Public decency and morality were flung to the winds by some scoundrels in school uniforms, who descended on female students with the raw intent of raping them publicly. Motorists and passers-by watched in shock as male students from secondary schools in the Ikoyi axis of Lagos sexually assaulted girls from Falomo Senior High School.
It was a display of mid-day madness by the boys who were celebrating the completion of their West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) with wild excitement. In an unpremeditated act of gangsterism, one of the boys tried to force himself on a girl wrestled to the ground while others cheered.
Another victim who was at the mercy of two other boys had her skirt ripped open with a pair of scissors as the randy lads lurched at her from the front and the rear. It took the bold intervention of a concerned woman before the girl fought herself free. The sheer barbarity of the rampaging students created pandemonium in the area. The Lagos State Ministry of Education’s swift reaction led to the arrest of four of the students involved who are now facing prosecution.
The strange criminal action of the schoolboys was a reflection of the moral rot that has eaten deep into the fabrics of our society over the years. On a larger scale, the issue is multidimensional because it indexes the failure of parenting, the public school system and society’s core moral values. It offends our collective sensibility.
The obscene incident also raises a fundamental question on the quality of teenagers the larger society is breeding and the implications for the country’s future. It is disturbing that criminality is becoming an attractive venture for the younger ones.
This bizarre act must not go unpunished in order to serve as a deterrent to other students with similar beastly instincts. We urge the Lagos State Government to thoroughly investigate the matter with a view to sanitising the already decayed public school system. Misfits and delinquents among the lot should be flushed out and taken to social rehabilitation centres or remand homes so that they will not constitute a threat to the society. The case of those already arraigned should be diligently prosecuted and the offenders, if found guilty, should feel the full weight of the law . After all, those who do the crime must do the term.
We commend the rare courage and motherly protectiveness displayed by Mrs Michele Matthew, who stood up to the depraved boys at the risk of her personal safety. We condemn the attitude of security guards around the crime scene who were recording the despicable act with mobile phones instead of doing their duties. They should be severely sanctioned.