By: Alfred Saiki and Reuben Egbah,
A group under the aegis of Concerned Past Students of Stephens Children Home (COPASSTECH) has called on the Federal and State governments to look in to the activities of centers that take care of vulnerable children in the country.
Addressing members of the Press today at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Press Center in Jos, the Plateau state capital, the National Coordinator of COPASSTECH, Ado Nichodemus Baggibawa, shared harrowing experiences of what some of his colleagues experienced in one of such homes, Stephens Children Home, Abeokuta, Ogun state.
Ado Baggibawa, alleged that the Director of Stephen Children Home, Rev. Isaac Oluwole Newton-Wusu, which is an arm of the Voice of Christian Martyrs Nigeria, one of such centers to take care of vulnerable children, whose parents were killed in various crises across the Northern part of the country has derailed and is taking advantage of children in his care.
“These immoral events became possible through the nefarious activities of the Director in the School, Rev. Isaac Oluwole Newton-Wusu, who at a point derailed and decided to take undue advantage of the children of the center, committing unpardonable atrocities against some of us. In fact, the vulnerable children of the center were also not left out of the dastardly act”.
“It is on record that over 20 female students were sexually violated by the Director. Interestingly, some of them are here today and willing to testify on the horrific ordeal they experienced in the center. The male students on the other hand were subjected to dehumanizing and excruciating labour during construction of some structures which were budgeted and paid for by foreign sponsors”, Ado Baggibawa stated.
The National Coordinator said on several occasions, some of the Alumni of the school have met with the Director of the school with their complaints and discoveries but, the Director on the contrary is disseminating false impression that they are only but, sponsored to cripple his achievements.
“The Director has been and is still using his spontaneous wealth to buy his way and change the narratives in his favour”, Ado added.
On his call to the Federal and state governments, Ado said, “May I call on the Federal and state governments, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) including other relevant stakeholders to henceforth officially take it upon themselves to continuously monitor the activities of these centers in the country, knowing too well that while some of them are established based on genuine course, several of such places are put in place to selfishly perpetrate acts of personal aggrandizements.
“I want to also urge the Plateau state government to take this issue with all the seriousness it deserves considering the high number of its citizens languishing in the center.
“Credible investigations also revealed that Plateau state have the highest number of inmates in the center”.
Adding and Narrating her experience with Rev. Isaac Oluwole Newton-Wusu to journalists, a former student of the school that was present at the briefing, Deborah Bala, said, “I was sent to the school when I was 7 years old because, my father died in the year 2000.In the year 2010 when I was 12 years old, I was sick in school, so my mother called the Director to look after me. Upon my recovery from the illness, the Director sent for me to see him in his office.
“I got to his office and he then sent me to his inner room. On getting there he followed me and started holding me and making promises that he will take good care of me. He also said he would be sending money to my mother and he will give me anything I wanted. But, I resisted and just then there was a knock on the door, so I left.
“The second time he invited me he gave me a drug which he called Vitamin C and after which he asked me to go to the bath room and have a bath, which I objected to because, I had already had my bath but, he insisted. However, later he joined me in the bath room and that is all I could remember until he woke me up to go back to the hostel, though I was feeling hungry at that time, I was also feeling somehow in my stomach that was how I sensed it that something most have happened to me.
And that was not the last either because, after then he had sex with me like 3 to 4 more times, that is why when I got home I could not tell my mother about my experience, I only refused to go back to the school.
“The Director started abusing me in 2010 and I left the school in 2012. Right now I’m still a student hoping to write my WAEC soon”.