By Omeiza Ajayi – Abuja
Mother of Keren-Happuch, a 14 year old who was reportedly raped at a private school in Abuja, Mrs Vivien Akpagher has asked the Federal Government to come to her aid and resolve the puzzle surrounding the death of her daughter.
Mrs Akpagher made the plea at a news conference which held Wednesday at the secretariat of the Federal Capital Territory FCT Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists NUJ.
“I named my daughter Keren-Happuch, which means God has filled my cup, but Premiere Academy, Lugbe took the cup emptied the water and broke the cup. The cup I gave to Premiere Academy full, they returned to me empty and broken. This is too much to take. My heart is in turmoil”, she said tearfully.
The bereaved mother who spoke for the first time since her daughter died following medical complications arising from sepsis condemned what she called a deliberate distortion of facts and publicity stunt by Premiere Academy, Lugbe in order to preserve their business interest without regards to the life of my daughter which they have cut short.
She said: “Gentlemen of the press, you would have noticed that since my daughter died, instead of the management of Premiere Academy, Lugbe allowing my family to grieve and mourn her, Premiere Academy, Lugbe, Abuja has been preoccupied with wanting to look good to the public rather than work to bring out the rapist.
“Premiere Academy, Lugbe, Abuja has put the business interest of the school above the life of my 14 year old girl. They have even tried to tarnish her image with ugly stories. Premiere Academy, Lugbe has been embarking on major publicity stunts. Five press conferences and countless press releases are all pointers to the desperation of Premiere Academy, Lugbe, Abuja. But interestingly, the more Premiere Academy, Lugbe embarks on this publicity frolic, the more it committed unforced errors.
“Kindly take note that while Premiere Academy, Lugbe continued on his publicity stunts to look good, my family and I had been silent. But today, for the first time, we have chosen to speak in order to put the incontrovertible facts out to the general public.
“The facts: On the 22nd day of June 2021, my 14 year old daughter, Keren-Happuch Aondodoo Akpagher died.
“Keren-Happuch whom I fondly call Didoo, was a boarding student of Premiere Academy, Lugbe, Abuja.
“On the 18th June 2021, my daughter had informed me that she had an eye infection and asked me to come and pick her by 5pm same day. But her teacher, whose phone was used, advised that I come pick her on Saturday, 18th of June 2021, being a call day to avoid landing her (teacher) in trouble since her phone was used.
“On the 19th day of June, being an official call-weekend, Keren-Happuch called me, begging that she comes to pick her as she was ill with an eye infection.
“I called the school matron to secure an exeat on the 19th day of June for Keren, but was told Keren would be placed in isolation for seven days on her return from home. The matron suggested an alternative of the school driving her to the clinic and taking her back to avoid isolation.
“After her treatment, Keren was distraught when she learnt that she was going back to school and begged to go home with me. I promised her I will secure an exeat from the school and pick her. I called the principal, who agreed to give her one.
“Following that assurance from the principal, I got to Premiere Academy, Lugbe on the same day at about 1pm to pick my daughter, but wasn’t granted permission to pick her. The matron assured me that they were taking good care of her and that she was fine.
“Following assurances by the matron, I left without my daughter. However, while heading back home on the said 19th day of June, I received a call from a concerned staff of the school, telling me that my daughter was badly sick and seriously distressed in school on Wednesday, the 16th day of June 2021 with inability to walk without assistance of some of her friends, who helped her to class to write a continuous assessment test in tears.
“The caller told me to disregard claims made by the matron that my daughter was not sick, insisting that she was in dire straits and needed to be taken away from school immediately.
“The caller advised me to come to the gate and make a lot of noise to constitute a nuisance otherwise I would not be allowed to take my daughter away.
“Alarmed at this information, I returned to school around 2.30pm or thereabout, constituting a nuisance at the gate for the next three hours or thereabout as well as calling the phone numbers of the school’s principal and matron before I was finally allowed to take my daughter away for medicare.
“Three (3) days after I took away my daughter, she died in a hospital in Abuja on the 22nd day of June 2021.
“But, before Keren-Happuch’s death, the hospital discovered that she had been raped, condom left in her vagina, which had caused an infection that resulted to sepsis and trauma that led to her demise.”
Also speaking at the conference, leader of the coalition of Gender Based Respondents and Executive Director of Men Against Rape Foundation, Lemmy Ughegbe said they had incontrovertible documentary evidence of sundry sexual abuses in Premier Academy, Lugbe, which show that the school is guilty of covering up such crimes.
Ughegbe invited the school management to a – media dialogue to discuss the rape and death of Keren-Happuch and other cases of sexual molestation, which it has the record of covering instead of handing paedophiles to the police.
“The board and management of Premiere Academy, Lugbe told us they have never had any case of sexual abuse in the school, but that was a big fat lie. We have intelligence that a teacher of Physical and Health Education and a cook where suspended indefinitely for sexual molestation of students. We have the letter of indefinite suspension on account of this sexual crime. So, the school rather than handover such a pedophile to the police prefers to cover it in order to protect its name and business interest”, he stated.
“We are determined to put an end to all the evil happening in Premier Academy, Lugbe and indeed in our boarding schools in Abuja especially. And no matter what it takes, we must get justice for Keren-Happuch, her grieving mother and the entire family”, he vowed.