FG raises probe panel into alleged killing, abuse of minors in FCT school 

THE Federal Government has inaugurated a 15-man special committee to investigate allegations of killings and sexual abuse of vulnerable minors at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) School for the Deaf, Kuje.

Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Arc Sonny Echono, inaugurated the panel on behalf of the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, on Tuesday in Abuja.

He recalled that a mother and a grandmother had come about three weeks ago with a child to the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu, appealing to him to intervene for her child to get justice in a case of abuse at a school belonging to FCT.

According to him, the mother of the victim said her son was sexually molested about five times and she had written to FCT authorities and many other organisations but had not received an appropriate response.

“She indicated that she got the information firsthand from her child that he has been abused severally. She mentioned about five times and that there were being carried from the school at night to a secret location where some of them are beaten and others killed and the flesh of those who are killed are roasted and they are forced to eat that flesh.

“They also take blood from some of them and pass it around and that all those involved actually molested other children that her son was not alone. The children were molested sexually, cases of sodomy, oral sex and all of that.

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“She said she reported to the school authority and there were being defensive and tried to cover up themselves,” he said.

The incident which was described in a more gory manner by the mother at the Freedom Radio, (Brekete Family Radio) in Abuja, had attracted huge national outcry.

Echono, therefore, warned members of the committee headed by the Chairman of Albino Foundation, Mr Jake Ekpele, that there must be no cover up, stressing that the committee comprising ministry officials, FCT officials and others from the private sector should get to the root of the matter.

He said the committee is to ascertain immediate and remote causes of the incident, whether the abuse took place and the scope and determine the culprits and their levels of involvement including appropriate sanctions.

Echono, also mandated the committee to ascertain the veracity of other claims such as murder, cannibalism, cultism, substance abuse, poor feeding and poor pastoral care.

He further urged the committee to assess the school environment in terms of securing the children, facilities, and child protection mechanism and general welfare of staff and students and make recommendations based on findings.

The committee was given two weeks within which to submit a report to the Federal Government for further action.

Echono, who noted the government was disturbed, saddened and angered at the weighty allegations, said if found to be true, then the nation was in trouble and “we have a serious problem in our hands.”

He said he had listened to the mother of the unfortunate child recount her horrific experience and that it would be a major indictment on members of the society if the allegations turned out to be true.

He said: “I expect every member of the committee to have an open mind to see the facts for themselves. You should also not be in self-denial because there is no doubt there is a problem in our school system.

“From my experience in the last one and half years, I have received some reports from a very few schools that we manage, the 104 Federal Government Colleges, for cases of abuses.

“Luckily, there have been very few but because we have a zero-tolerance to issues of abuse, we have taken very decisive measures even almost to the point of making mistakes as result of multiple dimension of allegations and those involved.

“Some times it is the teachers and under whose hands these children are placed that carry out the abuses. Some times it is amongst the students themselves- we have students-to-students abuses.

“At other times, it is the parents guardians of these children that perpetrate these abuses. And some times, it is even the external community, where sick and demented people carry out horrendous abuses on our children,” he said.

He cited the case of the late Osanya, a student of one of Federal Government Colleges, that was abused by her guardians and died in the process, saying the Federal government has commenced prosecution of those involved.

Echono, assured members of the committee that the report would be treated with the urgency it deserves.

Chairman of the committee, Jake Ekpele, pledged the commitment of the team to do a diligent job and would not disappoint the Federal Government.

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