– The recent case of sexual abuse in a school in Abuja continues to generate reactions
– Two teachers in the school were recently accused of molesting female students of the school
– The Disability Rights Advocacy Center has expressed sadness over the news
The Disability Rights Advocacy Center (DRAC) has expressed sadness over by the viral news of the alleged shocking acts of sexual abuse in School for the Blind, Jabi, Abuja. Two teachers in the school were recently accused of molesting female students of the school.
DRAC in a statement signed by its Executive Director, Irene Ojiugo Patrick-Ogbogu and sent to the media on Tuesday, July 23, described the incident as “extremely disheartening and highly condemnable.” Patrick-Ogbogu noted that the incident is particularly sad considering the fact that the perpetrators who are supposed to play parental role to the students in their care, within the school environment, turned around to abuse their trust and violate their innocence. “This is exceedingly unacceptable and we strongly condemn these dastardly acts in unequivocal terms,” she said.
She continued: “As an organization committed to protecting the rights of persons with disabilities especially women and children, DRAC continues to work to end all forms of violence against children with disabilities in their learning environment. “To this end, we recently trained learners with disabilities in special/inclusive schools in the FCT as peer educators on Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) in order for them to enlighten and educate their peers on SGBV and how to report such.
“This was in response to our findings about the high rates of sexual abuse in special/inclusive schools in the FCT and the school authorities’ systematic and deliberate attempt to conceal these acts, protect the perpetrators and silence the victims.
“Nigeria is signatory to many international and regional treaties including the convention on the rights of persons with disabilities and the convention of the rights of the child and has gone further to domesticate the Child Rights Act and Disability Act which stipulate the best interest of children with disabilities to be of paramount consideration in all circumstances, and for the child to be given protection and care necessary for his/her well-being.
“The act further pushes for the right to dignity of the child and prohibits the physical, mental or emotional injury, abuse, neglect/maltreatment and sexual abuse of the child.” DRAC lamented that the recent case is reminiscent of the recent allegations of sexual abuse in School for the Deaf, Kuje. The organisation said the incidents, “indicate that despite their vulnerability, there are no child protection mechanisms and no deliberate attempt to ensure that these children study in a conducive learning environment protected from situations of harm.”
“The continued sexual abuse of children in special schools in the FCT by staff and non-staff alike is inhuman and must be stopped as it is in contravention of these laws which Nigeria is bound to uphold. “We hereby call on the government to account for the well-being and bodily integrity of all children with disabilities in special/inclusive schools, while urging education authorities and law enforcement agencies to take necessary steps to address the growing spate of school-related Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) and ensure the safety and protection of children with disabilities in special and inclusive schools in the FCT.
“DRAC will continue to support children with disabilities to be able to define, identify, resist and report any act of abuse they face, while sensitizing stakeholders on the provision of disability inclusive SRH/SGBV information and services that are tailored to meet the needs of women and girls with disabilities,” the statement concluded.