The police on Wednesday were unable to arraign seven suspects arrested over the alleged sexual abuse of 11-year-old student of the Deeper Life High School, Uyo, as the magistrate was not available to listen to the case.
The suspects include two minors, who are senior students of the school, accused of sexually abusing the victim in the school dormitory.
The others are staffers of the school, including a vice principal and a housemaster.
The police prosecutor refused to address the press as the suspects were put inside a bus and taken back to the police headquarters, Ikot Akpan Abia.
Fidelis Igwe, a lawyer to the Deeper Life School, told PREMIUM TIMES he was surprised at the attitude and actions of the police in the case.
“It is disgusting. There are proper ways things should be done,” Mr Igwe said.
“They have not told us anything, we don’t know their offence, we don’t know the charges. Nobody has shown us anything. They told us they were doing investigations, what’s the result of the investigations, what have you got? They have not shown us anything.”
The lawyer said the persons arrested and detained by the police have the constitutional rights to know what offence they are accused of.
“Even the petition written against the Deeper Life High School has not been shown to them (the school authorities) up till now,” the lawyer said.
David Okokon, a lawyer to the victim’s parents, attributed the inability to arraign the suspects to “lack of adequate coordination between the police and the judiciary”.
Mr Okokon, however, said the police should be commended for “swift response”, for bringing the suspects to court without delay.
The victim’s mother, Deborah Archibong, said some senior students of the Deeper Life High School sexually abused her son when the school authorities switched him from his dormitory to another dormitory filled with senior students.
“They will remove his boxer and push their legs and hands into his anus,” Mrs Archibong said in a video which has gone viral on Facebook and Twitter.
“Look at a child I sent to school, he came back with a broken anus,” she added.
Mrs Archibong said her son was frequently starved and beaten up by the senior students.
The Deeper Life High School is owned by a Pentecostal church, The Deeper Christian Life Ministry.
The school trended on Twitter a few days ago over the case, with several Nigerians calling on William Kumuyi, a pastor and founder of The Deeper Christian Life Ministry, to ensure that the victim gets justice.
“We will like to state 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,” Thelma Malaka, the school’s education secretary, who spoke through a video uploaded on Twitter, said of the sexual abuse allegation.
“We have unflinching confidence in our God to resolve the issue such that at the end the truth will ultimately prevail,” she said.
The school suspended the principal of the embattled Uyo campus and launched an investigation.
Credit: PREMIUM TIMES