The Akwa Ibom state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Ini Ememobong in his recent press release on the alleged molestation of an 11-year-old student of Deeper Life High School says investigation ordered by governor Udom Emmanuel last week had swung into action.
“The Commissioner had immediately swung into action by visiting the parents and the child who is the subject of the alleged infractions. She consequently invited the parents, the boy, school management, the accused students with their parents and named witnesses, to the Ministry of Education for a fact-finding meeting.” The statement read.
Intervention by the state government on the matter is apt and was expected to resolve the impasse. “Permit me to remind you that the Office of the Governor of Akwa Ibom State has taken over the investigation of the matter to ensure neutrality and a dispassionate outcome.’ Thelma Malaka, the school’s Education Secretary said.
But the press release by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy puts the investigation by the Commissioner for Education on hold as a result of pending inquiries by other agencies of government.
“While the investigation was on going, the Attorney General of the State notified the Commissioner of Education of the concurrent investigation of the same matter by the Police and the interest of several international Organizations like the United Nations Special rapporteur on Human Trafficking, Mirabelle Center, FIDA Akwa Ibom, Sexual and Gender-based Violence Response Unit of the Ministry of Justice, Akwa Ibom State among others. It was therefore advisable for the Commissioner for Education to hands off the investigation and allow the Police, which is the proper government agency to handle allegations of crime, to take over.”
The statement further revealed that ‘the medical report from the private hospital where the child had been taken for examination and treatment by his parents has been received, while the child has been taken for further medical investigations at the Agape Sexual referral Center, with the consent of the parents and all interested parties.”
It would be recalled that a parent of a JSS1 student of the Deeper Life High School, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Mrs Deborah Okezie had posted a video on Facebook where she alleged that her 11-year-old son was sexually abused by his seniors when he was moved from his hostel to another hostel originally meant for senior students.
Recounting his ordeal, the victim said he was subjected to abuses such that he was forced to starve for days, beaten for bedwetting, and also sent to a hostel for senior students where he was also maltreated.
The management of the Deeper Life High School has reacted to the allegation which has generated heat already. In a video released on Tuesday, the school’s Education Secretary, Mrs Thelma Malaka, stated that the school would not cover up the issue but ensure justice was served.
“We appreciate the concerted efforts of everyone who has shown support in the investigation thus far,” she said in the clip which lasted a few minutes.
Malaka added, “We reiterate that we will be transparent and that justice will not only be served, but it will also be seen by all that it has been served.
“We would like to restate that Deeper Life High School stands on the core values of integrity and uprightness and will not attempt to cover up any immoral act under any guise.”
Highlighting the actions taken by the school authorities since the victim’s mother raised the alarm, Malaka confirmed the suspension of the principal, noting that the management immediately initiated an investigation into the matter.
Akwa Ibom government in the press release of 30th December, 2020 recanted allegation of intimidation of victim, his parent or any concerned party in the issue.
“The State Government is committed to the revelation of the truth of the circumstance and is determined to prosecute anybody found culpable of any wrongdoing. At no time did the Commissioner for Education or any staff of the State Government, harass or intimidate the parent or the affected student, or anybody connected to the matter.
“We appeal to the public to exercise patience for a thorough investigation to be carried out by the Police and other relevant institutions on the matter. The State Government will upon receipt of the reports take necessary actions thereto.”