By Our Correspondent
The Citizens Advocacy for Social & Economic Rights (CASER) has condemned the rape and subsequent death of Karen-Happuch, a female boarding student of Premier Academy, Lugbe, Abuja.
In a press statement signed by the Executive Director of CASER, Frank Tietie, the group called for an immediate review into the provisions of the Child’s Rights Act and a procurement of Court Order to immediately shut down Premier Academy Lugbe.
According to CASER, the closure of the school should remain in place until the authorities are satisfied that the school has put policies and measures in place that will protect its students and prevent a reoccurrence of such grave sexual offences.
Lamenting on an attempt to conceal the gravity of attack on the girl that was in its custody, the group noted that under the legal principles of in ‘loco parentis and occupier’s liability’, the school is expected to take full responsibility for what happened to the girl-child that was under its custody.
“The said Karen-Happuch was allegedly raped while she was in the custody of her School, Premier Academy, Lugbe, Abuja.
“Sadly, the school has been engaged in prevarications and public relations stunts to the chagrin of many members of the Nigerian public,” CASER said.
Tietie further decried an alleged possible compromise and professional incompetence on the part of the Federal Capital Territory Police Command, as he called on the Inspector General of Police to set up a high-powered investigative team to unmask the persons in the school who were responsible for the rape of the girl-child, why the school concealed the rape and failed to immediately take appropriate actions to save the life of the girl.
“The closure of Premier Academy, Lugbe in the wake of the rape and death of one of its female student, owing to a manifest dereliction of the responsibility to protect the students by the school’s management, will not only to serve as a wake-up call to all other proprietors of schools who fail to realise the extent of their responsibility to protect and be accountable for the students under their care but will also emphasize the required high standards of child protection under the Nigerian educational system,” the group added.
He however noted that the group is keeping close watch on events to ensure that the culprits are made to face the law.
“This trend of rape and sexual molestation of girls in educational institutions in Nigeria, now including secondary schools is becoming rife because of societal and institutional silence which appears to have kept the scourge unaddressed with the required and expected tough stance of Government against rape and other sexual offences.
“CASER is therefore closely watching the development on the response of Government and hopes that the authorities will take immediate action on demanded, including the immediate shut down of Premier Academy, Lugbe and the setting up of an independent, inter-agency panel of inquiry,” CASER stated.