A magistrates’ court sitting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom has commenced trial on the alleged molestation and maltreatment of an 11-year-old student of the Deeper Life High School, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Don-Davies Archibong.
The suspects include two minors, who are senior students of the school, accused of sexually abusing Don-Davies in the school dormitory.
The others are staffers of the school, including a vice principal and a housemaster.
The court proceedings, which commenced around 10 am on Wednesday, were held under closed-doors, as people including journalists were asked to leave the court premises.
The two minors were charged for committing an act of gross indecency by inserting their fingers into the anus of the Junior Secondary School 1 pupil, which is punishable under section 218(1) of the Criminal code cap.38, Vol. 2. Laws of Akwa Ibom State.
They were also charged for unlawfully and indecently assaulting Don-Davies, which is an offence punishable under section 362 section (1) of the Laws of Akwa Ibom State.
Fielding questions from journalists after the court proceedings, counsel for the plaintiff, David Okokon, explained that only the minors were allowed in the courtroom because a juvenile court deserves jurisprudential privacy.
He said, “Ordinarily, the court had warned that parties should not address the media on the matter so that they would not talk in and out of the matter and then confuse the public. The mother of the molested boy had opened the floor and then told her story which was published in the media.
“The only difference is that this time she is in court, but there is no discrepancy in what she said earlier, and her statement to the police was admitted as evidence.”
On his part, counsel for the defendants, Nojin Tairu, declined to comment on what transpired inside the court, saying as proceedings he is not allowed to be making comments about the matter.
He said that the case was adjourned till February 10, 2021, for continuation of the hearing.
SaharaReporters recalled that the victim’s mother, Deborah Archibong, had said some senior students of the Deeper Life High School sexually abused her son when the school authorities switched him from his dormitory to another dormitory filled with senior students.
“They would remove his boxers and push their legs and hands into his anus,” Archibong said in a video which went viral on Facebook and Twitter.
“Look at a child I sent to school, he came back with a broken anus,” she added.
Archibong said her son was frequently starved and beaten by the senior students.
The Deeper Life High School is owned by a Pentecostal church, The Deeper Christian Life Ministry.
The issue trended on Twitter for a few days with several Nigerians calling on William Kumuyi, a pastor and founder of The Deeper Christian Life Ministry, to ensure that the victim gets justice.