“I had read Pastor Nomthi Odukoya’s book, ‘No! Don’t Touch Me There’, so like I just sometimes did, I told my daughter ‘don’t let anyone touch your wee wee’. Her response after that changed our lives as a family, forever. The next thing she said was ‘he put his wee wee in my wee wee.’ Well, I asked her, who put his wee wee in your wee wee? and she said Mr Adenekan (pictures). My heart shattered into a million pieces, literally.”
Those are the words of Grace Adebola (not real name), the mother of a two-year-old female pupil of Chrisland School, Victoria Garden City (VGC), Lagos state. Her daughter was sexually abused by Adegboyega Adenekan, a former supervisor at the school.
Adenekan was arraigned on January 29, 2018, on a one-count charge of defiling Adebola’s daughter, who was two years and 11 months old at the time of the incident in 2016.
Adebola alleged that after she informed the school of what her daughter had told her and she (her daughter) repeated it before the management, the school visited her home and asked to be given two weeks to investigate the issue but went silent afterwards.
She added that the management visited her twice again, “asking us what we wanted so as to make the case go away”.
“The teachers turned me into an enemy. As soon as they saw me in the school on my way to speak with the headteacher, they would set security guards to start following me around, They wouldn’t even respond to my greetings,” she said.
Adebola said her family had planned to keep the abuse to themselves, but their daughter changed their minds.
“Our first intention was to just keep quiet about it, for fear of victimisation and once the school term was over, quietly take my kids out of the school. So I spoke to Mr Adenekan and told him what my daughter and said, warned him to stay clear of her if he met her in the school. I told him if it continued, I was going to press charges, however, he said to me that even if I did press charges, no one was going to believe me,” she said.
“But our daughter changed our resolve about keeping quiet. Mr Adenekan had told her that she would die; he would kill her mom, dad, sisters and dog if she ever told anyone. As soon as she opened up about the abuse and she saw she didn’t die, that no one had died, it was as though an oasis had been unplugged. She couldn’t stop talking about all the terrible things he did to her. I couldn’t stop her from talking, but I crumbled with every word she spoke. It became obvious that if we did not do something, our daughter would be treated, meet with psychologists to help her deal with the abuse, but other kids would still fall victim of the pedophile. This great evil done to us could not be covered.”
Well, we waited, one week. Nothing. 12 days, nothing, 14 days, nothing. I said God, is this how my daughters abuser will just go without her getting justice? So I started asking lawyers, please help me, this grave thing has happened to us, what do we do? Then they said if you go to a police station around the locality, this issue will be bought and swept under the rug, go to the Office of the Public Defender, they will not be able to shut OPD up. That was when my journey from Ajah to Ikeja started, everyday, come rain, shine, traffic or bike.
I met great people there, Mrs Salami and Ms Gloria Chinoyera, the case was transferred to Area F. We were referred to Mirabel centre, a government hospital, where the doctor affirmed my daughter was abused and that there were lacerations that were already healing.
As soon as the school realised the case was with the office of The public defender, they went to report at the police station in Ajah, they only reported after I went to the OPD when I saw they did nothing concerning my complaint and then they called a PTA meeting. At the PTA, they alleged a lot of things. They said I was out to tarnish the schools image and that I told my daughter to say those things because I wanted to be popular, that I just wanted to conspire against Chrisland. Chrisland broke our trust, we were a friend of the school. We loved Chrisland, we referred Chrisland. It was never us against Chrisland, we had thought it was going to be us and Chrisland against Mr Adenekan, or at least that they would have been neutral and let the law take its course.
According to Adebola, it was’nt only her daughter, two other minors were reportedly also abused by Adenekan.
“Well, our daughter started seeing a psychologist and that was where a new can of worms was exposed, including the fact that he would take her and another girl (names withheld) to his office and ask them both to play with each other. The psychologist set up a meeting with the girl, her mother and her uncle. The girl’s speech was not as developed as my daughter’s but when they asked her what Mr Adenekan does, she pointed to her private part, several times,” she said.
“I thought I finally had someone to corroborate. However, the next day, the girl’s mother said we should leave her daughter alone that nothing was wrong with her daughter. So, once again, we were back to seeking justice for our child, alone.
“My daughter mentioned how he showed her videos of a child doing things to a man and how he told her Jesus liked what he was doing to her. She said he took pictures of her naked. He didn’t just abuse her and let her be, he messed with her mind.
“Aside the girl my daughter mentioned, there was another child Mr Adenekan attested to have been close to before he decided to be friends with my daughter. That other girl was in pre-school one and all of a sudden, the parents of that child had withdrawn her from the school. Why? Why did the parents of that other girl unceremoniously take their child out of the school in the middle of a term? What did they discover? Was Chrisland interested in asking these questions?
In October 2019, an Ikeja domestic violence and sexual offences court sentenced Adenekan to 60 years imprisonment for child defilement.
Asked if she felt she got justice for her daughter, Adebola answered in the affirmative. She, however, said it does not make her feel better as “nothing can buy back the innocence he took from her”.
She thanked the justice system and all those who helped her see to Adenekan’s conviction.
“We got justice, yes. But did it make me feel better? No. Nothing can justify what he made our daughter go through; nothing can buy back the innocence he took from her. There are some pains that you just learn to live with,” she said.
“DSVRT, the Lagos state prosecution, Mrs Titilola Vivour-Adeniyi, Barrister Babajide Boye — all these people worked relentlessly and professionally to ensure justice was served. We were represented by civil servants as against a senior advocate of Nigeria. The judicial system reaffirmed our faith that even us can get justice.”
Adenekan had appealed the sentence handed down to him, but the court dismissed his plea.