HURIWA urges House of Reps to investigate rape allegations – Source
By Akinwale Kasali
There has been public outcry, protests and demonstrations over the delay in the investigation into the alleged rape of 14-year-old Keren Happuch Aondodoo Akphagher, a student at Premiere Academy Boarding School, Lugbe, Abuja.
Rights Group, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, decried the delay in the commencement of the public hearing by the House of Representatives. He urges the Chamber to unravel the circumstances that led to his alleged rape and eventual death.
It was collected from a medical report released by the Queen Clinic where Keren died on June 22, 2021 after the condom left inside her by a ‘killer-rapist’ led to sepsis, which caused her blood sugar levels to spike, compromised his immunity and led to his death from hyperglycemia.
In a motion presented by the Hon. Mark Gbilah on the floor of the House of Representatives On December 7, 2021, the House decided to hold an inquest public hearing into the rape and death of Keren.
He also ordered the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba to carry out a DNA test for all male staff at the said school in Lugbe, Abuja and walk them with the dead sperm found in the urine from Keren.
Although the school has denied allegations that the teenager was raped by anyone on school premises, sadly more than two months after the far-reaching resolutions were made, the case is gradually becoming a forgotten problem.
However, HURIWA, in a statement signed by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, lamented that the House of Representatives seems to have developed cold feet on the application or implementation of its own resolutions.
The Human Rights Advocacy Group said, “We appreciate the ambitious resolutions of the House of Representatives to uncover the alleged rape and death of Keren-Happuch.
“But the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) is concerned that eight weeks after these resolutions were passed, the House of Representatives appears to have developed a cold streak.
“It’s certainly not good for the image of green rooms. This apparent reluctance and delays can only accomplish one thing: help the alleged killer-rapist buy more time and escape justice,” the rights group said.
“In case the significance of their resolution to hold an investigative public hearing on the matter is lost on lawmakers, HURIWA wishes to stress that a public hearing will help to remind school leadership across Nigeria and others. beyond that they are responsible for whatever happens to a child entrusted to their care in accordance with the principle in loco parentis.
“It will further cleanse the Aegean stable and seep stench into the global community that Nigeria as a sovereign nation does not care for her children.
“The House of Representatives Public Inquiry Hearing will also demonstrate the determination of the Green Chambers to help curb the alarming increase in sexual violence and in particular child sexual abuse in Nigeria.
“They cannot afford to delay any longer as it will send the wrong message to the Nigerian people that they are serious about dealing with this societal malaise,” HURIWA said.
The advocacy group called on the House to urge the Inspector General of Police to protect the executive director of the Men Against Rape Foundation and leader of the Coalition of Gender Based Violence Responders, Lemmy Ughegbe, whose life it says has been threatened for demanding justice. for Keren-Happuch.
“All security agencies and people of goodwill must continually support the work that Ughegbe has done to address sexual and gender-based violence in general and provide access to justice for victims, survivors and their families.
HURIWA said he was troubled by the neglect facing the issue as Ministers of the Federal Capital Territory, Women’s Affairs and Education, Pauline Tallen and Adamu Adamu, did not speak or take any action. to ensure the culprit is found, brought to justice, and the school is investigated for their complicity leading to Keren’s rape and death.
It should be recalled that the Coalition of Gender Based Violence Responders led by the Executive Director of Men Against Rape Foundation (MARF), Lemmy Ughegbe, embarked on a protest march to the National Assembly with Keren’s mother, Vivien Vihimga Akphagher and other family members.
Ughegbe had accused the FCT, Education and Women’s Affairs ministers of a conspiracy of silence and inaction, which he said “incites rape and pedophilia, emboldens rapists and pedophiles and makes schools and society dangerous for our children and vulnerable people”.
“When the grandson of a political elite was allegedly beaten to death by his teacher at a school in Kwali, all these indolent ministers took to the story on social media within minutes and took action immediately, but five months after Keren died from health complications and despite our correspondence with them, they have been in a conspiracy of silence and inaction,” Ughegbe lamented.
He said by their inaction, “they have shown that all they care about is serving political elites and their families. They acted like Keren’s life didn’t matter.
“But we will continue to call them out for the ineffectual and hypocritical public officials that they are,” he said.
In his address to the protesters, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, who was represented by Hon. Mark Gbilah, said the entire parliament was saddened by the sad circumstances that led to Keren’s death, saying no school was above the law.
According to Gbilah, “The House is in session, but when we were informed that you were here for a peaceful protest, the Speaker asked me to come and address you.
“So I am here at his request. Yesterday I was able to lay the motion on the floor of the house and I made very ambitious demands and what you said about DNA testing is specifically listed as a requirement and the police have been instructed to open a investigation through the Inspector General of Police into this matter.
“They were asked to do a DNA test on everyone in this school. They informed me that the sperm have been preserved so that we know who is responsible for this act.
“We will also hold a public inquiry hearing and the minister for women’s affairs, the minister for the FCT, the inspector general of police, the minister for education and the education authority will be invited.
“It’s a shame that our children can no longer be safe and it’s completely unacceptable. But let me assure you that for some of us, when we start something, we see it through to the end. So please, we’ll need the news report where the police confirmed that Keren was raped.
“It will be useful for the investigation committee. I assure you that justice will be served and we will find the culprit.
On Tuesday, December 7, 2021, Hon Gbilah proposed a motion to investigate the school, which was passed by the House of Representatives.
The motion entitled “Alleged Rape and Murder of Miss Keren–Happuch Aondodoo Akpagher, Age 14: Hon. Mark Terseer Gbillah:
“The Chamber notes the reported death of Miss Keren-Happuch Aondodoo Akpagher, a 14-year-old SS1 boarding student at Premiere Academy, Lugbe, Abuja, who was allegedly raped and ultimately died on 22 June 2021 from medical complications at following a rape; Also notes that Keren would have fallen ill on June 16, 2021, without adequate medical care from Premiere Academy, until the mother took her to a hospital in Wuse Zone 6 Abuja on June 19, 2021 where she finally died three days later;
“Worried that the medical examination carried out before his death revealed a condom lodged in his private part which presented a milky effusion with the presence of dead sperm in the fluid which had caused an infection which had turned into sepsis;
“Alarmed by Premiere Academy’s reluctance to uncover the truth of Keren’s death and the management’s media denial of prior cases of sexual harassment of students at the institution contrary to documentary evidence;
“Also alarmed at the lack of a proactive and thorough investigation by the Nigerian Police even after formal correspondence with the Police by the deceased family’s lawyers and Amnesty International’s allegations of harassment and threat to the life of the mother of Keren, Vivien Akpagher, her family and the leader of the Coalition of Gender–Based Violence Responders and her family during their public campaigns and advocacy demanding justice for Keren;
“I am disturbed that the world recently celebrated the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on November 25, 2021 with the theme ‘Orange the World:
“End violence against women now! which marked the launch of the 16-day United to End Violence against Women campaign from November 25, 2021 to December 10, 2021, the Nigerian authorities do not appear to recognize their obligation to adopt and implement implement appropriate measures to ensure that women and girls are protected from all forms of violence, including rape and sexual harassment, in view of the nation’s ratification of several national, regional and international protocols and charters on women’s rights, ending violence against women and other human rights laws, including section 34 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended ) which guarantees that no Nigerian shall be subjected to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment.
“Resolves to: (i) Urge the Nigerian Police to fully investigate the mysteries surrounding Keren’s death, allegations of harassment and threat to the life of Keren’s family and the leader of an anti-violence coalition sexist and his family and to complete a DNA test, recover sperm and test Premiere Academy staff to identify anyone responsible and bring them to justice;
“(ii) mandate the Women’s Affairs, Human Rights and Police Affairs Commissions to invite stakeholders to investigate the following:
a) Circumstances surrounding the death of Keren-Happuch Aondodoo Akpagher; (b) allegations of the Nigerian police’s reluctance to open an investigation into Keren’s death; (c) allegations of harassment and threats to the life of Keren’s family and the leader of an NGO and his family; d) Previous cases of sexual harassment at Premiere Academy Abuja; e) Other incidents of violence against women in Nigeria; (f) probable failures of other relevant agencies dealing with the incident and report within six (6) weeks for further legislative action;
“(iii) observe a minute’s silence in honor of Miss Keren-Happuch Aondodoo Akpagher and other victims of violence against women in Nigeria.”