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HomeProtect school children from bullying, rape, says HURIWA; urges...

Protect school children from bullying, rape, says HURIWA; urges FCT administration to shut down Abuja academy

FCT minister Mohammed: The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, has called on the Buhari government to take every step to ensure that school children are protected. It also tasked the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory to follow the good example of Lagos state government by shutting down indefinitely the Premiere Academy Abuja, where a female student was reportedly raped to death

The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, has called on the Buhari government to take every step to ensure that school children are protected. It also tasked the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory to follow the good example of Lagos state government by shutting down indefinitely the Premiere Academy Abuja, where a female student was reportedly raped to death

HURIWA’s call followed the shutting down of Dowen College Lagos by the state government over the death of a 12- year-old student, Sylvester Oromoni Junior.

The human rights group also called on the offices of the Federal Attorney General and that of the Minister of Education and the Lagos State’s Attorney General and Education Commission to jointly conduct transparent investigation into the murder of the student.

The 12-year-old Sylvester Oromoni Junior, a junior student of Dowen College, was allegedly murdered by suspected student-cultists in the school, for his resistance to be initiated into their cult.

The rights group said that the government must swing into action to unravel the cause of the boy’s death in order to assure the citizens and the World that school children in Nigeria are guaranteed their rights and “are protected from unwarranted bullying, torture, physical assaults, rape and murder by either their fellow students or management staff”.

HURIWA said this in a statement signed by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf.

In a related development, a store officer at the Federal Science and Technical College (FSTC), Otukpo, Benue State, has been suspended for allegedly raping a 16-year-old female student of the school.

With a student population of 1,193 students, FSTC Otukpo is one of the 104 unity schools established by the Nigerian government towards fostering national unity and cohesion amongst the numerous ethnic nationalities of the country.

The school’s management had suspended Ernest Esly, who is in his 50s, and evicted him from his residence in the staff quarters over the alleged rape of the SSS 3 student.

Some female students had in March reported that the girl (name withheld) sneaked out of the hostel at night and was seen being dropped the following morning by Mr Esly. They suspected she was into a sexual relationship with the store officer and that she had passed the night with him at his official quarters.

A  disciplinary committee which was set up by the school management and which was headed by the vice principal in charge of administration,  Mrs Agbor, had summoned the store officer, but he denied having an affair with the student, while the girl confessed to having sex with the store officer, in his presence.

Sources at the school, including students and teachers, had volunteered information that Mr Esly had a habit of using his access to food in the school’s store to lure female students into immoral relationships. This was corroborated by many of the students, who alleged that the store officer had made sexual advances at them.

A 14-year-old Senior Secondary School (SSS) 1 student of the school said she and three of her colleagues were on their way for their dinner one November 2020 evening when they met Mr Esly under a tree in the school compound.

“As we walked past Mr Ernest, he struck a conversation with us and began commenting about our breasts,” she recalled.

“He suddenly moved his hand across my shoulders to my breasts, forcing us to flee as I scrambled out of his arms,” she added.

A 16-year-old SSS 2 student also said she had a similar experience with Mr Esly.

“A group of about five of us ran into him while returning from the dining room. Then he began to make immoral comments about my body features,” the teenager said. “I told him that he shouldn’t be saying that as an adult but he became angry.”

When contacted, Mr. Esly refused to offer any response through the press.

“I am a civil servant; I can’t talk to the press. I don’t have anything to say. What happened was an internal affair; I don’t know why it got to PREMIUM TIMES. I don’t know what they (the Otukpo school authorities) are talking about.”

Commenting on the issue, the national president of the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Rhoda Tyoden, described it as “sexual exploitation” of students.

“Any sexual relationship between a teacher and a student is sexual exploitation,” Ms Tyoden said. “That is another form of gender-based violence. It is an abuse of power by the violator, who is a staffer of the college this time round.

“The store officer is sexually exploiting the schoolgirls and taking advantage of the fact that he is in a position of power and can intimidate them. It shouldn’t be condoned,” she said.

In school but not learning…..

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