Adegboyega Adenekan, a supervisor at Chrisland Schools in Lagos is now being quizzed by the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT) for sexually assaulting a pupil kept under his supervision. The accused, 47, was reported to have consistently molested the minor and other minors in the school.
This was detected by the mother while the child was undergoing a psychological test and the parents in turn lodged a complain with Lagos state DSVRT. The ongoing discussion on social media has seen diverse opinions on how accurate or inaccurate the accusations against the man could stand especially as the victim is a minor of 2years and 11 months.
As much as these individuals have the right to their opinions on the appropriateness and inappropriateness of the accusations, the greater worry of this case actually stands with the judiciary. The Nigerian Judiciary over the years has handled several issues presented to it at a snail speed and where justice is expected, the judiciary often fails.
Accusations of rape and attempted rape has been a long term social issues that is yet to go due to the role being played by the judiciary. There have only been 18 convictions of rape in Nigeria’s judiciary’s history and as at today there has been no landmark judgement that has convicted a rapist in the country that could stand as a point of reference when making submissions as it relates to conversations on rape.
At the moment, the management of Chrisland schools hired a SAN to defend the man in court, which while distasteful, is understandable. If the accused is found guilty of sexually assaulting minors within the Chrisland school system, it opens up the school to a class action lawsuit which could cost it millions of naira. The school also put out this disappointing statement, accusing the press of siding with the sexually assaulted girl’s mother because she runs a personal blog.
It is a good thing that this present case is being put through a much more advanced court system, and also that it is a case of this magnitude, a 2 year old child is the perfect storm, if you will. No one can accuse her of being sexually active or trying to seduce the supervisor who allegedly assaulted her. So if and when he is found guilty, it will be without any excuses or propaganda.
As much as the accused is innocent until proven guilty we are still hesitant to trust the system. The Nigerian judiciary has not presented itself as a beacon of hope for rape victims in the country, as a result the scourge is on the increase.Every week in Nigeria, there is at least one case of rape and molestation, a small fraction is reported to the police and other relevant authorities while the vast majority of victims chose to suffer in silence, rather than trust a system that seems jimmied to work against them.
This February, the Lagos state judiciary inaugurated a special court as it relates to domestic and sexual violence among Nigerians and related Crimes. The development which is a welcome one won’t be effective until the offenders are thoroughly convicted. If not, the scourge will continue to be on the increase.