Ekiti State Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General, Mr. Olawale Fapohunda, has threatened to investigate and prosecute some teachers reported to have allegedly raped some female students in some secondary schools in the state.
Fapahunda, who expressed the state government’s concern at a meeting he held with the state Executive Council of the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) at the Ministry of Justice Academy, hinted that the planned investigation would be done in conjunction with Ekiti State Police Command.
The commissioner called for a meeting with the NUT to formally inform them of the ongoing joint investigations by his ministry and the state police command over allegations of sexual violence in schools.
He also expressed resentment over the incessant incidents of sexual molestations in secondary schools across the state.
He, however, revealed that preliminary investigations by his office showed that some of the members of NUT were raping their students in at least three secondary schools in the state.
Fapohunda, who stated that the establishment of the Sex Offenders Register in the state backed by the leadership provided by the First Lady, has created awareness among the population? He said this has resulted in an increase in complaints of sexual violence to his ministry.
He reminded the teachers of the zero tolerance policy of the Governor Kayode Fayemi administration for all forms of sexual violence, saying Ekiti State Gender Based Violence Prohibition Law 2019 was in force in the state and his office would aggressively prosecute teachers who violate the law.
The commissioner noted that by the provisions of that law no child under the age of 18 could give consent for any sexual activity and according to him, “having sex with an under 18 is rape.”
Fapohunda also decried the politicisation of the issue, saying he has been advised to tread carefully on the matter and possibly look the other way to avoid confrontation with teachers, because his party would need them for possible votes in the future.
“I find such reasoning unacceptable and deeply offensive. This is not about the All Progressives Congress (APC) or the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). It is simply despicable that anyone will play politics with the lives of our daughters. If our insistence that our daughters will not be raped will make us lose teachers votes then let it be so,” he said.
He stated that, “majority of teachers in the state are hard working, many working diligently under difficult conditions to ensure that their students excel. It is therefore important that the NUT take immediate and urgent action to identify the very few who are bringing the name of the union into disrepute.”
In his remarks, Ekiti State NUT Chairman, Comrade Samuel Olugbesan, described the commitment of the union to eradicating sexual violence in schools in the state.
Olugbesan said NUT is currently sponsoring a weekly radio programme where issues affecting teachers in the state are discussed. He, however, promised that the union would intensify its efforts on creating awareness among its members.
The chairman said he agreed with the observation of the commissioner that majority of the teachers in the state are hardworking and commitment to their professional code of ethics. He added that NUT would take urgent additional measures in responding to the situation.
Meanwhile, Ekiti State Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Mr. Foluso Daramola, has assured the general public that investigations have commenced into the allegations in conjunction with the office of the Attorney General.
He said at the end of the investigations, those found culpable would be dealt with in accordance with extant regulations.
“Proven cases of criminality shall be handed over to the appropriate authorities for prosecution in line with the laws of the land.
“Meanwhile, the general public is hereby assured of the Dr. Fayemi-led administration’s commitment to child rights protection, especially the Girl Child. This applies not only within the confines of our educational institutions, but in all the nooks and crannies of Ekiti State. Ekiti State Government will continue to do all within its means to ensure security and protection of the girl child,” he said.