At Golden Sharon Nursery and Primary School (formerly Kingdom Sharon), located at Ijaba area of Ota, Ogun State, an incident occurred on Tuesday, November 26, 2013, that has created panic in the family of Mr. and Mrs. Johnson (not real name).
One of their twins, four-year-old Lydia (not real name), who attended the school, was defiled by a female teacher, Olajumoke Oyewole, in a fashion they suspected had ritualistic intent.
Lydia, who is a pupil of Nursery One with her twin brother, got home on Tuesday afternoon and started complaining of a nagging pain in her private part. But things she later revealed confounded her mother.
Saturday PUNCH decided not to reveal the real names of the victim and her parents because of the nature of the case.
The mother, who spoke with this correspondent on Thursday at Ota after a visit to the police station where the accused female teacher had been taken, said after Lydia came home after school, she began complaining consistently when she wanted to urinate.
She said, “I asked her what was wrong and she said, ‘stone.’ I thought she meant that somebody stoned her and I waved off the matter that she would be alright.
“But when the pain persisted and she kept complaining, I decided to check why she was feeling pain there. That was when I discovered a wound on her private part.
“I was alarmed and I asked her who did that to her. She immediately mentioned Aunty Jummy (the accused.) I asked what the teacher did to her and she said the lady dipped her finger in her private part and brought out a stone which she used to scratch her there.
“The lady is not her class teacher. She (Oyewole) teaches another class beside my daughter’s. I did not understand this and I quickly called my daughter’s class teacher on the phone to help investigate the issue. She said I should come the following day but I decided to go that same day.
“I reported the matter to the head of the school and while we were leaving, we went past the (accused’s) class. My daughter said, ‘Mummy come, this is where she did it. She sat on that chair and put me on her lap and used the stone.’ She pointed to the teacher’s chair in the classroom. The lady was not around at the time.”
According to the woman, who was clearly confused when she spoke with our correspondent, the way her daughter was defiled was strange. She said she had to take her daughter to the family clinic to conduct a test on the little girl.
Meanwhile, she had apprised her husband who is away at work in Benin, Edo State, of the incident. He instructed her to report the matter to the police as soon as possible.
“The doctor examined her and asked me to have a look at my daughter’s private part. She explained that apart from the wound from which my daughter was bleeding, her hymen had been torn. The doctor said only a state hospital could give a report on such test since it was suspected that a crime might have been committed,” the woman said.
The case was reported at the Onipanu Police Division, Ota, later.
The police were said to have taken the little girl to a state hospital nearby, where a test was done and the same confirmation was made about the defilement of the girl.
When the police went to arrest Oyewole, she denied committing any crime and resisted arrest. But the school owner advised her to go with the police.
A member of the victim’s family, who did not want the case to be treated with levity, informed the Children’s Anti-Corruption Initiative, a non-governmental organisation, concerned with the protection of children’s future.
In company with this correspondent, CACTI visited Onipanu Police Division to find out how investigation into the matter was going.
While the divisional police officer was not available at the time, a divisional crime officer, said Oyewole had been locked up in a cell.
“The teacher is in the cell. This is a serious matter that we are still investigating. We are still working on the case. She will probably be transferred to the Criminal Investigation Department in Abeokuta soon,” the police officer said.
While in the premises of the police station, the accused’s mother, with tears on her face, approached CACTI’s group and knelt down pleading with them to let the matter be settled.
But when asked if she had asked her daughter why she carried out such act on the little girl, she said she had not asked her.
The victim’s mother was asked whether there was any possibility that her daughter might be confused as to who did such a thing to her, she said she considered it but that it had become clear that it was Oyewole.
“The night of the incident, we woke her up in the middle of the night just to be sure, we asked who did it to her, she said, ‘Aunty Jummy’. The following morning, it was the same answer.
“When we got to the hospital, the doctors threatened her with injection to say who really did it. My daughter can faint at the sight of an injection. That is what she hates most in life. But she repeated the same name.”
CACTI’s Executive Secretary, Mr. Omololu Akinwande, said there was a high possibility that the teacher had been sent to perform the act in order to use the girl’s blood for ritual purpose.
He said, “What you must note is that the girl is not in the accused teacher’s class. She is also a twin and the strange object the teacher allegedly used is suspicious.
“We cannot rule out the possibility that some wicked people had connived with the teacher to get them something from a twin. This is why this case must not be swept under the carpet.
“It is just unfortunate that many schools in Nigeria are no longer safe for children. Government needs to make it compulsory for schools to put in place CCTV cameras in order to keep children safe. When people know they are being watched, they are not likely to try something bad with children in their care.”
Akinwale insisted that rape in Nigeria had gone beyond sexual desire, adding that many now indulge in it for ritual purposes.
The phone number of the proprietor of Golden Sharon Nursery and Primary School was switched off when an attempt was made to contact her on Thursday.
Saturday PUNCH learnt on Friday that members of the accused’s family have sought the help of community leaders in the area to appeal to the victim’s parentst to drop the case.
A member of the victim’s family who did not want to be named, also told this correspondent that the police at the Onipanu division have been making efforts to make the parents drop the case.
“They told the mother that she would be the one paying for the transportation of police and the accused from Ota to Abeokuta for the duration of the investigation and anytime they need to go to court. They just want to pressure them into dropping the case,” the relation said.
But the spokesperson of the Ogun State Police Command, Mr. Muyiwa Adejobi, has said that the police at the division did not have any power to stop the prosecution of the case.
“I have been briefed on the case and I have been told the accused is still in custody. The Commissioner of Police, Mr. Ikemefuna Okoye, has directed that the case be transferred to the state CID. The CID will take over the investigation of the case and justice will surely be done in the matter,” he said.
The proprietor of the school was also arrested by the police on Friday.