Rivers State Government and the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) have debunked reports of teachers sexually abusing 50 pupils in Rivers State.
The State Commissioner for Education, Prof Kaniye Ebeku, described the report as false with malicious intent to tarnish the image of the state government.
The report, which was credited to the International Federation of Women Lawyers, quoted the Chairperson of FIDA in Rivers State, Adata Bio-Briggs, as saying that between January and April 2022, over 50 students were defiled by teachers in the state and had been reportedly charged to court.
The report claimed that the cases were recorded in Ahoada, Elelenwo and Rumuokuta areas of the state and quoted the FIDA chairperson as describing the development as disheartening.
But addressing stakeholders, including school heads and principals in a meeting in Port Harcourt yesterday, the FIDA chairperson, clarified that only five out of the 50 defilement cases were carried out by teachers, stressing that the 45 other cases were by caregivers, including pastors, neighbours, parents, among others.
She said: “We said we have 50 defilement matters ongoing in court. We only have five incidents in schools. Two public and three private schools had defilement issues.
“The caregivers we are talking about are both fathers, uncles, lessons teachers, pastors, brothers and neighbours. These are the caregivers we are talking about that have defiled these children. That is why there is a rise in defilement issues in Rivers State.”
Speaking after FIDA’s clarification, Prof Kaniye Ebeku, expressed displeasure that the report quoted FIDA out of context.
He warned that the ministry would not relent in taking disciplinary measures against any teacher for unwarranted behaviour.
“FIDA was quoted out of context. Most of the incidents as you heard were from caregivers who abused the kids instead of caring for them.
“It’s not true that we have 50 cases of rape or molestation in Rivers schools. We shouldn’t play politics with everything, because it doesn’t help us. Facts are sacred, we must stop fake news.
“We are serious about discipline in Rivers schools.If you have any information of unwarranted behaviour about schools. Please reach out to us at the ministry and we will take the necessary action,” he added.
Source: The Guardian