Home Education Parents, students rally in support of Stephens Children Home director facing rape...

Parents, students rally in support of Stephens Children Home director facing rape charges

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By Michael Adesanya/Abeokuta
Following the rape allegation against the Director of Stephens Children Home, Abeokuta, Rev. Oluwole Isaac Owusu-Newton, some mothers and students of the home have cried out for help for the embattled educationist.
The Director is currently standing trial at Isabo High Court over alleged child molestation and rape case levied against him by past students of the school.
But the protesters argued that the arraignment was a plot by some alumni of the home was to destroy the institution which they benefited from, as well as the future of its current students.
The mothers, who were mostly widows from the Northern part of the country, described the action as nefarious, saying they are bitter and sad about the action.
Speaking on behalf of the mothers, Mrs. Jummai Leawat told journalists that the former students have sold their hearts for greed and selfish gains.
She added that the trial has affected the home in diverse ways, revealing that some of the children have lost their scholarships to the “evil activities” of the forces.
Leawat explained that the home now find it difficult to cater for the basic needs of the inmates, stressing that the mothers now have to solicit for funds to help the home.
According to her, whenever their wards came for holidays, they always report how they were well catered for without any news of child abuse.
Her words: “Our hearts are filled with bitterness and sadness on hearing the cries of our children about their home gradually being destroyed by their past senior students, who have sold their hearts for greed and selfish gain and have been campaigning for the closure of the home that served them and others for 19 years.
“These campaigns pose a great threat to the future of our children and have adversely affected the children . Many of our children have lost their scholarships because of these evil activities. Some of them that were not opportune to return back to school have been seen on different occasions doing hard jobs and street hawking to fend for themselves as they have no one to provide for them again.
“It is so disheartening that some of the widows, whose children benefited and have benefited and have completed their studies in the home, can join forces against the home. Every attack on the Stephens Children home is a direct attack on the future of our children “.
Leawat therefore called on the past students of the centre to stop what he described as ” evil business” on the home.
She urged the former students to face their businesses, insisting “Please, leave our children alone and face your own business. They have equal right to be educated as you (past students). Leave them alone”.
Leawat however appealed to people of goodwill not to relent in helping the children to build their future, appealing to them to save the home and the current inmates future.
She also thanks the people of Abeokuta for embracing their children.
Speaking on behalf of the students, David Sarah, an SS 2 student who came into the home in 2009 from Plateau State, said the home has being their heaven on earth.
She disclosed that the home has given her everything she has, insisting that she has received everything with love and care in the home.
“This is home is my heaven on earth since I came here in 2009. The home has given me everything I want since I was brought here when my father died. They gave me free education, free feeding and free clothing”.
Achenege Aaron, an SS3 student of the school from Kogi state, said their past students are just fighting for unworthy course, saying the home have been treating them well.
Newton-Wusu, who is standing trial in a five -count charge, bothering on rape and indecent assault, among others, was granted bail sum of N5 million at the Isabo High Court and two sureties in like sum with evidences of developed properties within the jurisdiction of the Court as well as evidences of three years tax payment.
He was arraigned in court for allegedly rapping a 12-year-old female student of the home, Deborah Bala in 2010 after drugging her.
The prosecuting counsel, Solomon Maren told the court that the Director of the school drugged the girl and raped her on four occasions.
He further told the court that four other girls: Susan Rayner (14), Eunice Bitrus (14), Rifkatu Musa (15) as well as Elizabeth Dogo who were inmates of the Stephen’s school all fell victims of Newton-Wusu’s sexual harassment between years 2008 and 2010.
According  to the charge, the director within year 2007 and 2008 indecently assaulted Eunice  Bitrus, Rifkatu Miss and Susan Rayner by squeezing and fondling  their breasts.
He told the court that the offence contravened  section 358, 359, 360, of the Criminal  Code laws of Ogun 2016 as ammended.
The accused however, pleaded not guilty  to the five count charge preferred against him at the court.
The defence counsel, Samuel Nwaji prayed the court to grant his client bail in liberal terms, stressing that the offences are billable.
 Nwaji claimed that the accused has health issues which requires him to attend hospital daily, stressing that his client had to attend the court from his hospital bed.
The presiding Judge, Solomon Olugbemi who granted the accused  bail ordered that the sureties must own a landed property  within the court jurisdiction and must have the approval  of building plan  documents.
He also ordered that the sureties must produce evidence of three years tax payment to the Ogun State government.
The case was adjourned till 4th April, 2019 for hearing of the preliminary objection.