The probe panel set up by the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, to investigate allegations of sodomy, cannibalism, missing children among others in the FCT School for the Deaf, has dismissed all the allegations in its report.
This came as another investigative report from the police confirmed that a child whose mother raised the alarm that necessitated the minister’s action, was actually molested by a senior student of the school.
But in a swift response, the petitioner and mother of the allegedly abused children, Dr Hannatu Usman Ayuba, who failed to appear before the committee during its assignment, dismissed the report.
According to her, “When the committee invited me to appear before them, I wrote to them that the police already conducted a comprehensive interrogation and that asking me and my son to appear before the committee is subjecting me and my son to further trauma.
“He is just trying to cast me in black light. To be honest, my son has been denied. My son has been cheated. He has a post-traumatic disorder. God knows best. They don’t want to use the police report because it has everything. They prefer to use sentiments and discourage other parents who might want to speak out in future.
“Yes, they sent me a letter through my workplace during the police investigation. Yes, I declined because police were investigating and I didn’t want them trapped. Enough complications had arisen when the principal told us not to involve the police. So what was the point when the police were already investigating?
“I told the committee to collaborate with the police because the police had interrogated the boy. The police sent him to their clinic and it was confirmed he was molested and there are reports. They also saw the fresh scars on his body and they read out the reports for us.
“The principal attached the PTA chairman to us when we went to report the case. I have never met him before this case. The principal was the one who advised that whatever we wanted to do should be done through the PTA chairman and he gave us his number.
I never solicited for the fund in the name of the PTA” “The chairman, FCT Secretariat told us to our faces in front of the police that why are we making such a hype; that homosexuality and lesbianism are in every home nowadays and that even in his home, he will not be surprised if homosexualism and lesbianism are going on.
“He said the school is directly under them and they are in charge of the school. When he told us all that and was ranting saying ‘who are we that we are trying to make noise?’ So for God’s sake, will you want to go into dialogue with such persons? So I will prefer to stay with the police and finish the investigation.”
But Adamu, after receiving the report, said the report was inconclusive given that the petitioner, Dr Hannatu Ayuba who is the mother of the boy, Imran Kanun, allegedly abused, refused to turn up to give evidence to the committee throughout the period it carried out its assignment. According to him:”The Committee could not, therefore, confirm whether or not the boy was molested.
However, the police report to the committee stated that they were able to obtain a confession from Sani Isah Filo, the alleged abuser of Imran. The police said Filo admitted abusing the child.
The police have since commenced prosecution and remanded Sani Isah Filo in Keffi prison. “Early in January 2018, I received a petition from Dr Hannatu Usman Ayuba alleging, among others, the sodomization of her child, Muhammad Imran Kanun, at the School for the Deaf, Kuje, a special school owned and managed by the FCT Administration.
“Based on her claim that she had written letters to governmental and non-governmental agencies, I directed the Permanent Secretary of this Ministry to investigate and to ensure that adequate corrective measures are taken if any of her claims are found to be true.
“In their report, the committee indicated that all efforts to get the petitioner to appear before it failed, as she kept citing various excuses, including attending a course and travelling out of Abuja.
“The committee, however, debunked most of her claims of poor feeding, poor sanitation, missing children and cannibalism in the vicinity of the school in Kuje. Shortly, after the submission of this report, Dr Hannatu appeared in the Federal Ministry of Education and she was told that the committee had submitted their report.
‘’Last Friday, March 22, the Committee submitted its report to me. Here are highlights of its findings: ”On sodomisation of Muhammad Imran Kanun: The Committee sent several invitations both orally and in writing to Dr Hannatu, the petitioner to appear before it and to bring her son, who she alleged was sodomised by an older student of the school in primary five, Sani Isah Filo, who also serves as the school father of Imran. But all efforts proved fruitless.
“No parent reported any missing child or of children dying in the school at least for the past five years. The medical team I had mentioned earlier which comprised 12 doctors from both the public and private sectors, carried out a random medical examination on 170 out of the 630 children of the school and did not find any evidence to support this claim. There was also no evidence of blood extraction found. These allegations are, therefore, unfounded and baseless.”
“That CCTV should be installed in all special schools to help in monitoring activities in those places. Parents should be allowed access to hostels of special schools on visiting days or designated days to assess the living conditions of their children because of their circumstances.
“The school should establish and equip a vocational centre and make it functional in order to meaningfully engage the students after their lessons.” He said the committee “observed that some of the hostels of the Kuje School for the Deaf are congested and that there is no steady electricity supply, especially in the hostels after lessons for the day and recommended a total renovation of the hostels and regular maintenance of electricity supply to the students as the deaf especially need light to effectively communicate.”
It also recommended that: ”Government should re-examine the policy of admitting children in boarding house below nine years of age. In line with the goal of education for all by the year 2030 and the Ministerial Strategic Plan, efforts should be intensified to promote inclusive education including making all schools friendly for all categories of children.”
Adamu said from the report,”there was no attempt on the part of anyone to influence the work of these noble men and women who were carefully selected and tasked to establish the veracity or otherwise of a set of allegations that brought tears to the eyes of well-meaning parents and relevant stakeholders who first heard the shocking claims.
“Dr Hannatu Usman Ayuba, the petitioner, upon reporting the incidence to the school authorities in December 2018, wrote 12 different organisations, including banks and donor agencies, seeking financial assistance in the name of the PTA ostensibly for the school.”
“The chairman of the PTA informed the Committee that Dr Hannatu got those letter headed papers under false pretence and signed on his behalf without his knowledge and consent. It is therefore difficult to establish the motive of Dr Hannatu in making these allegations beyond her care and concern or her child.’’
‘’This underscores the need for Dr. Hannatu to come forward and shed more light on her allegations. I find it difficult that despite the audience and warm reception I personally granted the petitioner, Dr. Hannatu, she failed to cooperate with the investigative committee. However, the doors are still open for her to come forward and testify.’’
This is because as things stand today, this report is inconclusive as her major allegation of her son’s abuse has not been conclusively established nor can it be dismissed with a wave of the hand.”