal. “Regardless of the result of the investigations Osifala should have been transferred from QC to an all boys school,” says Oshinowo.
However, there remains the mystery of current QC students protesting in defense of Osifala. If he were guilty, why would students protest in his favour? Oshinowo quickly drives home the fact that in the classic case of a sexual predator, it is usually a ‘he said, she said’ situation. If none of those students had been abused by Osifala, why wouldn’t they put him on a heroic pedestal, likening him to Jesus Christ who suffered ‘prosecution’ due to the wickedness of others? “I find it quite sad that our QC girls have been brainwashed by these teachers that have been put in place to achieve their own agenda, that protest was a sign of foolishness! The fact that it was allowed and the teachers did not shut it down again is a sign of the selfishness, those children do not know the implications of those allegations,” she concludes.
However, with so much defense coming from the principal and some students, no teachers have come forward to vehemently oppose accusations against Osifala. Isn’t it possible that they may know a lot more than the whole country knows right now? Besides, if Osifala is found guilty, he may likely face a lengthy prison sentence for the sexual assault of a minor.
Decrying the current standards of QC, Oshinowo says things are hardly the same. According to her, during Ms. Marino’s time in the 90’s, there was discipline, men were hardly seen within the boarding school walls and if you did he was always accompanied by a female member of staff. “I am not going to paint a rosy picture and say that there weren’t some male teachers that weren’t inappropriate with their statements, of course there were. For instance, there was a music teacher, I think his name was Mr. Hicks, who was too friendly at some point but to the best of my knowledge, he didn’t cross the line with his students,” she said.
Olaseni Osifala, a biology teacher at Queen’s College has been dragged through the wringer the past few days over allegations of sexual misconduct involving a JS2 student. Nigerians are appalled that such a teacher could emerge from the highly revered school where many excellent Nigerian women have graduated from. In any case, the school principal, Lami Amodu, has come to the defence of Osifala disputing claims made by Chinenye Okoye, who made publicly stated that her child had been assaulted by Osifala. “When I resumed work here, I was told a few unsavory things about him. But investigations showed that each time a new principal resumed at Queens College, these allegations popped up,” the QC Principal said earlier.