* Complainant abandoned her kids in school – Police
A beauty consultant, Theresa Anthony, has accused the owner of the Treasure Heritage School, located at No 4 Fatoye Ajikawo Street, in the Alagolo area of Ipaja, Lagos State, Abidemi Davies, of taking her kids, Presley and Zoe, to the police station because of incomplete payment of their tuition fees.
Our reporter gathered that the mother of three had an agreement with Abidemi,to pay her three kids’ school fees of about N150,000 on a weekly basis, but when she (Theresa) could not meet up with the schedule, her children were sent home.
Theresa, who said she had informed Abidemi that she needed more time to complete the payment, because she was attending to a sick child, added that she was surprised that the police were involved in the matter.
The Delta State indigene said, “I was supposed to pay N150,000 for my three children, Shekinah, Presley and Zoe. I knew I could not pay everything at a once because things were not going well for me at that time, so I met with the owner of the school, who is also their headmistress, and sought her consent to be paying N10,000 into the school’s account on a weekly basis until I would be able to pay off and she agreed.
“I made a transfer of N13,000 that day. I had paid about N43,000 when Presley took ill and I begged her (Abidemi) to give me some time to resume the payment, because I was spending money on my son’s sickness, and she also agreed. I felt very helpless when she sent my children home when they were already undergoing revision for their examinations.
“I had to follow them back to school to appeal to her, but she became so aggressive. She said I could not teach her how to run her school and that my children should remain at home if I was unable to meet the weekly payment schedule as earlier agreed.”
Theresa, who said she thought Abidemi was joking when she threatened to involve the police, added that when a policewoman from the Ipaja-Alagolo Police Station, Rasheedat Kassim, whom she once had an issue with arrived, she (Kassim) made the matter worse by taking her children to the station.
She stated, “Immediately Kassim saw me, she said I had come to make trouble again; she didn’t hear me out; and when I saw the way things were going, I left the school and went to my office. I left my children there because it was early and I wanted them to attend school that day.
“I was on the way to my office when Shekinah ran after me saying that the policewoman had taken Presley and Zoe to the station and that Abidemi said I should go and bail them at the station. So, I quickly went to report to a human rights organisation, because I felt humiliated that they subjected my children to such a treatment. I want the law to take its cause.”
Based on the development, the Human Rights Initiative for the Downtrodden petitioned the Area Commander, Area P Command, stating that the children were taken to the station in a bid to arrest their mother.
The petition read in part, “That Rasheedat Kassim of the Ipaja-Alagolo Police Division arrested, detained, interrogated and took photographs of Presley and Zoe Anthony, minors of ages five and 10, without committing an offence, around 9am on November 19, 2018.
“That during our telephone conversation with Mr Abayomi Theresa, the husband of the school owner on the issue, he confirmed that the incident actually took place in his absence and he pleaded with Abidemi not to be angry and called his wife and instructed her to ensure the safe return of the kids.
“That Abayomi also informed us during the telephone conversation that the arrest of the kids was in order to get hold of Theresa when she eventually goes for her children.”
However, when contacted, Abidemi said she involved the police because she did not want to take the law into her own hands as Theresa assaulted her on the school premises.
The school owner stated, “As of the time her children were sent home, they had successfully spent 11 weeks in school. I was surprised that she came back to fight. She even tore my clothes when she was struggling with me in my office. I don’t want to take the law into my own hands, so I informed the police.
“Even when the policewoman came, she met her (Theresa) still raging and immediately Theresa saw the policewoman, she ran out and abandoned her children. She did that because she had issues with the policewoman previously. She is a troublemaker
“So, the policewoman advised that we should go to the station to sort it out, hoping that Theresa would meet us there. We waited for her at the station but she did not show up; we called her mobile telephone but it had been switched off. So, the police took the children’s photographs and said I should take them back to the school. They did not arrest or put the kids behind the counter; the kids sat beside me.”
The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, CSP Chike Oti, who confirmed the incident, said the police were looking for Theresa for molesting Abidemi on the school premises, adding that the claim that the children were arrested was wrong because the school proprietor brought them to the station after they were abandoned by their mother.
Oti said, “I am glad that you came to cross-check the story with us for balanced reporting. As a matter of fact, we are looking for that woman (Theresa), because she is on our wanted list, and any time we are able to get her, we are taking her to court, because of what she did to the headmistress, who is also the owner of the school.
“She (Theresa) owed the school her children’s tuition fees. She discussed with the headmistress that she would be paying little by little and Abidemi sent her children home when she could not keep up with the agreement. Instead of her to settle things amicably, she went to the school and assaulted the headmistress.
“When we received a distress call that somebody was molesting the headmistress in the presence of pupils, we sent out operatives, who were led by a female officer, to stop the fight and arrest the offending parties. The woman (Theresa), on sighting the female officer, took to her heels. So, when the school was dismissed for the day, she didn’t turn up to pick her children, because she was afraid that she would be arrested.
“So, the principal, at the end of the day, notified the police for record purposes and brought the pupils to the station to inform us that the woman she reported to have assaulted her had abandoned her children and that she didn’t know her house.
“After reporting, the police contacted the juvenile and women centre about the case and an agreement was reached that the kids could not be kept in the station because of their ages and that Abidemi should find a way to reach their mother and the headmistress took the children back to the school.”
The PPRO, who noted that the children were never detained at the police station, added that the state Commissioner of Police, Edgal Imohimi’s stance on gender and children’s issue was clear, adding that the welfare of vulnerable children was uppermost in the mind of the present police administration.