My name is Mrs Jane Ebere Akwani. I’m a long standing parent with LGSS Gwagwalada Abuja. I have 2 daughters currently in the school. I solemnly declare that the school has neither engaged nor prompted me to write a rebuttal on their behalf about the loss of a student. I’m doing this as a concerned parent who has had 3 children in the said school for as many as 8 years.

First I must express my deepest sympathy and condolences to the parents of little Kamzie who unfortunately passed away a few weeks ago. I am a mother and I wouldn’t wish this sort of pain on even my enemies. I understand her pain and grief and do share in it.

However, while her pain is still raw and open, one must not lose sight of the negative campaign against a school which I will vouch for in any circumstance.

Louisville Girls’ Secondary School is run by the Sisters of St. Louis whose vocation is education. They are spread far and wide in Nigeria and have an enviable track record which is evident in their products. LGSS Gwagwalada is not exempt. They are not careless and will not compromise or put into jeopardy the lives of the children entrusted in their care.

On the day the little child died, I happened to be in a meeting with the Principal on a totally unrelated issue. I witnessed the nurse come to complain to her about a child who wasn’t responding to treatment. Please note that the school has a standard sick bay with qualified resident nurses. They also have a standing arrangement with St Mary’s hospital Gwagwalada for more intensive cases. On more than one occasion, my children have come home on holidays to tell me they were admitted at the said hospital without notice to us their parents. Is that the right thing to do? Maybe, maybe not. But I know that if the school authorities cannot make on the spot decisions about the children, they may well close shop. Calling a parent each time a child presents with a symptom simply shows them off as incompetent and of course parents will abuse the sanity out of such a scenario.

Before we crucify and villify the school, we must ask ourselves these questions:

1. Was the child adequately treated before her death?
2: Will the authorities jeopardise the life of their ward?
3: How many children have been lost to negligence in their 11 years of existence
4: If it had been such an awful school, why was the late child brought to the school alongside her older sister?
4: Had there been any prior complaints by the older sister about healthcare in the school?
5. Had she never been ill in her 3 year stay in the school?

Every year on initial resumption, each child is expected to resume with specific medical test results. The parents also fill medical forms specifying disabilities or verified allergies to enable the school care for them adequately. Does this sound like a careless school? I don’t know if this piece of information is salient, but this was a 9yr old child sent off to boarding school.

The Federal Government has a reason for pegging JS1 admission at 11. Could this age have been a contributory factor? The school is to be blamed for this. The LGSS I know will not admit a child less than 10 by September of the new school year. Why did they do this time?

Sr Gertrude (the Principal) initially rejected the 9year old but the father and the older sister came to plead on her behalf and she capitulated based on the fact that she already had an older sibling in the school. (This is standard practice everywhere- siblings often create a soft landing for admission in most schools worldwide)

Louisville has a health protocol, they take the girls for the purposes of building strong, disciplined and resourceful young ladies and this includes minimum interference from outside. When the Sisters of St Louis adopt your children, they take full responsibility for the time they are in their charge and only reach out to parents when it is absolutely necessary. This also extends to health matters.

I was there when the Principal drove the child to the hospital by herself when they couldn’t get hold of the driver immediately. Sadly the child passed on in the hospital. I understand the mother’s pain but I do not accept this narrative which may have been inadvertently distorted by grief.

I don’t think the school is culpable. I don’t think they were negligent. I think it’s an unfortunate turn of events and must be borne with equanimity and divine succour.

I am a parent at Louisville and I stand with the school.

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