By Felix Khanoba
The Federal Government has inaugurated a committee to investigate allegations of sexual abuse of vulnerable children at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) School for the Deaf, Kuje, Abuja.
Inaugurating the 15-member committee on behalf of the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu in Abuja on Monday, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Arch. Sonny Echono, expressed anger over the alleged offences.
“I am disturbed, saddened and even angered at the alleged offences. If the allegations are proven true, then we are in trouble and we have a serious problem in our hands. If again they are not true, then it will be very unfortunate for anyone to have formulated such a tale and made such harrowing and gruesome allegations,” the Permanent Secretary said.
While charging the committee to do a thorough job to bring out the truth and recommend appropriate sanctions and measures to prevent reoccurrence of such acts, Echono said the Ministry would not hesitate to treat any recommendation with utmost speed.
Earlier, the chairman of the committee, Mr Jake Eppele of the Albino Foundation, commended the Ministry for the high level of transparency it has put in place in handling the issue, vowing to do everything legitimately possible to unearth what happened in the school.
“We will ensure there is no with-hunt, and we will also make sure his (the affected student) future is not jeopardised,” he said.
The committee, whose membership is drawn from government and civil society organisations, has two weeks to submit its report.
The committee’s terms of reference include ascertain immediate and remote causes of the incident; ascertain whether abuse took place and the scope and determined culprits and their involvement.
Others are assess the school environment in terms of security, facilities and child protection mechanism and general welfare of staff and students and make recommendations based on findings.
The AUTHORITY reports that the alleged issues of sexual abuse, cultism, occultic acts and other ritual practices in the school were raised by a woman, who said her son became a victim while in the school.