CEHRD /SSN REPORT (APRIL TO AUGUST 2014)

IKE SODOMIZE 17 YEARS OLD BOY

On April 14th,2014, we received complaint from a participant who attended the community town hall meeting organized by CEHRD. The aim of the meeting is to enlighten all stakeholders in the community about child rights and further engage them to take proactive steps with the community to protect children and prevent them from abuses.

The meeting has proven to be effective as witnessed in the case reported to us on the above date. Bright Jaja, a 17 years old boy from Opobo, Opobo/ Nkoro Local government Area, Rivers State, is the only child of his parent. The minor is a victim of alleged sexual abuse by a cultist named Ike, a member of Ice landers cult and holds the position of a Chief Drill.

The project Officer visited their home and met with Bright. Who told us that the issue started with forcing him to join their cult, which he refused to join. That Ike, pretended to help him while he was being flogged by stopping them and took him to his house to wash his clothes.

Ike later, took advantage of him by forcing him to pull his clothes off in his room and sexually abused him by forcefully penetrating through his anus. That has been going on for more than 4 months until his mother reported to one Bassey (Executioner) their head unit. Ike and Bright were invited by Bassey but Ike denied the allegation. The Minor was later taken to a corner and examined by Bassey and his boys, who asked him to remove his clothes to inspect his anus. They came back to inform his mother that Ike did not sexually abuse him.

On that same day, we met Ike and Bassey, though Ike denied the allegation, he however, pleaded for understanding he will never go close to him again. Bassey, also assured us that he would ensure that none of his boys would force him to join them. He also sent for the boys mentioned and directed never to disturb Bright or threaten him to join them anymore.

The matter was resolved with this understanding on both sides. Effort was also made to refer Bright to Association Badamia, but Mrs. Obioma Ogakwu, informed us that their shelter capacity cannot accommodate extra intake.

We have also been following up but there is no further complaint from Bright and his Parent.

STEP-MOTHER ABUSES STEP CHILDREN, POLICE DEMANDS BRIBE TO INVESTIGATE THE CHILD ABUSE.

On the 11th July 2014, project officer, received phone call from Mrs. Umauro, of WOTCLEF NGO referring a case of alleged abuse of Labanese children by their step –mother , Amiriah Nasser. We wrote a letter on the 23rd July 2014, to the Ministry of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation, Port- Harcourt, Rivers State, requesting her intervention. The ministry also wrote a letter on the 24th July 2014, to the Divisional Police Officer, Elekahia, requesting for police officers to access these kids.

The head of JWC at the station insisted on seeing the mother of the kids before any further steps would be taken. We invited the mother of the abused children (Tannia Nasser) from Abuja who came in the next day and joined us to the station, where we were ushered into the office of the DPO, Sani. The DPO, after listening to Tannia’s complaints about how she have received several reports about the abuses of her children by their step – mother, Amiriah, who on one occasion inserted hot pepper into the virgina of her daughter etc, directed her to make entry at the counter of the station.

At the counter, the CRS, Justina Isugu, demanded the sum of two thousand naira(N2,000.00) for making entry. The project officer and UNICEF desk officer, Kaine Bobmanuel, from the Ministry of Social Welfare, challenged the rational behind the demand. The CRS quest.s to be bribe failed as we demanded that she would sign any document with her full names, service numbers  and also the amount received on the document if the money would be paid. We were later, ushered into the office of the head of JWC and she assigned corporal Equator on the case.

Tannia Nasser, our client was asked to write statement concerning her complaints. After writing, she was invited privately, where the IPO demanded the sum of twenty thousand naira (N20,000.00) to commence the investigation. Our client came back to inform us. We met with the IPO and she asked what we can afford to pay and we resisted, saying that  it amounts to bribery. She later, took us to the office of the head of JVC, where we told her that since bribing them is the only way the investigation will be carry on, we are withdrawing our complaint. She requested us to put it in writing but we walked away.

Together with the Ministry, we resolved to refer the matter to FIDA. We went to see the head of FIDA, Mrs. Itamunola, who advised us to contact the commissioner of police.

Tannia, contacted the Commissioner of police on phone and they had a brief meeting, he assigned an officer to follow up the case. After meeting with the police boss, the DPO Sani called Tannia to have meeting in an undisclosed location in a restaurant, during the meeting, he apologized to her and gave her ten thousand to support the payment of her hotel lodging. He also promised to speak to her ex- husband Amin Nasser, whom he said is his friend, for her children to be released to her.

The DPO actually initiated the process for the Tannia and Amin to meet. Our client was also move from the previous hotel to another location closer to where she can access the children. During her period, her children visited twice, with their step mother bullying them each time returned from the visit. Amariah and her mother have subjected these kids to various forms of abuse, which include physical battering, confined to their room for days and also not allowing them to access other parts of the 5 bed room duplex, starving them and cruel inhuman degrading treatment.

The matter was also reported to the commissioner of social welfare and rehabilitation, Hon. Joe Poromon, who promised to access these children once the school resume, since the police refused to allow them to do so.

On the 17th August 2014, I attended the state child rights implementation committee, where I reported the attitude of some officers who extol and demand bribery for investigation. The Officer in Charge, Human Rights, Force Headquarters, Moscow road, Port- Harcourt, requested details of the officers involved and we provided it. The officers were arrested and detained for 3 days before we were invited to her office. During the investigation the officers accepted demanding bribe from us and pleaded for forgiveness not to forward the case that it would lead to their dismissal or suspension from the police force. 

After considering their confessional statement before their superiors, we resolved to pardon them for honesty and urged them to desist from habit. See attached documents for more details.

ROOBERS RAPES TWO SISTERS

On the  30th August 2014, Amarachi Ogoke, 14 years old , and Adalin  Ogoke21 years old, from Isiala Mbano Local Government Area, Imo State, were rape during a robbery attacked at Tarikolo community, Port- Harcourt. At about 3: am on that fateful, three armed robbers invaded their home, where they were sleeping and robbed them of market money for their petty business. One of the suspect that was later arrested identify as J. Boy, after the robbing threatened he would shot them if they did not comply to sex demand.

The matter was reported to Borikiri Police Station, Port- Harcourt that same day. Investigation Police Officer, woman corporal Igbama was assigned to the case. A medical form was issued to the victims and the case was also referred to Ministry of Social Welfare, where the commissioner after listening the case took care of medical expenses.

One of the suspects, J. Boy was later arrested by the police and has been in detention due to the closure of the court in Rivers State.

12 YEARS OLD DEFILED BY 38 YEARS MAN

On the 1st September 2014, I received phone call from Reverend John, the Secretary, Civil Liberties Organization, Rivers State, about an alleged sexual abuse of Chinemerem Sunday, 12 years old girl living with Blessing Ibe, by Stephen Akpoguma.

According to the Secretary the suspect arrested the guardian on alleged threat to his life after being confronted for sexually abuse their ward. They were arrested and detained before being granted bailed the next day. The project Officer, visited the Romokoro Police Station, Obia/Akpor Local Government Area, Rivers.

I met the Investigating Police Officer, guardian, Stephen AKpoguma deliberating on the issue . The police insist on pushing the allegation threat by Mrs. Blessing Ibe, rather than looking at the issue raised on alleged sexual abuse by Mr. Stephen Akpoguma, base on that the project officer requested to meet with the DPO but we later met with the DCO of the station.

He interviewed all parties, Blessing Ibe hinted the girl was 4 months pregnant and they early reached an understanding with Chief Dike, Slaughter market chairman, that Stephen Akpoguma will pay the sum of two hundred thousand naira (N200,000.00) as up keep for the minor until she deliver. Stephen Akpoguma, denied the allegation, but accepted that he was at Chief Dike’s place. When asked for what reason, he couldn’t comment on the issue.

The minor narrated how she used to come very early to the market to sample market for her aunty. That on one occasion, Stephen Akpoguma asked her to come and help him carry his tomatoes. While trying to help him, he dragged her and pushed her into an empty store. That she was shouting but he covered her mouth and promised to buy her something.

That since then, Stephen has been sexually abusing until her guardian began to notice it. That few months ago, Stephen Akpoguma, bought Okazi leaf and asked her to drop it up-stair but did not meet him. Later, Stephen asked me to follow him to the back of the Filling Station opposite the market. I told him that I don’t want to do that thing again.

That she later returned back to the shop and Stephen asked to sell the Okazi leaf, which angered Mrs. Blessing Ibe to question the relationship between her and Stephen. That she told Mrs. Blessing Ibe, after being questioned at home.

The DCO insist on conducting pregnancy test, before the case will continue. However, the project officer, insists that the matter before should not only be discussed from that angle, as the offence committed by the suspect amount to sexual violence and rape. Pregnancy test conducted test negative.

The matter was referred to Officer in Charge, Human Rights, Force Headquarter’s Moscow road, Port-Harcourt. Case file was transferred to her and all parties were invited to her office. The case has been disposed due to time bound. Victim alleged that the last sexual abuse by Stephen took place in May, 2014. Which is beyond two month state by law. However, Mr. Stephen Akpoguma, was made to signed an undertaken not to have any contact with her again after being detained for two night.

On the 17th July 2014, Ndukwe, 23 years old, rape Happiness Caleb- 17 years old.

Happiness went into Ndukwe’s house in the company of her friend, Etim who later left when her attention was needed by her aunt. Ndukwe was in the Kitchen.

He came in, picked her Book and started reading, she read with him and stood up to go. Ndukwe called her back requesting to have sex with her. She refused and he empowered her. She bled and he gave a drug and put her on Phone to talk to a Nurse. The nurse asked her over the Phone if she has told her mother, she said “No” and she asked her to do so, this is why she is in the Hospital. Ndukwe was arrested by the Police for rape.

HAPPINESS CONFESSIONS:

1.         Ndukwe has been asking her out before now.

2.       She has never had sex before this incidence.

3.       She will prefer that the case does not go to Court.

4.       She feels pity rather than hate for Ndukwe because he is in detention.

The project officer during visit to the victim that was admitted at Florida Specialist Hospital Okporo Road, Port – Harcourt , accompanied by other CPN members counseled the minor that:

1.         Sex is for adults not for teenagers, it will not take her far in life if she indulges in it.

2.       Early exposure to sex leads to prostitution.

3.       She should avoid Ndukwe that took advantage of her

4.       Asked her to get over the incidence and pay attention to her studies.

She pleaded with the team to ask her dad to release Ndukwe from detention.

Happiness is from Akwa Ibom State, she lives at 10 Happy Close, by Farm Road 2, Eliozu.

The matter like many others could not be charged to court due to closure of the court in Rivers State.

FOLLOW UP CASES FROM LAST QUARTER

Amarachi Ordu, 12 years old girl rape at gun point by Usman at Railway in March 2014. Suspect is in prison custody. But the child is out of control due to the mother’s life (prostitution). She encourages the minor to go after men for monetary reward. We have had series of visit to home to discuss the risk that associated with her trade and potential danger that she is exposing her daughter by bringing her customer home to have sex.

We have also provided victim support to the family after her refusal to feed her child that there is no money, In order to push the minor out to men.

Initially, the child was responding to our visits but suddenly losse interest each time we visit. We are making effort to see if can collaborate with the Ministry of Social Welfare whether they can have custody of the child or foster home where they child can also accept to other family members.

CHILD RIGHTS EDUCATION CENTRE

The centre received children who comes to borrowed book, study or received help to do their assignment. A total number 32 pupils visited the centre during this quarter under reviewed and benefited from food and transportation at the centre. However, the re-assigning of the office assistance (Queen Nwibari) in early June, 2014, made it difficult for the children to come to the centre more often than anticipated.

REPORT ON ONE DAY on SENTIZATION MEETING TO AIMED AT INSPIRING COMMUNITY ACTION AGAINST THE PREVALENCE OF CHILD ABUSE, AT TARIKORO COMMUNITY, PORT- HARCOURT

The meeting was organized to engage stakeholders in the community on the role they can play to protect children in their community. The programme took place on the 23rd August 2014, at 3pm with 41 persons in attendance.

The meeting started at 4:03 Pm, with community chiefs, woman leader and youth in attendance. Opening prayer was done by Ogechi Joshua, this was followed by a brief introduction of community leaders.

Michael Gbarale moderated during the session and asks pretest questions on who is a child? Why should we even discuss issue on child/ children?

What is child abuse? Who can abuse your child? What are the rights of children? Where to make complains and how community leaders can tackle incident of child abuse.

All these received different answers from the participants during the deliberation. At the end of the discussion the following were achieved during the post test

Who is a child?

We all accepted that the fectus in the womb, and child born from zero hours to the age 18 years old. Reason for being that the various legal frames works such as the UNCRC, ACRWC and Child Act, all accept children with in this age as a child.

Why should we discussed issues relating to a child/children- Respones

·        They are born into this world helpless and depend on others to survive

·        They are innocent and do not suspect others may advantage of them

·        You can easily win their trust, so therefore they can be deceive

·        They are special people that requires protection

·        They are the worst hit during conflict

·        They are precious gift from God and therefore needs to cherish and nurture to maturity.

What is child abuse? Opinions from participants.

§  Flogging

§  Sending a child to hawk during school hours

§  Rape

§  Maltreatment of another person living with you.

§  Child labour

§  Refusal to pay your child school fee

What are the rights of children?

Ø Right to school (Education)

Ø Right to life

Ø Right to name

Ø Rights to play

Where to complain?

§  Police Station

§  Ministry of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation

§  Child Protection Vanguards in the community

§  NDCRW project officer phone number as contact for any assistance

How community leaders can tackle incidents of child abuse?                                  

v Community leaders can facilitate the arrest of suspects of child abuse

v Banished offended of child rape

v Pass local laws that condemned the abuse of children sexually.

REPORT ON MENTORING OF STREET CHILD

The second phase of the project was characterized with some challenges carry over due to the burglary incident by one the street child who was banished on the project to serve as deterrent to others and to also protect the relationship between the property owner and other tenants in the building.

As a result of that the venue of the mentorship and dance classes were moved to Prowa Nursery and Primary School, Port – Harcourt. We witnessed a large turn out from the beginning but toward the end of June 2014, we experience low participation due to the following reasons

·        They complained about the distance of the venue

·        That even though transport is provided before the next mentorship class/ dance, they spend it.

·        Bigger boys usually search them to obtained them to smoke hard drugs

Mentoring Class report

Our activities in the quarter focus on mentoring them against negative tendencies that lure them into criminal and other cult related activities. This became very necessary due the environment in which they find themselves. The relationship we have developed with these children has given insight into the environment they find themselves and how they survive within this domain.

They are surrounded by cultists, who forced them to joined their Deegbam Cult Group. Some of the street children on this project are members of this group, however, they play auxiliary role.

Base on the information share among them during our mentor, we decided mentor them on the negative effects of crime and how the state response to those issues.

We have played a significance role in ensuring that they do not engage in any negative conduct that lead to their being arrest by the police. During the period under review, we had no reported case of arrest by the security agencies or they their involvement in any crime or cult related activities. We also wish to mentioned that this was possible through the collaboration Demerillac Centre for Street Children and Association Badamia, where sometime make referral and also exchange ideas on how best we provide services to these children.

We focus on two core areas in our intervention

1.         Raising their awareness on the dangers associated with being involved in criminal activities. Some of the key points during our mentoring classes are as follows.

Ø Risk of being arrest by security agencies

Ø Detention

Ø Torture/ cruel and human treatment

Ø Possibility of being lynched, burn alive, stone to death or killed by security agencies.

Ø Bad reputation

Ø Imprisonment

Ø Stigmatized as ex- convict

Ø Rejection by friends, family members and the society.

Ø Abandoned in prison due to no follow up by relatives.

Ø Hardship

Ø Loss of freedom

Ø Possibility of being a harden criminal due to mix up with other offenders

2.         We also focus on the use of hard substance and its negative effects on them and other members of the society. Our interaction with these street children on this project, revealed the extent to which children on the project and others living on the streets are exposed to hard drugs such marijuana and cocaine.  Street children are not users of this hard substance but they are also willing tools in the hands of drug peddlers on the streets, who see them as cheap labour and often not suspected by security agencies to sell or move this hard substance that is being hunted by the security agencies.

It became our responsibility to began the process of mentoring them on the dangers they may likely face as drug users or as peddlers of drugs. Part of our mentoring orientation focuses on the imminent dangers they are likely to face and this includes;

(a)    Unhealthy life styles

(b)    Fear of being arrest by security agencies

(c)    Easy manipulation to coming crime under the influence of drugs.

(d)    Long term imprisonment

(e)    Mental impairment

(f)     Drug addiction

(g)    Insanity

The other activities on the project includes –

Football game- We organized football session for them to exercise them and inter face without children from the home. This is done after mentorship or dance class to see how they relate with other children. We also discovered that some of them are good footballers, while others manage to participate to keep themselves busy.

Michael Ben sustained injury on his leg while running away from police while they were going to bury one of the street child who just passed away.

The deceased was attacked by cultists loyal to the market master at mile 1 market. Though, the police are aware of the incident, they did not arrest the market master or the cult boys who killed Michael’s friend.

On that day, some boys gathered along the railways market at mile 1 playing gamble, information gathered from the street children reopened that the brother to the market master refused to pay the winner of the gamble. They ended up forcing him to pay but reported to his brother that he was being attacked and his money was forcefully taken from him.

The market master ordered his boys and later in the night while Michael and other street children were sleeping, they were attacked, and the victim was stabbed in his sleep and died in the early hours of that same day.

According to Michael, the deceased was not around when the incident took place, including some of them that received beating.

The street children for some time disappear and tracing them became difficult for us until few weeks later.

None of them want to speak further on the issue due to the influence of the market master, whom they alleged must have bribed the police.

Plan for next quarter.

The agitation to organize another camp outside Port- Harcourt have often been emphasized by the children during the classes. It is base on their recommendation that we  have agree that we shall be organizing another 7 days camp between November / December 2014 in the same venue. Resources for the camp will be expended through the amount funded for their up keep on the project.  Programmes for the 7 days shall be drawn up by the camp director (Michael Gbarale) and the Dance Instructor (Gift Nwogu) on the project.

Activities shall includes:

·        Mentorship classes

·        Dance classes

·        Morning jogging

·        Football games

·        Swimming etc.

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