Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Administration has ordered the immediate suspension of two teachers of the FCT School for the Blind, Jabi, for allegedly raping and molesting some visually-impaired female students of the school.
A statement issued yesterday by FCTA Chief Press Secretary, Anthony Ogunleye, said the FCTA Permanent Secretary, Chinyeaka Ohaa, made the directive after paying an unscheduled visit to the school.
The two teachers suspended, pending the conclusion of investigations into the matter were Mr. Ilo Chukwuma and Ebenezer Olateju.
Ohaa also directed that Chukwuma, who was accommodated in the primary school quarters, should vacate the school within the week, stressing that both teachers should stay away as investigations continued.
The Permanent Secretary further directed the Director of Security Services in the FCTA, Adamu Gwary, to ensure full compliance and implementation of the directive.
“While we are working round the clock to give every physically-challenged student the best of education, we cannot have incidence like this, which can mar our progress and achievements,” Ohaa said.
He added that the authority could have dismissed the teachers outright, but wanted to be fair and follow due process so as to allow the committee to do its work and report back next week.
Ohaa said: “But let me assure parents that anyone found culpable in any of these incidences, not only in this school, will be dismissed and prosecuted. Our teachers, like Caesars wife, must be above board.”
Five students stepped forward to testify against Chukwuma before the bewildered permanent secretary, who was accompanied by other officers.
One of them alleged that Chukwuma, said to be in his 50s, had touched her inappropriately on the school bus while on an excursion to Kwali two weeks ago.
Another victim also claimed that the accused had always singled her out for condemnation after she had indicated that she would not condone his inappropriate action.
A staff of the Universal Basic Education Board, who accompanied Ohaa on the visit, Abdulrazaq Suraju Ademola, explained that already, a committee had been set up to investigate the issue and the reports have been forwarded to the Secretary of the Local Education Authority for onward report to the FCT UBEB.
But Olateju, in an exclusive chat with THISDAY, insisted on his innocence. He said the allegation of rape against him by one of the victims was found to be without substance by a committee set up by Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) last year.
The mother of two, who was undergoing rehabilitation at the School for the Blind, alleged that Olateju lured her to a hotel, after which he drugged and raped her.
Meanwhile, the students of the school have been repeatedly threatened by the Head Teacher of the school, Rasaki Suraju not to open up to the authority about the ongoing abuses in the school.
THISDAY gathered that Suraju yesterday threatened the students that he would withhold their certificates if they informed authorities about the serial abuses at the school.
The school head also gave an order that on no account should the students talk to anybody on the matter, including the permanent secretary.
He warned that he would not give them food if they defied his directive.