By Amina Hilda
Nigerian authorities have shut down a school in Enugu and arrested three of its personnel following allegations of sexual abuse involving a three-year-old pupil.
The Enugu State Police Command took action after physical injuries and bloodstains were discovered on the young girl’s private parts, prompting immediate closure of the school over the weekend.
The personnel of Tenderlink School, Trans-Ekulu, Enugu, implicated in the alleged abuse include the victim’s female teacher, the school’s bus attendant, and the driver.
The incident came to light on Tuesday, November 14, when the school bus dropped the three-year-old pupil at her home, revealing signs of possible rape.
Enugu State Commissioner, Kanayo Uzuegbu, issued a statement assuring the public that thorough investigations would be conducted, and everyone involved in the despicable act would face prosecution.
“Three suspects, comprising the victim’s female teacher, the school’s bus attendant, and driver have been arrested for interrogation,” he stated.
This incident is not isolated, as the Commissioner disclosed that his office has received several complaints from parents about sexual abuse in the same school.
The revelation has sparked outrage, with Uzuegbu describing the act as “unthinkable”. He questioned how the school’s authorities and teachers could allow such harm to befall a toddler entrusted to their care.
Acknowledging the gravity of the situation, the Commissioner commended the Enugu government’s decision to shut down the school while investigations are underway.
This move reflects a commitment to ensuring the safety and well-being of students amid the disturbing allegations.
Child sexual abuse is a pervasive issue globally, and the World Health Organization’s 2021 findings reveal that 1 in every 13 men and 1 in every 5 females suffer various forms of sexual violence during childhood.
The worldwide prevalence of Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) ranges from 5% to 36%. Africa alone shows the highest prevalence at 34.4%, followed by Asia and Oceania at 23.9%, and Europe at 9.2%.
In Nigeria, child sexual abuse is a criminal offense under several sections of Chapter 21 of the country’s criminal code.
UNICEF reports that six in 10 children in Nigeria experience emotional, physical, or sexual abuse before the age of 18. Half of them endure physical violence.
As the Enugu community grapples with the aftermath of this harrowing incident, the authorities’ commitment to a thorough investigation and swift justice remains a beacon of hope for those advocating child protection and safety within educational institutions.