A civil rights lawyer says there is a threat to evict the family from the community for reporting the child case to the police.
By Cletus Ukpong
While the public outcry over the alleged sexual abuse of an 11-year-old boy at Deeper Life High School, Uyo, is yet to fizzle out, another Akwa Ibom school is enmeshed in a child sexual abuse case.
The latest case involves a three-year-old girl whose mum discovered, last week, her underwear was soaked with blood when she returned from school – Awin International Schools – in Ikono, about 32 kilometre from Uyo, the state capital.
The victim is in the nursery section of the school which also has sections for primary and secondary schools.
“My daughter went to school on Wednesday, 13 January, in the morning, nothing happened to her. When my daughter came back from school, I put water (in a bucket) and wanted to bathe her immediately they dropped her at my shop. I removed her knicker, I saw blood. I removed the pant, I saw blood. The pant was torn. I shouted and asked her, ‘mummy, what happened to you?’ She said it was aunty that chucked her,” the victim’s mother, Dorathy Alphonsus, told PREMIUM TIMES, Thursday afternoon, at her lawyer’s office in Uyo.
“I checked her private part, a big wound is there,” she said.
Mrs Alphonsus and her husband, Iniobong, were at the lawyer’s office to seek legal aid over their daughter’s case. They looked frightened and helpless, when a PREMIUM TIMES’ reporter met with them.
Their daughter appeared restless. She cried intermittently.
A police medical form filled by a doctor at the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital confirmed the girl has been sexually abused.
From the doctor’s report, the girl told her mum that a pen was forcefully inserted into her vagina by her class teacher.
The police in Uyo arrested some of the school officials and a man, said to be the landlord to the Alphonsus, who drove the victim from school and handed her over to the mum, before it was discovered that she was sexually abused, PREMIUM TIMES learnt.
Some of the arrested persons were, however, said to have been released by the police.
The Alphonsus said they are under pressure to withdraw the case from the police.
Chris Ekpo, a civil rights lawyer Uyo, is offering free legal services to the victim and her parents.
Mr Ekpo said there was a threat to evict the family from the community where they are living in Ikono, for reporting the case to the police.
The principal of Awin International Schools declined to comment on the case when PREMIUM TIMES contacted him on phone.
“Please I am not in the position to speak (on the case), you can get to the police station and find out (what happened),” he said.
The principal later called back our reporter to say, “The head teacher is a better person for you to speak with because it happened in the nursery section, not in the secondary section.”
The police spokesperson in Akwa Ibom, Odiko MacDon, said he was not aware of the case.
532 sexual assault cases treated in one centre in three years
A magistrate’s court on Wednesday commenced trial in the alleged sexual abuse of 11-year-old boy in the Deeper Life High School, Uyo.
The victim was said to have been abused by two senior students of the school when he was switched from his dormitory to another filled with senior students.
The two students, both of them 13 years old, and five officials of the school, including the suspended principal, have pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Also, a 23-year-old man, Iniobong Moses, was on Wednesday sentenced to life imprisonment by a State High Court in Uyo for raping his three-year-old step-daughter.
The judge rejected the claims by the convicted paedophile that he acted under the influence of alcohol.
The judge said Mr Moses did not deserve to walk freely on Nigerian soil and breathe the air of freedom meant for decent members of the society.
Agape Sexual Assault Referral Centre, Akwa Ibom State, told PREMIUM TIMES, early this month, they have treated 532 sexual assault cases in the past three years.
Ten of the victims were boys, the centre said.
The number is sure to be higher than that when cases, both reported and unreported, in other places in the state are taken into consideration.