Gyang Bere, Jos
National Coordinator of Concerned Past Students of Stephen Children Home (COPASSTECH), Abeokuta, Mr Ado Nicodemus Baggibawa, has accused Stephen Children Home school director Rev. Isaac Oluwole Newton of sexually abusing Rifkatu Musa, Deborah Bala and several other female students.
Mr Baggibawa disclosed this in Jos on Wednesday during a press conference calling for the arrest and prosecution of Rev. Newton.
“It is on record that over 20 female students were sexually violated by the Director, some of them who felt stigmatized [and] are willing to come out and testify the horrific ordeal they went through in the hands of the Director,” Baggibawa alleged.
“The male students on the other hands were subjected to dehumanizing and excruciating labour during the construction of some structures which were budgeted and paid for by foreign donors.”
He said all children who are admitted into the Stephen Centre International (Stephen Children Home) lost their parents in one crisis and another, particularly in the northern parts of the country, and lamented why they should be subjected to rape and defilement while the ugly memory of how their parents were killed still lingered in their minds.
“The Centre is an arm of the Voice of the Christian Martyrs Nigeria, an affiliate of International Christian Association (ICA). It was established in 2000 with the aim to carter for the basic needs of children whom their parents were unfortunately killed during the various religious crisis in Plateau, Kaduna, Kano, Yobe, Nasarawa, Bauchi, Borno and Adamawa State in Northern Nigeria.
“It was to carter for the vulnerable children who were affected by the lingering conflicts in the areas of education, feeding, clothing and shelter which was made possible through generous donations by foreign sister mission from abroad. Most of the inmates are children who have lost one or both parents in the unabated crisis.”
Deborah Bala, who hails from Gombe State, narrated how she was allegedly violated by Director Newton, saying he drugged her and took away her virginity, which compelled her to leave the school in 2013.
Deborah claimed that since the first incident the Director was in the habit of inviting her at odd hours to his office, plying her with drinks mixed with drugs, after which he would have sex with her, and warning her never to tell anyone or she would be expelled from the school.
In a swift reaction, Rev. Newton debunked the allegations, saying the female students were being used by some staff who are themselves accused of embezzling school funds.
He said the staff in question have been taken to court and are using the students to sully his name.
“This case is in court and those students are telling lies, I don’t want to join issue with them because those pushing them into this action are living in Jos with them,” Rev. Isaac said.