Ebebe Florence, Education Reporter
Mrs Adeola Adebola, Deputy Head teacher, Chrisland School, Victoria Garden City, Lagos, on Tuesday said the mother of a two-year-old pupil of the school tutored her to allege that the school supervisor defiled her.
Adebola told an Ikeja Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Court that the mother tutored her child to claim that the Supervisor, Adegboyega Adenekan, defiled her.
Adebola gave evidence at the resumed trial of Adenekan. It reports that Adebola was the fourth defence witness.
She was led in evidence by defence counsel, Mr Olatunde Adejuyigbe (SAN).
She testified that she had worked for Chrisland School for almost 19 years, adding that she was promoted to the Deputy Head teacher in 2015.
She said: “The defendant is my colleague and was a supervisor in the upper Chrisland Primary School.
“The incident was reported to the head teacher, and being my immediate head, she brought the allegation of defilement to my attention.
“There was a meeting on Oct. 18, 2016, the head teacher invited the child’s mother and she came in with a lady called Titi.
“My head teacher was reluctant about her presence but the mother assured her that she was someone she trusted,” the witness said.
She testified that the mother told the meeting that no one lived with her family and that she was the only one that stayed with her children and did everything herself.
“After a while, I was told to bring the child from her classroom which I did.
“I tried to talk to her and I asked who bathed her that morning and she said, ‘Anu.’
“I asked who Anu was, and the mother said the person who bathed her was her husband’s niece who lived with them.
“The child immediately said, ‘Anu bathes me and hurt my bum,’ but her mother immediately said, ‘Nobody bathed you, you did it yourself’, and the child immediately said, ‘Yes, I did it myself’.”
The witness added that the pupil further said, ‘Mr Adenekan put his wee in my wee and poured dirty sand in my wee’.
Adebola said she asked the child if she knew where the alleged defilement occurred, adding that when the child gave an affirmation, she asked the child to identify where it happened.
“When we got to the place where we have our assembly, she said, ‘This is the place.’ Her mother was visibly embarrassed and we were shocked.
“The mother said to her that there was another place she told her, and the girl looked at her and started walking toward the canteen area.
“We got there and it is a more open place, and the child said,’ This is the place”, and her mother got more jittery.
“These areas the child showed us are open and very busy with people going out and coming in,” Adebola said.
Refuting the defilement claim, the witness said that due to their ages, the school’s pupils never moved around the school premises unescorted.
She said that the nursery section of the school had a creche and that they admitted children from the age of six months.
According to her children left the nursery section when they attained five years of age.
“We don’t have a male class teacher in the nursery section. School starts by 8.00a.m., and by 7.30a.m., we expect children to be in school. It is only the class teacher and the assistant who can go with children to the bathroom.
“The defendant does not participate in our assembly because the assembly is different from where he is. He is the supervisor of upper primary and the head teacher and I go round the school to ensure that things are done properly,” she said.
Adebola said that due to the structure of the school, it was unlikely that a staff would defile a pupil without drawing the attention of other individuals within the premises.
“Mr Adenekan does not have an office to himself, he shares office with two other supervisors. The office is on the first floor and has an outer oom where photocopies are made by Mr Muri, the school Clerk.
“The child’s class is next to the toilet, and they are always followed by the class assistant to the toilet. Parents or guardians, in order to pick them, must show their pickup cards to the educator.
“I was shocked at the allegation, the defendant’s section is different from ours, we usually don’t do things together.
“The management of the school were immediately informed and it called in a disciplinary committee and did its own findings to see if the allegation was true or not,” she said.
While being cross-examined by Mr Jide Boye, the lead state counsel, Adebola said that though she did not know him prior to his employment by Chrisland School, she considered the defendant to be a responsible man.
“Having worked with someone for four to five years, you will know him considerably. I have no doubt as to his character.
“Sometimes, during a long vacation, we have seminars and group learnings together, and from there, I got to know him.
“Part of my shock is that the child knew him despite the distance, that is why we are her. I was with the child at the school clinic and I am aware that she drew a ‘wee-wee’ there. By my own judgment, children can draw anything,” she said.
Boye asked the deputy head teacher if she was aware that on Nov. 16, 2016, the child’s mother wrote a formal complaint to the school and had yet to receive a reply.
The witness said that she was unaware.
“I don’t think the defilement happened because of the structures in place in the school. You need to be there, my lord. The children are babies, we follow them everywhere.
“I have a passion for children, I have over 30 certificates in relation to bringing up children, I’m loyal to my organisation, I’m here for the truth,” Adebola said.
Earlier, Ms Ruth Inuegbu, the Assistant Teacher of the pupil’s class, testified that she found the allegation “strange”.
“I am the assistant to Mrs Adejoke Erere, the child’s class teacher. The defendant never came to our class to sit with the child as alleged by the mother.
“The defendant does not come to our assembly ground because he is in primary while we are in nursery,” Inuegbu said.
Justice Sybil Nwaka adjourned the case until June 25 for continuation of trial.
Adenekan who was arraigned on Jan. 29, 2018, pleaded not guilty to a charge of defilement of a child.
The prosecution alleges that Adenekan committed the offence sometime in November 2016 at Chrisland School, Victoria Garden City, Lagos.
According to the prosecution, the defendant defiled the two-year and 11-month-old by having sexual intercourse with her.
The alleged offence contravenes Section 137 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2011 which recommends a life sentence for anyone convicted of defiling a child.