By Moji Eniola /Ikeja
The mother of “Child X”, the 35-month-old Chrisland Schoolchild allegedly defiled by Adegboyega Adenekan, a 47-year-old supervisor in the school, wept while giving evidence at an Ikeja Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Court.
In a four-hour testimony on Wednesday, the woman narrated how she knew Adenekan was violating her daughter. The cross-examination continued today.
“She was two years and 11 months old when she mentioned it to me. I do not know for how long it has happened before she mentioned it. She was in Pre-school Two at the time, but she started the school from creche.
“I knew the defendant when my daughter was in pre-school one. Her class teacher would tell me that the defendant had come to her class to say hello to my child or that she was crying and he was the only one who could placate her.
“I did not know him physically at the time but I knew his name. He followed her for a whole year from pre-school one to pre-school two and still went to her class.
“When I mentioned it to her pre-school teacher that this is what my daughter has said, she said she thought we were family friends. He was not even a supervisor in nursery, he was a supervisor in the primary section.
“I did not even know him, I met him only once or twice on the road within the school because my daughter ran to greet him once,” she told the court.
She sobbed as she told her story. She was given tissue paper by the judge to wipe off her tears before she could proceed.
Revealing how her she found out how Child X was allegedly defiled she said: “A few weeks before Nov. 10, 2016, I bought and read Pastor Nomthi Odukoya’s book titled “No Don’t Touch Me There”, she wrote about how to guard our children against sexual abuse.
“On Nov. 10, 2016 I picked her up from school and we were at home, I took her to the restroom and while helping her to pull up her trouser, I casually said do not let anybody touch your wee-wee.
“Nothing prepared me for the response I got because normally I thought I was making a statement and she will say “Okay Mummy”, but the next thing she said was “he (the defendant) put his wee-wee in my wee-wee,”
“The first thing I did was to try to call my husband who was out of the country, he didn’t pick and I sent him a whatsApp message that our daughter has been abused.
“The next thing I did was call her class teacher and I said that this baby said that she has been abused, has she been taken out of class? She can identify her abuser.
“The class teacher said no. I called another teacher in senior management who was like a mother to me at the time, I told her and she said the defendant cannot do it, he is a pastor.
“The following day, I took my daughter to school at 11. 00 a.m. and ironically as we were entering the school, we saw him (the defendant). “I still remember the conversation, the defendant saw my daughter and said I have been to your class this morning but you weren’t there.
“I saw a cleaner and I remember clearly what she said, she said the love between your daughter and this man is like this (linking her index fingers together in demonstration).”
Still continuing, the mother said Child X’s class teacher denied that Child X was ever taken out of the class by anyone during school hours.
She revealed that to confirm her daughter’s story, she took her to a paediatrician at Heritage Hospital, Badore Road, Ikoyi.
“The doctor examined her and said that there was redness in her private part, that it had been damaged.
“At night I took her to the house of the supervisor who was like a mother to me and I told her everything and we wondered what to do.
‘`I decided to keep it hush hush, I said I needed to talk to him, warn him off. She did not have his number then, we got his number and I called him.
“I told him this is the girl’s mother, she has told me that you have been sexually abusing her, stop threatening her and he replied that I have heard all you have said.
“I wish I had recorded the conversation, I said you have to stop, if you do not stop, I will have to report to the school and he said even if you report, nobody will believe you and in truth they did not.
“I cut the call and sent him a message in which I said do not forget everything that I said when you see her wave at her,” she said.
The mother said she spoke to the headteacher, the deputy headteacher and five other teachers of Chrisland School and a decision was reached to take Child X to the school’s medical doctor.
“We went to the school’s doctor on Monday and when she examined her, she (the doctor) said as far as she is concerned, there is no evidence of abuse.
“The school’s doctor gave my child a piece of paper and said can you draw his private part, that was the first day that she drew a private part, the teachers were there. “I did not know she could draw talk less of drawing a private part,” the mother added.
Child X’s mother revealed to the packed courtroom that the school supervisor at the insistence of Child X’s father, underwent a polygraph test.
“My husband asked if he was willing to submit himself to a lie detector test and he agreed, we were thinking of going out of the country because we were wondering if it was done in Nigeria, we found out Halogen Securities did it in Lagos.
“When we went to the Ikeja office of Halogen Securities, the defendant was late for the appointment.
“He was asked three questions including did you have any sexual contact with the girl? and did you fondle the girl?
“He said no to the three questions and the test found out that he was lying.
“Mrs Adeyemi, the top management of the school started calling me saying that they are investigating and that we should not worry.
“I waited and waited and I didn’t hear from them. I called my aunt and she advised me to go to the Office of the Public Defender (OPD)that the OPD will not hush it up.
“At the OPD, I told them what my daughter told me, I went to Area F, Police Station, Ikeja with my daughter to give a statement.
“The police officers were all putting their hands on their heads when they were hearing her talk. She just kept talking, it was like a fountain had opened.
The mother said that the police took her and her daughter to the school where Child X showed the police Adenekan’s office and a toilet.
She noted that anyone who had the permission of parents was allowed access to the classroom of children from creche to pre-school two and that her child was also examined by doctors and a psychologist at the Mirabel Centre.
Child X’s mother said that she initially wanted to cover up the alleged defilement, noting that she was ostracised by the school.
“I wanted to cover it up, wait till the end of term to withdraw my children, I was scared of victim shaming, the press and stigmatisation. “There was a circular sent to parents except me for the attendance of a PTA meeting and all sorts was said about me, I was accused of attention seeking.
“I, however, decided to not cover it up for two reasons — First was my daughter, the defendant had threatened her that she was going to die, everyone in her family were going to die if she told anyone.
“When she realised she did not die after the initial revelation, she started opening up to me, she told me how he used to put his mouth on her, show her pornography, tell her and her friends to play with each other and so many other things.
“The second reason was my husband. Though he was not around, he said we are lucky enough that our daughter found her language early. “What of other children that cannot talk? What of others that told their parents and they did not believe them? He said for the sake of the other children, we must talk.
“After it happened, my daughter will talk about it 20 about times a day. It trickled down to 10 times a day and now it is now once or twice a week, she is healing and she will heal.
“The only place I’m not with my children is at school, I don’t go for parties. Once my children are having fun I’m having fun.
“After I had my first daughter, I quit my job. I did not hire a driver because I did not want my children to be abused. I never left them alone except in school,” she said.
The mother while being cross-examined by Mr Olatunde Adejuyigbe (SAN), said she had no cause for concern when she heard that Adenekan was “a friend of her daughter” for a whole year.
“There was no cause for concern, the school is supposed to be a safe place,” she replied.
According to her, she personally made one recording of Child X, disclosing the alleged defilement to teachers of Chrisland School.
She told Adejuyigbe that she was unaware that her daughter could draw because she was only given colouring assignments as school work.
She denied giving Miss Olive Ogedengbe, a clinical psychologist that testified in court, a picture of Adenekan to give the child to identify, noting that the image was gotten online.
“She (Ogedengbe) searched for the photos online and along with other photos my daughter was asked to identify the defendant.
The mother said that she did not mention Adenekan’s threat to her daughter in her statement because the child revealed the threats to her after she had given her written statement to police.
The mother admitted to Adejuyigbe that she had told Adenekan that she wanted him jailed but denied writing a twisted script meant to implicate the school supervisor.
In response to why she told Adenekan to be friendly with her daughter, she said: “I told him to be friendly to her because I didn’t want her to be psychologically affected by thinking that because she told her mum he didn’t want to be her friend.”
The mother said she declined Chrisland School’s request to interview the child alone and her child admitted on one occasion that she was defiled before assembly.
“The totality of my account is based on what my daughter said, I believe my daughter.
“It is wrong that my children were in school till Christmas 2016. The reason why my children stayed that long in the school was that they said they were a child conscious school and I bought into the lie.
“The older one left after two weeks, the younger one left after six days, I did not notify the school before I withdrew them but definitely not one month as alleged by the press.
“I withdrew my children for the two reasons — The first was Chrisland said they were going to fire the defendant but I later found out that he was not sacked but transferred to the Ikeja branch of the school.
“Second, they promised to fire the class teacher that was careless but they did not,” she said.
The mother said that Child X did not demonstrate any pain from the alleged defilement to her knowledge.
Earlier during proceedings, Justice Sybil Nwaka had ordered that the mother’s name be protected to prevent the identity of Child X from being revealed to the public.
Justice Nwaka adjourned the case until March 22 for continuation of cross-examination of the mother.