Lagos probes Indian school where Nigerians are denied admission

Lagos probes Indian school where Nigerians are denied admission

by Ololade Adebeshin
0 comment 11 minutes read

Lagos probes Indian school where Nigerians are denied admission


Following reports of Nigerians being barred from Indian Language School in Lagos, Nigerians have expressed outrage with the government ordering the ministry of education to commence a probe, GBENGA OLONINIRAN writes.


Some Nigerians have expressed outrage over suspected discrimination against Nigerians at the Indian Language School, Ilupeju, in Lagos.


This is as the Lagos State Government condemned the development and subsequently ordered a probe.


The PUNCH reported on Wednesday that the Indian High Commission vowed to sanction the workers at the school who refused The PUNCH correspondent access to the school facility for inquiries.


This followed online reports that the school was not admitting or welcoming Nigerians on its premises which prompted our correspondent to proceed to the school to investigate the claims.


While reacting to a post by @DejiAdesogan on Sunday, bordering on discrimination against Nigerians at an Abuja-based Chinese store, an X user @decommonroom shared his experience about the school.


He wrote, “The Indian school in Ilupeju only admits Indians. You need an Indian passport for enrollment.”


In a further chat with our correspondent, the user said, “My experience with the Indian international school in Ilupeju dates back to when my school had a debate competition with them in 2009. I discovered there were only Indian students. I was curious as to why because my school was also an international school and run by a foreign embassy with primarily expatriate kids and few Nigerians. Then I was informed their passport was a prerequisite for admission.”


Our correspondent visited the school on Monday but was denied entry by security officials who claimed to be acting on instructions of a receptionist.


When our correspondent asked to make inquiries for his uncle who had two kids and would like to enroll them in the school, one of the security men asked, “But that your uncle is an Indian man?”


“They said as a Nigerian, they (the management) cannot attend to you. So the person should come, the Indian person,” another security man added, saying that was the response of an unidentified administrative worker, said to be an Indian.


An email sent to the principal of the school, Sonali Gupta, seeking a reaction was not responded to on Tuesday. A reminder was also sent by our correspondent on Wednesday with no  response as of the time of filing this report.


On Tuesday, the press officer of the Indian High Commission in Abuja, Vipul Mesariya, said the commission was shocked by the experience of our reporter vowing sanctions.


Vipul said, “We are shocked to hear that you were not allowed inside the school. We are disciplining the security guard and the receptionist as they did not have the authority to make such a decision.”


It was however gathered that the school is primarily meant for Indian wards where they get accustomed with Indian style of learning and traditions.


Some Facebook users who commented on The PUNCH investigation expressed dissatisfaction over discrimination against Nigerians.


A Facebook user, Valentine Leo wrote, “Indians and Chinese are doing the most in this Nigeria. What’s the socioeconomic advantage of these businesses in Nigeria to Nigerians?”


“Terrible things are going on in this country,” Emmanuel Wilson lamented.


Another user, Freeman Ayo, called attention to how some Nigerians were treated at some Indian restaurants in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, but did not provide specific details.


He wrote, “You people need to go to Indian restaurants, especially in Abuja and see how Nigerians working there are treated especially the girls. It’s a long story.”


“I know the school they’re talking about. They should be questioned as well. It’s high time Nigeria stepped up to some of these foreigners (who) look at us like slaves most especially Indians” Agber Lover Victor commented.


Busuyi Johnson wondered why Nigerians would be discriminated against in their country with the government folding arms. The user said, “Chinese bar Nigerians in their supermarkets, Indians bar Nigerians in their school and we have a government in Nigeria.”


Posting a laughing emoji, Uvwie Girl wrote in pidgin language, “Dem go dey come Nigeria come open schools and supermarket, dem no go allow Nigerians, inside Nigeria.”


But Ridwan Abdulkadir expressed a different opinion noting he would ordinarily not want his children to get used to the Indian culture. He wrote, “Why would I (a Nigerian) want my child to school in an Indian school? Schools don’t just teach Maths, English and sciences. They also teach customs/traditions and moral values. So why would anyone want his children to be taught by people whose customs/traditions and moral values are completely different from Africans?”


On X, users expressed similar outrage and some shared their experience with the school.


“I used to live close to the school 14 years ago. Even the black drivers that brought children to school will park and wait till closing hours so the children won’t interact with nobody,” @demongoakombo wrote.


Another user noted it was important for foreigners to respect Nigeria’s democracy.


@ezechukwumicha4 wrote, “We practise democracy and if you can’t operate on a fair ground, please leave Nigeria, period.”


“They are like this almost everywhere in the world. They form their own community, do their own things, hire their own people, etc. All Asians not just Indians,” @daviconet22 also said.


A user asked if Nigerians could do same in India. “Can Nigerians do this in Indian? Lols,” @victor_omonowa_ asked.


However, checks online show that some Indian and Chinese schools in the United States are primarily for natives. It could not be immediately verified if they were open to foreigners or barred foreigners from visiting the school premises.


Riverside Indian School in the United States is home to nearly 800 students representing over 75 native American tribes from throughout the US, according to information on its website.


Information about the school located in Oklahoma as seen on the website of Oklahoma Historical Society, said, “Riverside school presently has students from dozens of Indian regions attending grades four through 12. Admission requires a Certified Degree of Indian Blood. Riverside’s board of education, administration, staff, and faculty are predominantly American Indian. The State of Oklahoma and the North Central Association of Secondary Schools and Elementary Schools accredit the school, which offers numerous specialised academic programmes.”


An activist and General Secretary of the Committee for the Defense of Human Rights, Gerald Katchy, in an interview with our correspondent, said discrimination of any kind “is a serious breach of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights Article 23, Article 28 Article 30 and other international and national treaties including our constitution.”


Gerald said, “Discrimination is any unfair treatment or arbitrary distinction based on a person’s race, sex, religion, nationality, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, disability, age, language, social origin or other status.”


When contacted on Wednesday, the Lagos Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotosho, said the state ministry of education would be informed and a probe would be carried out to ascertain what was going on in the school.


The commissioner said the state government was not in support of any form of discrimination.


“The Lagos State government frowns at any form of discrimination in whatever guise or disguise. Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu is in the second term of his administration and in everything he has done, he has not discriminated against anybody irrespective of religion, colour or affiliation. I’m not sure the ministry of education has gotten a complaint from anybody but if what you’re saying is true, it is not in our character.”


Omotosho added, “The ministry of education will investigate the matter.”


Credit:Punch Newspaper 

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