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How our school director sexually abused us, orphanage’s ex-female students allege

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  • I was only 13 when he asked me to take a bath with him – Deborah
  • I was psychologically affected for refusing to sleep with him – Mary
  • They’re only being used against me – Director

 

A leading orphanage, Stephen Centre International School/Home, Abeokuta, Ogun State, is currently in the eye of the storm. Its Director, Rev. Isaac Oluwole Newton-Wusu, is at the centre of allegations of sexual abuses being made by some former students of the school.
These former students of the school have summoned the courage to speak out on their experiences of sexual abuse and harassment at the hands of Newton-Wusu while their stay at the centre lasted.

Deborah Bala

The ex-students, who are orphans, said they were groomed by a man, who later sexually assaulted, raped and abused them at will.
The female students and their male colleagues at the school are victims of internal displacement and other ethno-religious crises, including the Boko Haram insurgency and other violent crises in the Northern part of the country, such as the Kano, Kaduna and Jos violence.

He called me one day from the hostel that I should go and take a bath. I told him that I had already bathed. But he insisted that I should go; that he had already got water for me. So, when I entered the bathroom, he came in and he said we should bath together

The school located at 1, Iyana-Aregbe in Obantoko, Abeokuta, Ogun State, was established in the year 2000 with funds from donors from the United States of America, the Netherlands, Australia, Canada and Poland.

Having bottled their emotions and endured the pains for so many years, some of the distraught former students under the aegis of Concerned Past Students of the Stephen International Centre School/Home alleged that apart from sexually assaulting them, the director was fond of exploiting both local and international donors, hiding under the guise of taking care of the welfare of the students, who claimed to have received little or no benefits from the largesse from the international bodies.

The old students, who further alleged that they were forced into child labour by the director while they were in the school, also claimed that no fewer than six of their colleagues in the orphanage died due to negligence and poor health facilities provided by the management.
They claimed that the only drugs they were usually given whenever any student fell ill was paracetamol.
Narrating her ordeal while at the school, an ex-female student, Deborah Bala, alleged that Newton-Wusu, popularly called Big Uncle by the students, drugged her on several occasions before raping her.

She added that she was only 13 years old and in JSS 3 at the school when the director started having sex with her. She said he called her one day and lured her into the bathroom, where they both had a bath and since then, he would always have sex with her.

Bala alleged, “I was 13; it started in JSS3, before I left the school in SS1 because I was kind of frustrated. At first, I never thought of that. It was when growing up I realised definitely he’s doing it. That is what he used to do, because I was not the only person. If he sees you are younger, he would drug you and do what he wanted to do to you.

“He called me one day from the hostel that I should go and take a bath. I told him that I had already bathed. But he insisted that I should go; that he had already got water for me. So, when I entered the bathroom, he came in and he said we should bath together. I was seeing him as a dad. I accepted and we had the bath together. After that, I don’t know what happened, I became unconscious. What I remember was that he woke me up around six or seven in the morning and said that I should go to the hostel; that it was already late. So, when I went I noticed I was kind of wet. My paint was really wet. So, I did not think twice; I just went straight and wash it and looked for food to eat.
“There was this day we went to Porto Novo, but before going, we went to the Lagos office. That is the main headquarters. So, when got there, he did not show anything. When we got to Porto Novo, he insisted I should sleep in his room. But I told him I was not feeling too well. He then said I should go and call one of the girls, which I did. So, from then, he would call me to come and whenever I did, the same thing that happened the other time would occur. I would be unconscious and something like that will keep on happening. I told his cousin what he did about the kissing stuff, and when she talked to him about it, he just changed and told most of the girls to stop talking to me.”
Similarly, another old student, Mary John, while explaining her plight at the hands of Newton-Wusu, alleged that the school’s director made her life hellish because of her refusal to have sex with the director.

John recalled, “I was 12 years old when I came to the school. Rev. Newton usually took some of the students to Lagos for weekend. But later, I started hearing from my friends that he was sleeping with them. He made several attempts to do that to me, but he did not succeed. But he made my life miserable in the hostel.

“He then decided to watch all my steps. I couldn’t have male friends. If I got close to anybody, they would tell him I was dating that person and then he would come down heavily on me in form of punishment. So, that was really affecting me psychologically and I was no longer able to focus on my studies. I became different from the others and I was not favoured by him.”

The National Coordinator of the old students of the school, Ado Nicodemus Baggibawa, who said his life was at risk for exposing the alleged sexual misconduct of the director with his underage students, said proper investigations should be conducted on the allegations of sexual abuse against Newton-Wusu.
He also demanded the “restructuring” of the school.
Baggibawa also called on the state and Federal Government as well as human rights organisations to urgently come to the rescue of innocent girls allegedly still being sexually abused by the director.
He said, “Proper investigation should be made. Let there be a restructuring of the school and necessary personnel that should manage the hostels should be in place for a proper academic performance and environment.
“We are depending on human rights societies, government, state and Federal Ministry of Education, police and the necessary personnel to come into this matter because our sisters are being abused.

“Some of our donors, after noticing this, came to investigate. But the same victims were used to deny the fact that this was happening. My sister, Deborah, was used and after all, he said ‘thank you for saving me, but nothing will change. I still hate you, because you didn’t give me what I demanded’. Let there be compensation for direct victims of these sexual abuses.”

When contacted on the phone, Newton-Wusu, who laughed hysterically when told the allegations made by the old students against him, said that the case was already in court.
He said that some people recruited and used the old students against him.

“That sounds like something. They are being recruited and being used. The fact is that the matter is in court, and I don’t like commenting on the issue that is in court. But what you are following is not authentic. You can quote them, but you can’t quote me because I will be held responsible for this,”
he said.

Culled from The Point

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INVESTIGATION

Access Bank staffer arraigned for stealing customers’ N13 million

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A staffer of the Herbert Wigwe’s led Access Bank Plc, Kolawole Agboola, has been arraigned at the Tinubu Chief Magistrates’ Court in Lagos Island on a three-count charge of conspiracy, fraud and theft.

THE WITNESS gathered the accused allegedly stole N13.6 million from the accounts of two customers of the Bank.

He however pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The Idimu, Lagos-based 29-year old banker, according to the prosecutor, Sergeant Hafsat Ajibode, committed the offences between October 2017 and March 2018.

The offences contravened Sections 287 (7), 325 and 411 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015 with Section 287 (7) stipulating seven years imprisonment for offenders.

Ajibode said that the accused withdrew the money from the unnamed Access Bank customers’ accounts by issuing a forged investment certificate to them to conceal his fraudulent activities.

The Chief Magistrate, Mr Tajudeen Elias, granted bail to the accused in the sum of N500,000 with two sureties in like sum. He said one of the sureties must be a relative of the accused and the other, a civil servant, while he adjourned the case until August 16, 2018 for hearing.

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INVESTIGATION

Access Bank prosecutes defunct Intercontinental Bank staff for stealing N1.2bn from customers

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Following the startling discovery of a whopping N1.2bn fraud, allegedly committed by one Olayinka Sanni, a former staff of Access Bank, through illegal siphoning of customers’ money, the bank has now taken the bold step to prosecute the said former staff, through the anti-graft agency, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC,) after intensive investigations confirmed Sanni’s culpability in the alleged fraud.

An employee of Access Bank, one Arthur Ezindu, narrated how Olayinka Sanni, then an Account General Manager, AGM, of several plum accounts, severally stole a sizeable amount of money to the tune of N1.2billion from several accounts belonging to customers of the bank.

Some of these customers’ accounts include: the Falana & Falana Chambers; Babington Junior Seminary; Viju Industries; Mechano Nigeria, PWU Nigeria; Elizade Nigeria; Murhi International Group, to mention a few. Sanni was reportedly arraigned alongside one Oyebode Oteyebi by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on an eight-count charge bordering on stealing, forgery and altering of forged documents. Ezindu, who gave his office address as Block 99C Damole, off Adeola Odeku, testified as a prosecution witness before an Ikeja High Court, Lagos.

While being led in evidence by the EFCC Lawyer, Rotimi Oyedepo, Ezindu said that Sanni withdrew the said huge sum of money from different customers’ accounts without their consent and thereafter issued them forged documents of confirmation which he purportedly claimed, emanated from the bank.

In the course of interrogation, Arthur Ezindu told the Special Offences Court that, Olayinka, who was his boss at the time of the incident, was a regional Executive, Lagos Mainland North at Intercontinental bank, now Access Bank. According to him, “The bank received several complaints from several customers whose accounts were debited without their consent.

However, during the preliminary investigation, we noticed that all the complaints were centered on our staff, Olayinka Sanni. We then invited him to the head office for questioning, but he claimed that everything was under control. He told us not to bother investigating the matter on the ground, that there was more behind what was happening.

So since he was our senior officer, being the AGM at that time, we decided to petition his case to the EFCC for proper investigation. When asked how much was involved as at the time the bank petitioned for EFCC, Ezindu replied, the total sum was about N1.2billion.

The prosecution thereafter tendered the petition dated September 2011 in evidence. Meanwhile, the two defendants were also arraigned alongside a company, Sidaw Ventures Limited, which was allegedly used to transfer and cash out the stolen funds.

The employee further said that during the preliminary investigation, the bank discovered that the company, Sidaw had Adamu as its signatory, while Sanni indirectly managed the account. Some of the handwriting on the cheques belonged to Sanni. He was the one indirectly signing and filling the cheques for Adamu. But in the wake of this unfolding scenario that is creeping into the good image of Access Bank, it was found out that the sleaze by Sanni was actually committed when he was still a staff of now defunct Intercontinental Bank, before it was acquire by Access Bank, thus with its assets and liabilities, as normally done in cases of acquisition.

Upon acquisition, Access Bank began a fresh look into the books and records of Intercontinental Bank; that was when the Olayimka Sanni’s lead was broken, as many atrocities and malfeasances were discovered, all pointing in the direction of Sanni, who by this time had resigned from Access Bank, apparently due to the fact, that it would not take long before his misdeed will be found, and he would go in for it. Subsequently, he was invited by the bank and handed over to EFCC for further investigation, which now led to his present prosecution at the Ikeja High Court (Special Offences Unit.)

The case was adjourned to a later date for further hearing, while the accused was refused bail, and still in the detention of EFCC.

The deduction from the case is that the implication being created is that the fraud was committed by Sanni as a staff of Access Bank, but the truth of the matter is that the fraud was committed by Sanni while he was a top official of defunct Intercontinental Bank, until it was eventually acquired by Access Bank with all its assets and liabilities, which now, in a fresh bid to regularize the acquisition, found out the sleaze committed by Sanni.

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Ex-staffers battle Diamond Bank over unpaid severance fee

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We are not owing them  – Diamond Bank

 

Diamond Bank Plc. led by Uzoma Dozie is now at war with the 370 workers that were sacked by the bank with no severance entitlements.

This newspaper learnt that the management of Diamond Bank on 27th of May 2016 at about 5:30am sent an electronic mail to 370 of their member staff to notify them of termination of their appointment, without stating any objective reason. Most of the workers who didn’t receive the termination mail before leaving home to work were caught off guard as they couldn’t access their various work stations and were only able to find out about the termination of their appointment after renting their friend’s phone.

We gathered that the workers took their case to the National Assembly Committee on Public Petitions and the bank’s MD/CEO, Uzoma Dozie was summoned to appear before the committee on January 18th, 2018. Instead of showing up, he sent the Head Human Capital Management of the bank, Mr. Gabriel Nwokeafor to represent him.

Sources said that Mr. Gabriel Nwokeafor told the House Committee that the bank was ready to settle the matter and a meeting was held to that effect at Reiz Hotel, Abuja on January 19th, 2018 between Diamond Bank, its lawyer and seven representatives of the sacked workers alongside their lawyer and the bank agreed to pay the severance/redundancy benefits as computed but on the condition that the loans collected by the ex-workers will be deducted and the balance paid to them.

Be that as it may, we were told that the bank had reneged on that agreement. Besides, Mr. Gabriel on 28th March, 2018 refused to appear before the House Committee instead he sent two lawyers who refuted the agreements he made with the ex-workers and their lawyer on January 19th, 2018 on the ground that the case was still in Court and the sacked workers were asked to withdraw their case from the court.

The ex-workers not fully aware of the implication of their next action, subsequently withdrew the case from Court.

Sources added that Mr. Gabriel on April 24th, 2018 said that he cannot deny knowledge of the agreement he signed with the ex-workers and their lawyer, and the withdrawal of the case in court that there is no way the decision he reached with the sacked workers could be wholly binding as the CEO/MD of the bank was not present at the time. He added that he did not know that the entire decisions at the meeting was been recorded.

But in a statement made available to THE WITNESS on Thursday July 19, 2018, Diamond Bank however denied the allegations.

The statement reads in part “At Diamond Bank, we understand the value of strong governance principles that protect and places a premium on the welfare of our people.”

“The exit of the staff was in line with best practice and complied to all regulations.”

“Out of the 370 persons who left the employment of our bank, 274 of them voluntarily resigned their appointments and several of them have requested and have been issued with favourable references.”

“They were paid all their terminal benefits as stipulated under their contracts of employment.”

“Presently, we are not indebted to any of them. However, a number of them are indebted to the Bank over loan facilities they obtained and failed to repay.”

“We wish to state that this issue has been reported and deliberated upon by the Central Bank of Nigeria as well as Federal Legislative bodies.” The lender stressed.

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