Following the dispute generated over an “immoral act” the students of the school were involved in during the school’s participation in the World School Games at Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Chrisland Schools, Lagos State, has denied allegations that a 10-year-old primary six pupil was raped.
The female pupil (name with-held) was among the 76 pupils that represented the school at the event, which was held between March 8 and 14, 2022.
In a statement by a Member, Advisory Board, Chrisland Schools, Akin Fadeyi, titled, ‘Chrisland Children Remain Our Centre of Focus,’ declared that 71 of the pupils adhered strictly to the school’s standards.
“Within these 71, we kept our girls on the 11th floor and boys on the 4th floor to draw clear lines that respect moral boundaries.
“We were, however, compelled to engage with the parents of the remaining students who unfortunately got themselves involved in misconduct, and in accordance with our code of conduct processes, which are well known to the parents, we meted out measured reprimands to them to instil a sense of discipline and as deterrence to others.
“We are proud to reassure our stakeholders that no rape of anyone or the administration of a pregnancy test on any child took place on our watch. For emphasis, only a COVID post-travel test was conducted on the returning delegation of our students, in compliance with COVID-19 travel protocols at the Life Centre Medical Services on March 21, 2022, at School Hall, Opebi.
“This was through the nose swab test as consistent with COVID-19 health protocols. We trust that this can be verified at the source provided,” the statement added.
This declaration came as a result of the video clip of two pupils of the school were involved in what the school authority termed as ‘sexual misconduct’ was shared on Twitter by an unknown user.
In a letter written to the female student’s parents and signed by the school’s head teacher, G.I. Azike, stated that she was suspended over “sexual misconduct.”
It was gathered that the students were engaged in a game called ‘Truth or Dare,’ when the deed was done in the cover of the night.
“A full-scale investigation has been done and the parents of all culpable learners have been duly notified with the necessary punishment meted out on the learners.
“We cannot as a school condone such. Consequently, (the female victim) is hereby placed on indefinite suspension until you as the parents ensure that she is punished, adequately counselled and rehabilitated,” the letter read in part.
In a swift reaction, the student’s mother, in an 11-minute video clip released early Monday by a showbiz personality, Ubi Franklin, said the school management only informed her that her daughter kissed a student during a meeting.
The distressed mother said after the meeting with the management, she did not hear anything from the school until after three weeks when a teacher sent her a Zoom link inviting her for another meeting.
“We had that meeting (involving) board of directors. One particularly said his name is Akin. He led the meeting and began by saying if there is no sin, there won’t be forgiveness and was speaking in parable.
“I had to ask what they were discussing and he said they just wanted to do a follow-up if I had withdrawn my daughter’s phone and to check how she was doing and I said she’s fine.
“But he made a comment that ‘when it happened,’ and I asked what happened, and he asked if she didn’t tell me and I said no she didn’t. So, I started screaming at them to tell me what happened and they said no.
“So, we finished the meeting. The next day, a parent called me and said she needed to see me urgently. I had to go to her house and she showed me the video and said all the parents are aware,” she added.
She said that her immediately reaction was to call one of the school teachers, who did not respond to her calls but when the teacher eventually picked up, she denied knowledge of the incident.
The victim’s mother said she then decided to discipline her daughter in order to force her to talk.
She said, “As we were beating her, she pleaded to talk to me and said a teacher threatened her not to speak out. She narrated how it happened, how they abandoned them in the hotel, how the school left them and how she got into this thing that is happening now.
“They have been having meetings, sending delegates from their headquarters to have meetings with my daughter without my consent. Every day, when she is going to school, I will be forcing her to come outside. They took her to do a pregnancy test without us knowing and lied to us that they were taking her for a COVID test.
“Do they use blood samples or urine for COVID test? And I did not know until this thing came up. Because we started confronting them, they sent her a suspension letter. I am begging Nigerians to help me because Chrisland was trying to hide this issue and push us out of the way and my daughter was going psychologically insane.”
Meanwhile, Lagos state government said a full scale investigation had begun into the matter, stating that all Chrisland schools in the state had been shut down.
“In view of the allegations, we are committed to ensuring that adequate medical and psychosocial support is provided. This is to reassure members of the public of the state government’s commitment to safety and child protection, especially in ensuring that all child-centred institutions within the state formulate and implement policies and systems that are compliant with the Executive Order (NO.EO/AAO8 of 2016), Lagos State Safeguarding and Child Protection Programme.
“We also use this medium to remind the general public of the implications pertaining to engaging in any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a child, commits an offence and is liable to a custodial sentence of 14 years. This includes producing, distributing, receiving and possessing an image of child pornography.
“In the meantime, all Chrisland schools within Lagos State are hereby closed, pending further investigations,” the statement said in part.
In a statement, the state Commissioner of Police, Abiodun Alabi, released by the command’s spokesperson, SP Benjamin Hundeyin, also said the command had begun an investigation into the case.
He said, “The command has commenced investigations into the matter with a view to establishing the identities of the players in the video, the true incident in the video, the geographical location of the incident, the alleged threat to life against a student of the school and circumstances surrounding the alleged repeated pregnancy tests conducted on a student without parental consent.
“The command is equally taking cognizance of the cybercrime angle to the whole episode and would not hesitate to enlist the support of the Interpol should the need arise. For a holistic and unbiased investigation, the command shall be working with relevant ministries, departments, agencies and non-governmental organisations.”
A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Femi Falana, said, “The decision of the Lagos State Government to close down the school is commendable. A thorough and speedy investigation of the immoral act ought to be carried out with a view to sanctioning the teachers who failed to provide effective supervision of the pupils during the trip to the United Arab Emirates.
“In particular, the allegation of the mother that her daughter was subjected to pregnancy tests without parental consent should be referred to the police for investigation and possible prosecution,” he added.