The International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Nigeria has demanded the overhaul of the educational system in the country to eradicate cases of violence in the schools.
The group was reacting to the controversial death of Sylvester Oromoni, the 12-year-old pupil of Dowen College in Lagos.
Oromoni had died after he was allegedly beaten by senior colleagues for refusing to join a cult group.
In a statement signed by Amina Suzannah Agbaje, its National President, and Christiana Oyanvutu Adejumo, its National Publicity Secretary, FIDA Nigeria condemned the alleged torture and the death of the student.
The group said the incident was an indication that there was a need to overhaul the country's educational structure, noting that Oromoni died due to systemic failure.
The statement read: "FIDA Nigeria has noticed that the trend of violence by and to children and youth in institutions of learning is becoming rampant and must be checked and stopped forthwith.
"Reference is here made to the recent incident of a) 11-year-old Don Davies Archibong in Deeper Life High School, Idoro, Uyo Akwa Ibom State and b) 14-year-old, Keren-Happuch Aondodoo Akpagher, a Senior Secondary School (SSS1) student of Premiere Academy Lugbe, Abuja raped in her dormitory and so forth, who have suffered similar violence resulting in grievous injury and death.
"These terrible tales emanating from secondary schools across the nation are an indication of a failing system in dire need of overhauling. The grave situation must be addressed with utmost urgency."
Citing article 19 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the group said children had the right to be protected from physical and mental violence, neglect, sexual abuse and exploitation, while they are in the care of parents or any other person.
The group listed several demands essential to revamp the educational system and asked the government to ensure justice for Oromoni.
It added, "FIDA categorically states that the total well-being of our children matters and education is not just about getting excellent grades and the economic benefits that accrue to institutions, but about balancing academic performance against good character formation.
"Attention must also be paid to addressing forthwith the issue of cultism and fraternities in our schools, the system must be sanitised.
"FIDA demands prompt justice for Sylvester and insists on a complete thorough and objective investigation into all aspects of the case, (and indeed other recently reported cases), to determine the culpability of management, the truants involved and so forth, such that no one is shielded from investigation or punishment; that the Ministry of Education must take responsibility and act quickly in promptly addressing key issues affecting schools generally.
"The Federal and State Government should overhaul the educational facilities/system with a view to instilling high moral and other standards, which will deter evil actors of crimes such as this.
"Parents working with schools should be proactive to teach and insist on good values, integrity and good character but above all, respect and dignity for persons (even as children) rather than shielding them
"Proper and effective medical support in schools including psychological assessment for the well-being of a child in school; a child should not be so frightened that he/she cannot lodge a report to school authorities or parents.”