The reported cases of sexual assault and rape of students (both in the secondary and primary schools) by male teachers in Nasarawa State have increased in recent days.
While few cases have been reported, sources said most of the cases of sexual assault in schools go unreported.
Police recently paraded the vice principal of Government Secondary School Nasarawa for allegedly raping a 16-year-old female student and one primary school teacher for unlawful sexual intercourse with a male 13-year-old pupil.
Commissioner of Police, Abubakar Sadiq Bello, who paraded the suspects alongside another rapist and other criminals during his monthly press briefing, said, “One Yakubu Ibrahim, 45 years, the vice principal of Government Secondary School Nasarawa, was arrested for luring his student aged 16 to a hotel in Nasarawa town where he had canal knowledge of her. The suspect confessed to the crime.”
Among the suspects, he said, was a primary school teacher, one Abubakar Abdul, 30, arrested for having unlawful canal knowledge of a male pupil, a 13-year-old Abdullahi Jamilu outside the school premises in Sabon Gari ward, Doma LGA.
Police said further investigation revealed that Abdul, who also claimed to be a football coach, had sexual contacts allegedly with other kids.
The commissioner also said two people who “disguised as vigilantes,” robbed two students of Bingham University Karu on their way to the campus on December 12, 2016. They collected phones, handbags containing valuables and forcefully raped one.
The commissioner said one Haruna Aminu was also arrested for raping a 13-year-old girl in an uncompleted building in Lafia.
The police had earlier in November arrested two suspects for allegedly raping pupils. One Ibrahim Galadima, 25, of Angwan Liman, Lafia was arrested for allegedly defiling a five-year-old girl, while one Ali Dahiru, 25, of Adogi Lafia east development area was also arrested for allegedly defiling another five-years-old girl, the police said.
Just last month, the Emir of Lafia, Dr Isa Mustapha Agwai, summoned a council of chiefs meeting to proffer solution to the increased rape cases involving minors. Part of the resolution of the meeting was a decision of banning night hawking by girls from 6pm in Lafia.
The emir deployed his palace guards popularly known as ‘Dogarai’ to enforce the ban in motor parks, joints and other places where young girls sell food and table water. The guards were sighted with their whips patrolling the designated centers to enforce the ban. But three weeks after the commencement of the exercise the patrol has stopped.
A senior palace official, who prefers anonymity, said between November and December 2016, over 200 reported cases of rape and sodomy involving teenagers especially students were received in the palace and forwarded to relevant security agents for investigation.
He further revealed that the Dogarais’ patrol has been suspended because of some challenges facing the initial decision reached during the stakeholders meeting to ban young girls from hawking. He added that the enforcement is a collaborative exercise but was later left to the palace guards in the process.
The State Command of Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) paraded a 45-year-old cleric for sexually assaulting a 10-year-old male pupil in Lafia.
The Commandant, Lawan Bashir Kano, who disclosed this to newsmen in Lafia, said, “On 16th August 2016, the command through intelligent reports arrested Shahidu Suleh for allegedly sexually assaulting a supposed student (Almajiri) Okasha Ishaka, he brought from Kano for Islamic education. Through intelligence we were able to trace and pick him with the boy who he claimed to be educating. The boy told security agents that the man repeatedly had sex with him and threatened to kill him if he exposes him.”
However, in a brief interview with newsmen at Police CID office, the vice principal accused of raping his student said, “All that happened was a setup by some teachers in our school. I had a misunderstanding with some of my colleagues. I didn’t rape her; I was on my way to watch the European Champions League when I saw her coming out from the school compound. When I asked where she was going, she said she was going to her aunt’s house and I accompanied her to the said house at Angwan Fada from where I proceeded to the match viewing centre.
“Unknown to me, they had gathered dozens of people who pounced on me and beat me till I lost consciousness. I admitted to the offense because I was thoroughly beaten and forced into accepting that I raped her. I was first detained at the Civil Defense office, and later brought to the police. It was a misunderstanding between me and my principal that caused all these.”
On her part, the State Commissioner of Education, Hajiya Ramatu Ajuji Abubakar, in a telephone interview, said that the ministry has dismissed the vice principal and the teacher from work even before the conclusion of investigation and prosecution.
The commissioner said, “These are occasional things and they happen everywhere not only in Nasarawa State. The man has been sacked; which other punitive measures do you want us to give him again?
“I do not have the capacity to handle criminal case, this is a criminal matter and the police are doing their job. He has to go and face the criminal aspect while I handle the civil service aspect from here. We’ve sacked him already.”
The state Police Public Relation Officer, DSP Idrisu Kennedy, said the way some parents prefer to keep cases of rape and sodomy involving their children secret for fear of stigmatization smacks of ignorance. He said most parents and guardians preferred abandoning the cases because of stigmatization or some cultural reasons, thereby creating unnecessary hitches and compelling the police to drop the prosecution processes.
Kennedy appealed to religious leaders to intensify enlightenment campaigns and encourage the victims to reports cases of rape and other ungodly practices to the appropriate security operatives in order to minimize the scourge in the society.
He advised parents and guardians to monitor their wards to complement government and relevant security agencies’ effort in controlling the menace.
When contacted, the state chairman of Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) Jatau Francis Tete, said he was not aware of the incidents.
“We did not receive the reports from our LGA leadership. As a union, we have our stipulated rules and guidelines for handling such cases. We don’t play with these kinds of sinful practices. We have strict penalties for offenders. We are going to launch investigation into those incidents,” he said.