Nigeria: Special Report – the Real Story of the Sexual Abuse Incident At Abuja School for the Deaf


April 22, 2019

By Ini Ekott and Azeezat Adedigba

The seven-year-old had spent just one academic term at his new school in Abuja when he told his mother he would not be returning to the institution, a special facility for children with disability. Using sign language, the boy, born with speech and hearing impairment, said he feared he may be killed.

“They will kill me if I return to that school,” Hannatu Usman recalled her son saying.

Alarmed, Mrs Usman, a medical doctor, pressed for details. The boy motioned about being sodomised and being forced to perform oral sex on older school mates. He spoke about being driven in the night to a gathering where men killed and conducted rituals, drew children’s blood and forced them to perform erotic acts. The boy said he was brutalised whenever he refused to do as instructed.

On March 26, the minister of education, Adamu Adamu, said after weeks of investigation, a government panel had found no evidence of occult or cannibalism in the school. He dismissed the claim by the Usman family as “unfounded and baseless”, and said the panel based its conclusion in part on the fact that no other parent reported missing children at the school at Kuje, about 37 kilometres from the Abuja city centre.

Mr Adamu said the allegation of sexual abuse could not be confirmed because Mrs Usman had refused to meet with the panel, alongside her son. “However, the doors are still open for her to come forward and testify,” the minister told a news conference. “This is because as things stand today, this report is inconclusive as her major allegation of her son’s abuse has not been conclusively established nor can it be dismissed with a wave of the hand.”

He, however, acknowledged that a police investigation had confirmed the boy had been sexually assaulted. The Abuja police commissioner, Bala Ciroma, confirmed the finding to PREMIUM TIMES.

The report, first by the Abuja-based Human Rights Radio, that a child with a disability was sexually abused at a school his family hoped will help him with care, terrified parents and angered rights advocates, not less because it happened in the nation’s capital. Ahead of the announcement by the minister, a civil society group, Human and Environmental Development Agenda, said in a petition to the National Human Rights Commission that “the case is one deserving of immediate and urgent intervention and investigation.”

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.