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Schools: Stakeholders Worry Over Increasing Cases Of Sexual Harassment, Defilement

In times past, the boarding school is a saving grace for parents especially those who desire qualitative education for their wards and had to send them off to schools outside their locality. In fact, some parents send their children to the boarding school to ensure they get trained to be independent and be able to stand on their own.

For parents whose jobs do not give them time to be available for their children, the boarding house was the solution as it stops the children from being exposed to vices and being taken advantage of sexually in the absence of their parents.

But this seems to be in the past as boarding houses across the country rather than being safe houses have become homes where students are exposed to all sort of vices and taken advantage of both sexually and emotionally. Indeed, the experiences of students living in boarding houses have made many parents to rethink their decisions, bringing to light the dangers children in boarding schools face even when they don›t tell their parents.

There had been cases of bullying, resulting in death, cultism and various forms of sexual immoralities.  But the issue has now taken a new dimension with teachers, who naturally are expected to see to the well being of these children becoming sexual predators who sexually abuse children under their care and threaten them not to say anything while the schools cover up even when such cases arise.

An example of such is the recent incident at the Federal Girls Government College in Oyo where students pointed fingers at male teachers who make it a habit to defile various girls in the school, infecting some with sexually transmitted diseases and even introducing some to abortion medications.

While the students at various times tried to call the attention of the school authorities, they alleged that they were not taken serious and were even asked to bring proof. One of the girls (name withheld) even said the teachers started ridiculing her publicly after she told her parents and they came to the school.

Many members of the alumni association of the school also confirm that there school has been a den for pedophiles for decades. But recently, the case of a 14- year old girl who a teacher started abusing sexually from age 12 gave the case the needed attention especially when her parents with collaboration with other parents of students in the school took up the case by writing a petition to the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), Oyo State chapter, asking the association to take over as advocates and ensure justice is not truncated.

The efforts of the parents for a boost two weeks ago when a teacher of the school, Alayoteti Oyebode, was arraigned on a one count charge bordering on having unlawful sexual intercourse with a 14-year- old student of the school following various reports of sexual molestation of students at the Federal Government Girls College, Oyo,

Alayoteti was arraigned by the Oyo state Police Command before the Oyo State family court sitting in Ibadan with a charge signed by CSP Funke Fawole, the Oyo Police Command O/C legal and prosecution.

The charge filed by the IPO, Inspector Afolabi Kehinde of the state CID, Iyaganku, Ibadan, read « That you Alayoteti Oyebode ‹M› between the month of November 2021 and May 2022 at the Federal Government Girls College, Oyo in the Family Court magisterial district did have unlawful sexual intercourse with one (name withheld), ‹F› age 14 years without her consent and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 34 of the Oyo State Child Rights Law, 2006.»

Alayoteti had pleaded not guilty to the charge and had asked him to be remanded at the Oyo state correctional center, Agodi custodial unit in Ibadan. But at the resumed hearing of the matter on August 4, the family court  ordered that Alayoteti  be remanded in Abolongo Correctional Center in Oyo town.

Alayoteti is just one of many pedophiles working in schools and having access to children. Stakeholders find distressing the surge of sexual abuse cases in boarding schools across Nigeria. They are of the belief that students need to stop carrying the burden of having to expect pedophiles and harassers in the school where they should feel protected.

Speaking on various complaints and allegations of continuous abuse of female students in the Federal Government Girls College, Oyo and other schools especially following the petition written NAWOJ Oyo State by concerned parents, the association has demanded that relevant authorities take immediate action and even calls for the suspension of the principal of the school, to allow thorough investigation in the matter.

NAWOJ speaking through its chairperson, Comrade Jadesola Ajibola, also called on the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu to immediately set up an investigation panel to look into the alleged girls› molestation, sexual harassment and all forms of abuse against girls in FGGC, Oyo and the Registrar of the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN), Professor Segun Ajiboye, who it described as an outstanding indigenous son of Oyo state, to investigate  the attitude of the registered teachers without delay and take appropriate action.

«We demand the immediate suspension of the principal to allow thorough investigation on the matter and the PTA chairman also should resign with immediate effect as the concerned parents claim they no longer have confidence in your leaderships as it protends more danger to the lives of the girls in the school.

«And as the alleged perpetrators are undoubtedly members of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT),  we call on Comrade Raji Oladimeji to look into this issue further. As an association, we will not relent on our oars until we get justice for the survivor of the recent abuse, a minor who was regularly sexually abused and violated and other victims in that school.

«Also, we ask that the Federal Government who owns the school to set up a committee and make Oyo NAWOJ one of the members to investigate the alleged sexual abuse perpetrated on these students and bring any erring staff to justice,» NAWOJ stated.

While condemning what is now called the sexual siege on FGGC Oyo and any form of violation against the rights of any child in the state in its totality, Oyo NAWOJ stated that it visited the school to meet with the management but wasn›t allowed into the school, adding that by now, it believes that the leadership of the school ought to have set up a panel to investigate the dangerous trend reported by concerned parents of the school.

The association commended the Oyo state police Command under the leadership of the new Commissioner of Police, CP Adebowale Williams (psc) for taking up the incident involving a 14 year-old girl who was sexually molested and abused by her teacher and urged the police command to ensure diligent prosecution of the matter.

NAWOJ also called on  Governor Seyi Makinde and the First Lady to support in ensuring justice for the victims and provide more protection for pupils and students in the state while warning others who are constantly engaging in the inhuman act to stop it immediately as the law will surely catch up with them in a short time

Oyo NAWOJ further urged parents to do more in ensuring the protection of their children at all times, adding that NAWOJ remains the voice for the voiceless in the country and will continue to respond to calls of such nature from other schools where some violators are still perpetrating such an act.

A representative of the concerned parents, Faniyan Nancy, stated that the molestation and defilement of girls in FCCG Oyo has been on for over a decade within the school but became worse under the current principal, adding that parents cannot continue to watch while the school sweeps cases under the carpet without considering the effect of this on the children.

Also speaking, another parent, Honourable Adewale Adebayo said the parents had to shout out as rather than diminish, cases of teachers in the school abusing students sexually continue to rise and many students have been destroyed psychologically.

«We cannot close our eyes to this menace  that can truncate the future of our children. Perpetrators must be made to face  the law especially since the management of the school had been covering up such incidents in the past few months and refusing to take disciplinary actions against the perpetrators when such cases are reported,» he added.

Is anything wrong with boarding schools? Many have expressed the fact that the boarding school system is not wrong but should be reviewed considering the increase in pedophiles and their activities in the society as a whole and the insecurity and moral decadence that now pervades the society.

A child welfare officer, Mabel Adigun stated that not all children have the emotional and psychological balance to be in boarding schools, adding that children should be assessed individually before being sent to a boarding facility. She further emphasised that there is a level of parenting that a child must have before being sent out so that such children can stand peer pressure or and speak out when they are being subjected to things they know are detrimental to their well being and future.

Also speaking, a psychologist, Adeife Kareem stated that the boarding houses are full and people that perpetrate evil against children get away with it due to failed parenting, adding that the fact that people have dropped their children in school or boarding facilities doesn›t translate to them not being in tune with what is going on with their children.

«Perpetrators get away with evil against children because we have many careless parents that believe once they have shipped their children off, it is enough. Many parents have failed in their duty and some do not have tenable reasons to dump their kids in the boarding house. They don’t have time to check on the children to know what they are going through or hold sincere conversations with them.

«Children that are already damaged or do not have a relationship with their parents easily fall prey to bullies and sexual predators. Children need to enjoy parental love and care to equip them for life as parents. So except it›s unavoidable, children should not be treated as burdens that are shipped to boarding schools,» he added.

Culled from Nigerian Tribue

Lex Community
Author: Lex Community

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