September 25, 2022

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Kaduna shuts school over defilement of disabled minor

The Kaduna State Government has ordered the immediate closure of Ffad Goshen Academy, Gumei, along Zonkwa road, Kachia, in the Kachia Local Government Area of the state following an alleged defilement of a four-year-old girl living with hearing and speech impairments.

The physically challenged girl was said to have been allegedly violated within the school premises and the proprietress, Mrs. Rebecca Barde, wanted a cover-up because she works with the government house and is “very powerful” according to the girl’s father, Mr. Tyinmvak Musa.

The prime suspect of the heinous act was said to be the school driver who is now cooling off in police custody.

Meanwhile, the state Commissioner for Human Services and Social Development, Hijaya Hafsat Baba, who announced the closure of the school in Kaduna on Thursday, said the measure was to allow proper investigation into the circumstances surrounding the defilement of the disabled girl.

According to the commissioner, the state government would bear the cost of the correctional surgery following the defilement of the girl.

She expressed sadness over the incident because of the “circumstances of the girl”.

The commissioner said, “We felt bad because of the circumstances of the child. The girl cannot speak or hear. We saw that she was truly severely damaged. We have gone to the hospital and they would undergo corrective surgery.

“The government of Kaduna State will take responsibility for the surgery because she is our girl. The school has been closed down because it is still under investigation. That school will remain closed until all investigations are concluded and until we get clearance from the court because that girl deserves justice and that is what we are going to do.

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“We have laws in place and we are implementing these laws. I believe the law will take its course and since security agencies are already investigating the matter, whoever is responsible will be fished out. But in the mean time, we are asking the proprietress and staff of the school to refrain from attempting to reopen the school until the girl gets justice.”

While narrating his ordeal, Musa, who said the physically challenged girl was his only daughter and desired to learn how  to “write” despite her disability, said the incident happened on June 10, 2023. He called for justice.

Musa noted that since the incident occurred, the proprietress of the school, who was said to be working at government house, had yet to visit the family.

According to him, the proprietress said sympathising with the family over “our daughter’s  predicament will mean her accepting that the girl was violated in her school.”

He noted that even an invitation from the police to cover for the amicable settlement of the case was rebuffed by her (proprietress).

Musa said, “My daughter is hearing and speech impaired but because she was eager to learn how to write, that was why we enrolled her in school so that she could learn.

“On Friday, June 10, I personally put her in the school bus with about three other children in the vehicle around 6:30am that fateful day. When we did not see her around 12pm, her mother was disturbed. However,  around 2pm, the school bus returned and parked in front of our shop. My wife went to the bus to receive our daughter.

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“When I saw the girl, I knew all was not well with her. When I carried her from the mother, she was touching her lower abdomen and ‘bombom’ demonstrating how she was slapped and penetrated by someone. Since she was just coming from school, we were eager to know who must have done that to her in the school.

“We tried to give her food but she refused to sleep. She then slept after a while. Amazingly, when she woke up, she rushed outside to urinate but she urinated on her body and that got me worried because she had never done that before.

“It was when my wife removed her pant and saw blood stain that it dawned on us that someone had capitalised on her condition to defile her. That was how we managed through that night. Then we realised it was long before day break.”

He added, “The following day, which was Saturday, June 11, we took her to a hospital where a doctor confirmed she was penetrated. As at that time, the doctor was trying to push back her womb inside. The girl was groaning, shouting and crying.

“Tears rolled down freely on our cheeks as we were referred to the General Hospital, Kachia, where another doctor confirmed absent of hymen (loss of virginity). The doctor prescribed drugs for us and recommended six tests. That was on Sunday, June 12.

“As we were returning from the General Hospital, Kachia, we went straight to the house of the proprietress of the school, Mrs Rebecca Barde, who claimed to be so powerful because she is working in government house where my daughter was defiled.

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“She collected my number and told me that she would get back to us. Along the line, we were shuttling between the school and hospital. But, when we saw that we were not making progress, we then involved the Police.

“She was not feeling concerned at all. She didn’t even border to check on the girl. Police then swung into action and arrested three staff of the school – the head teacher, our daughter’s class teacher and the school bus driver. The school bus driver later turned out as prime suspect.”

Also speaking, a Kaduna-based lawyer and rights activists, Bukola Ajao, said while taking briefs from the physically challenged girl, “She described how someone slapped her and used hand to cover her mouth and had sexual intercourse with her.”

She added that she was following up the case so as to ensure that justice was served on the culprit, noting that the only suspect with the state police command was the school driver.

“We met a Deputy Commissioner of Police who referred us back to the Gender Unit. The matter has been referred to the Legal Department. The only suspect we have in the police custody is the school driver,” she said.