Alexander Okere, Benin
The police in Edo State have arrested a 58-year-old man, Mr. Lambert Ighodaro, for allegedly defiling a 12-year-old pupil in Benin, the state capital.
The state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Johnson Kokumo, confirmed the arrest to our correspondent on Thursday.
Ighodaro was alleged to have been defiling the primary school pupil in his residence during school hours since 2017.
It was gathered that the victim’s class teacher had noticed her continuous absence from school and contacted her guardians.
It was learnt that the victim, during the teachers’ visit to her guardians’ house, alleged that the suspect had been sexually abusing her.
She also alleged that the suspect offered her money each time he allegedly committed the act.
Speaking on the incident, the acting Chairman of the State Universal Basic Education Board, Dr Joan Oviawe, explained that the board received a complaint from the management of the school.
Oviawe noted that the matter was reported to the police, leading to the arrest of the suspect.
She said the board was also investigating two other cases of alleged sexual abuse of two girls aged 11 and eight.
“This (arrest) was after SUBEB received a report of the incident from the class teacher of the 12-year-old girl, who is a pupil in one of government’s primary schools,” she said.
Meanwhile, the state government said it had set up a committee to check the rate of defilement of children in the state, in a renewed effort to strengthen the Child Rights Law to address issues of sexual abuse of children.
Oviawe, who is also the Special Adviser to the Governor on Basic Education, explained that an inter-ministerial committee had been set up to develop a framework to curb child defilement in the state.
According to her, SUBEB is concerned about the welfare of children and will continue to assist victims of rape to overcome the stigma and ensure that the perpetrators are prosecuted.
Oviawe said, “Teachers who were trained recently in the Edo Basic Education Sector Transformation programme were trained on ways to identify children who have been abused physically and sexually.
“The state government is reviewing existing child rights law to strengthen it to combat all forms of abuse against children.”
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