There was pandemonium on Wednesday, January 31, after a fight broke out among some cult groups said to be students of Community Senior Grammar School and Ikotun High School at Ikotun in the Alimosho Local Government Area of Lagos State.
The incident happened as a result of a long-time rivalry between two groups in the schools.
The fight which started during the closing hour was said to have caused some policemen nearby to intervene to restore calm.
On sighting the officers, the troublemakers started to hurl dangerous objects at them.
The situation however degenerated when the officers called for reinforcement and after that shot teargas canisters into the premises of the school to disperse the groups.
It was gathered that the incident led to a stampede as some of the students sustained varying degrees of injuries, while those said to be asthmatic reportedly slumped in the process.
Speaking to our correspondent, a parent who identified herself simply as Bimbo said about 10 students were hospitalised.
She said, “The quarrel between some of the students of both schools started immediately when the school closed. One of the boys took a bottle and broke it and the police officers close to the school saw that they quickly wanted to address the issue but the Community Senior Grammar School students started throwing stones and planks at them.
“The police then retreated towards the main road. On getting there, they met another patrol van coming, alerted them and went back into the school. But the mistake they made was throwing teargas inside the school compound because they had to force their way into the compound with the patrol van.
“The moment they shot the teargas and started shooting into the air, the students started running and that caused a stampede, and you know some of the students have health challenges. The teargas affected them and some of them started to collapse while some got injured during the stampede. One of them is asthmatic.”
She added that the affected students were rushed to a nearby health centre before being transferred to Igando General Hospital.
In a video sighted by our correspondent, one of the students was lying on the bare floor while she was placed on oxygen.
Another eyewitness who craved not to be named said some students were arrested and locked up at the Ikotun Police Station.
“So many innocent students were picked and locked up until the following day when we had to go and protest at the police station because we know some innocent students who were picked while the troublemakers escaped because they are smart,” the eyewitness said.
While noting that some of the students have been discharged,
Israel Olusegun, who has two children in the school, said he had withdrawn them due to the incident.
He also urged the government to relocate one of the schools instead of leaving them on the same premises.
He said, “The students of Community Grammar School are very tough. There was a time when the parents were contemplating that (relocation) for peace to reign.
“This is not the first time this is happening. Sometimes, they quarrel with students of the Technical School close to them and sometimes when they start, the teachers and even the principal would run away. We have been hearing about cultism in the school. This incident is one of the unfortunate things that have been happening in the school,” he added.
Our correspondent gathered that some of the injured victims had been discharged while the arrested ones were released the following day.
The state Commissioner for Information, Gbenga Omotoso, said an investigation was ongoing to unravel the cause of the incident.
“The Commissioner for Education has visited the school. Investigation is going on into the matter.”