Hearing Of Case Involving Deeper Life School Student Continues At Uyo Magistrate Court

 

A hearing has begun at the Uyo Magistrate Court in the case of alleged molestation, starvation and negligence instituted by the parents of Don Davis Archibong, an 11-year-old student of the Deeper Life High School, Uyo against the school principal, some staff and two students.

Seven accused persons are facing four counts bordering on sexual molestation, maltreatment, starvation and negligence.

They include the school’s principal, Mrs Ndidi Solomon, Joseph Nseabasi, Akpan Johnson, Egor Wilson, and Joseph Ikenna.

Two minors, Shallom Ibukun and Ola Feyesetan were also brought to court.

The trial which was held behind closed doors while the media was barred from observing the proceedings, was adjourned to February 10.

On January 7, the same court had granted the Principal of Deeper Life High School Uyo and the six others bail in the sum of N500,000 each, before adjourning the case till January 20 for further hearing.

Alleged Molestation: Court Grants Bail To Deeper Life High School Principal, Six Others

 

The Magistrate’s Court sitting in Uyo, Akwa-Ibom State capital has granted the Principal of Deeper Life High School Uyo and six others bail in the sum of N500,000 each.

Also, two minors who were involved in the case of alleged sexual abuse and molestation of an eleven-year-old student of the school were released to their parents.

The school’s principal, Mrs. Ndidi Solomon, and others including Joseph Nseabasi, Akpan Johnson, Egor Wilson, Joseph Ikenna were arraigned on Thursday at the Magistrate’s Court in connection with the case.

READ ALSO: How I Was Shot, Got My Leg Amputated, Petitioner Tells Judicial Panel

When the case was read, counsel to the accused applied for bail for them, noting that the alleged offence is bailable.

The Magistrate in charge of the Court then granted all the accused person bail in the sum of N500,000 each while the two minors among them were released to their parents.

The case was then adjourned to 20th January 2021 for an accelerated hearing.

Speaking to Channels Television at the court premises, counsel to the petitioner, David Okokon said he is committed to ensuring that justice is served.

Counsel to the accused persons, however, declined comments on the case.

The presiding Magistrate warned all parties involved in the case to avoid unguarded media comments that could negatively affect the court process.

The accused persons are facing four charges bordering on sexual molestation, maltreatment, starvation, and negligence.

Channels Television correspondent present at the proceedings was prevented from taking visuals of the accused persons.

Alleged Molestation: Police Arraign Officials Of Deeper Life High School

High Court of Justice Complex, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.

 

Some officials of the Deeper Life High School in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state capital have been arraigned for their alleged role in the sexual molestation and forced starvation of an 11-year-old student of the school.

The police are arraigning the suspects following their investigation of the petition by the mother of the student, Mrs Deborah Okezie, against the school principal, Ndidi Solomon, and three others.

In her petition, Mrs Okezie had alleged that her son, a JSS 1 student of the school, was sexually molested, inhumanly treated, and starved in the school.

READ ALSO: Police Commence Investigation Into Case Involving Deeper Life School Pupil

She had raised an alarm in a viral social media video claiming that the abuse was perpetrated by some senior students of the school, sparking outrage and investigation by the police.

The school authorities also last week also vowed to ensure justice is done on the matter. The school’s Education Secretary, Mrs Thelma Malaka in a video stated that the school would not cover up the issue but ensure justice was served.

“We would like to restate that Deeper Life High School stands on the core values of integrity and uprightness and will not attempt to cover up any immoral act under any guise,” Malaka said in the video.

Meanwhile, journalists have been barred from covering the proceedings which is currently going on an High Court in Uyo.

Molestation: We Will Not Cover Up Any Immoral Act – Deeper Life High School

 

The management of the Deeper Life High School has reacted to the controversy trailing the molestation of a JSS 1 student of the school in Akwa Ibom State.

In a video released on Tuesday, the school’s Education Secretary, Mrs Thelma Malaka, stated that the school would not cover up the issue but ensure justice was served.

“Permit me to remind you that the Office of the Governor of Akwa Ibom State has taken over the investigation of the matter to ensure neutrality and a dispassionate outcome.

“We appreciate the concerted efforts of everyone who has shown support in the investigation thus far,” she said in the clip which lasted a few minutes.

Malaka added, “We reiterate that we will be transparent and that justice will not only be served, but it will also be seen by all that it has been served.

“We would like to restate that Deeper Life High School stands on the core values of integrity and uprightness and will not attempt to cover up any immoral act under any guise.”

 

Beaten For Bedwetting

The student’s mother, Mrs Deborah Okezie, had posted a video on Facebook where she alleged that her 11-year-old son was sexually abused by his seniors when he was moved from his hostel to another hostel originally meant for senior students.

Recounting his ordeal, the victim said he was subjected to abuses such that he was forced to starve for days, beaten for bedwetting, and also sent to a hostel for senior students where he was also maltreated.

A screenshot taken on December 28, 2020, shows Mrs Deborah Okezie saying she is being threatened and under pressure to drop the case.

 

The video resulted in the suspension of the principal of the school by the authorities while the Akwa Ibom state government has launched an investigation into the incident.

Highlighting the actions taken by the school authorities since the victim’s mother raised the alarm, Malaka confirmed the suspension of the principal, noting that the management immediately initiated an investigation into the matter.

But she stated that they have decided to restrain themselves from further comments because it would amount to sub judice since the Akwa Ibom State government had taken over the investigation.

 

Truth Will Prevail

“Considering the potential impact of this issue, especially on what we stand for, we are compelled to provide an earlier update before the final report by the government.

“The panel has sat, and we have presented staff members and students of our school who have been mentioned in this particular case all through the period of the investigation,” the education secretary revealed.

She further explained, “We believe that the government will reveal the final report once the investigation is concluded … as a parent myself, I do care about the mental and physical health of (name withheld) who has been at the centre of this issue.

“Despite the intriguing underpinning, we will continue to show our love to him within the limits permitted by his parents. We have unflinching confidence in our God to resolve the issue such that at the end, the truth will ultimately prevail.”

Mrs Thelma Malaka highlights the steps taken by the school authorities in a video released on December 29, 2020.

 

Malaka disclosed that the police authorities were also investigating the matter and the school had been invited to tell its side of the story.

She stated that the detailed interrogation was adjourned due to the holidays and was hopeful that a new date would be communicated as soon as possible by the police.

The school official asked Nigerians to be on the lookout for the final report from the appropriate authorities.

On Monday, Channels Television reported that the victim’s mother alleged threats and pressure from undisclosed quarters asking her to drop the case.

While she insisted on ensuring that justice was served in the case, she lamented that her son was frequently starved and beaten up by the senior students.

In the video, Okezie compared a picture of her son before and after he went to the boarding house, saying the child now looked malnourished.

Mother Of Student ‘Abused’ By Seniors Alleges Threat, Pressure To Drop Case

A screenshot taken on December 28, 2020 shows Mrs Deborah Okezie saying she is being threatened and under pressure to drop the case.

 

The mother of a student of the Deeper Life High School who was abused sexually has alleged threats and pressure from undisclosed quarters asking her to drop the case.

Mrs Deborah Okezie’s 11-year-old child was said to have been sexually molested by some senior students in the school located in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital.

She had posted a video on Facebook where she alleged that her son, a JSS1 student, was sexually abused by his seniors when he was moved from his hostel to another hostel originally meant for senior students.

Okezie noted that the boy was frequently starved and beaten up by the senior students and in the video, she compared a picture of her son before and after he went to the boarding house, stating that the child now looked malnourished.

The victim who recounted some of the abuses he was subjected to, alleged that he was forced to starve for days, beaten for bedwetting, and also sent to a hostel for senior students where he was also maltreated.

The video resulted in the suspension of the principal of the school by the authorities while the Akwa Ibom state government has launched an investigation into the incident.

Mrs Okezie had agreed to speak with Channels Television on the incident but later stopped picking calls from our correspondent over threats and pressure from undisclosed quarters.

The school which is located along the Idoro Road in Uyo is currently under lock and key.

In an interview with Channels Television, a sociologist at the University of Uyo, Dr Aniekan Brown, analysed the short-term and long-term psychological impact of the incident and the steps to be taken in the circumstance.

He said the ugly incident could discourage the victim and other children from going to school, adding that the long-term effects could mar the victim’s future if not properly managed.

Brown, who is also the coordinator of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Calabar Zone, commended the state government for setting up a panel to investigate the case.

He called for more vigilance by the management of schools to properly monitor the activities of students to prevent an occurrence of such an ugly incident.

The Deeper Life High School, which has 21 campuses across the country with its headquarters in Lagos, is owned by a Pentecostal church – Deeper Christian Life Ministry.