Protesters demand justice for Lagos teacher accused of child abuse

Protesters demand justice for Lagos teacher accused of child abuse

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Educators, parents and former students protested in the Ikeja area of Lagos State over a teacher, Olawale Bakare, who was remanded in Kirikiri Maximum prison for alleged sexual abuse of a nine-year-old girl.

The protesters, who were armed with placards, marched from the Nigeria Bar Association’s office in Ikeja to the headquarters of the Lagos State Police Command.

Among the inscriptions on their placards are ‘say no to weaponised rape accusations’, ‘Lagos State, we say no to statistics, yes to justice’, ‘False accusation is a crime’, ‘rape is not a joke, do not accuse people to score a point’, and ‘rescue the Arewa girl’.

The PUNCH gathered that Bakare had been remanded in Kirikiri prison pending Lagos State’s Directorate of Public Prosecutions’ advice.

It was learnt that while in prison, Bakare’s wife delivered a pre-mature baby who is currently in the incubator at a federal hospital in Lagos State.

48-year-old Bakare, who denied the allegations against him, had been a teacher for 21 years. He was a former principal of an international school where he worked for 10 years before joining Methodist Girls High School.

The protesters, led by Bakare’s lawyer, Toyin Taiwo-Ojo, complained that the teacher’s accuser failed to produce the alleged victim for forensic tests.

They alleged Bakare and his accuser earlier had an encounter over a parking space in the school.

According to them, the teacher should not be kept in prison while the accuser failed to provide evidence or produce the victim for examination.

Taiwo-Ojo said, “It is noteworthy that Mr. Arewa has accused collectively more than five male and female teachers and aides of defiling his two daughters since 2019. As we speak, we have a teacher who is in Kirikiri for allegedly defiling one of the daughters whom we shall call Miss O.

“It is sad that on April 4, 2022, the Commissioner of Police made an order that the Complainant Miss O be taken for a forensic interview as part of the investigations. April 20 was fixed for the forensic evaluation by Cece Yàrá Foundation on the strength of a letter written by the police but instead of exercising patience to see the outcome of the forensic interview, on April 19, 2022, just a day before the scheduled interview, the case was charged to court on an inconclusive investigation.

“Another date, May 10 was rescheduled for the forensic evaluation at the same Cece Yàrá Foundation but to our consternation, he refused to produce the child!

“We are also aware that a similar scenario earlier been enacted in 2019, when a driver, Abiodun Matthew, was arrested and committed to life imprisonment by the court over the same allegation.

“I would like to highlight at this point that sadly during the incarceration of Abiodun, Mr Arewa also later accused three female teachers – Mrs Emmanuel, Miss Ashimalowo, and Mrs Tope Adebayo of defiling his two daughters, Miss O and Miss A. We find the repeated allegations and prosecution of alleged offenders as an abuse of the legal process.”

She also faulted the roles played by the Lagos Ministry of Youth and Social Development and the Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Agency in the case.

The lawyer asked the police to prosecute Arewa for obstruction of justice, adding that the domestic agency and ministry should “rescue those children as a matter of urgency”.

However, the Lagos Commissioner of Police, Abiodun Alabi, disagreed with the protesters.

He said they have no reason to protest, saying “What is your business if he (Arewa) refuses to produce the children? Is it your business?”

When the lawyer challenged the CP that Arewa should be prosecuted for obstructing justice, the police boss said, “No, for what? That he doesn’t produce the child now doesn’t mean he will not produce her later. We have received a letter from the DPP. Go to court and complain.”

Efforts to reach Arewa proved abortive as of the time of filing this report proved abortive as calls put across to his telephone line were not connecting.

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