By NoÃ© Christophe
Almost six months ago, Premiere Academy entered the media spotlight when news broke that one of its students, Karen Happuch Akpagher, had died in a hospital in Abuja.
News of the 14-year-old diabetic patient’s death on June 22, 2021 quickly became a hot topic as several press articles authoritatively claimed that she had been raped to death, sodomized and forced to take an oath. of secrecy.
As expected, the Nigerian Police Force, first through the FCT Police Command and later the Office of the Inspector General of Police, promptly opened investigations into the case in June, leading to an autopsy performed in July.
Several other government agencies such as the Ministry of Education, the Directorate of Quality Assurance, the National Human Rights Commission and a few other external bodies have also looked into the case by carrying out inquiries and investigations. at various scales and from different angles.
The PTA and the Premiere Academy board have also carried out internal investigations. However, despite all investigations, the answer to the key Who / What Killed Karen question has not been found. Interestingly, none of these investigations indicted the school or led to the shutdown of its activities.
Perhaps, tired of waiting for official police reports on the autopsy and investigation and seeking to prevent the matter from being silenced, Lemmy Ughegbe, an Abuja-based journalist, human rights activist and landlord one school immediately activated its NGO, Coalition of Gender-Based Violence Responders, to promote the cause of justice for Karen Akpagher.
With Karen’s mother by his side, Lemmy Ughegbe and GBV Responders launched a coordinated advocacy on multiple fronts spanning the media and political institutions, with the goal of hanging Karen’s death at Premiere Academy.
The evidence, according to the group’s media interventions, is a report allegedly handed over to the Akpagher family by Queen’s Hospital in Abuja, according to which decomposed condom particles were found in the genitals of the deceased teenager, in addition to dead sperm.
No audio or video recording of the victim accusing the school or any staff of raping or sexually assaulting her; no mention of rape or sexual assault in the victim’s diary (some media reports have raised entries); no conclusive report of the autopsy observed by all parties and supervised by the police; no report from the police or a private investigator has surfaced to substantiate the rape allegation to date.
To pervert the cause of justice …
In what appears to be frustration over the failure of the coordinated campaign to push relevant state and non-state institutions to condemn the school crowd-style, the GBV Responders further accused the school of prevent the Akpagher family from obtaining justice.
The coordinated social media campaign to advance this point of view claimed that the owner of the school is a very connected Nigerian, he was using his connection to obstruct justice for Karen.
However, to accuse a school that opened its doors and provided its officials with no less than 16 inquiries, invitations, inquiries and interviews on the Karen affair by several interested organizations from June 25 to December 9 of persecuting the cause of justice seems unfair. .
Oddly, a check at the school revealed that the GBV responders who defended this claim were one of the NGOs that visited the school on July 3 to investigate.
In addition to the police, other people also visited the school, including the Federal Council for Competition and Consumer Protection (July 2), the Directorate of Quality Assurance, FCT headquarters (July 2) , NAPPS, FCT chapter (July 9), Abuja municipal area. Council (July 9), Federal Ministry of Education (October 8), Association of Nigerian Women Students, FCT Chapter (July 22), NANS, FCT Chapter (July 22) and FCIID (several between November 9 and December 9) .
None of the visitors accused the school of non-cooperation or of obstructing the investigation. Perhaps this is what prompted the school to continue to declare that it had nothing to hide and that it would always welcome any noble efforts made to shed light on this sad event.
Trying to prove his innocence and refute the charge of perverting the cause of justice, the school said it wrote three letters to the police demanding the release of the autopsy report and the investigation report on the case.
From the copies seen, the first letter dated August 27, 2021 was addressed to the FCT Police Command while two other letters dated December 1, 2021 and December 6, 2021 respectively were addressed to the Inspector General of Police. Although the police acknowledged receipt of the three letters, they did not respond to any of them or answer the school’s prayer. It is doubtful whether the school’s action fits the charge of obstructing the cause of justice
Distort the story to meet a goal …
It appears that in order to hang the school for the rape allegation, efforts had to be made to show that Karen left the school premises on June 19 in “severe pain and barely able to walk” ( to quote a respected columnist and social commentator who weighed in on the issue) when she got home, never to go back to school.
The facts are sacred. So here are some indisputable facts our investigation revealed about how Karen left school campus on the fateful day.
First of all, she was chosen at school by her mother herself (with one of her uncles who always came to pick her up and drop her off on the mother’s instructions). She walked out of the school gate unaided, carrying her luggage to meet her mother. Her mother received her; they got into the same vehicle and were brought home by his mother.
It is doubtful that if she was in pain and could not walk or showed any sign of discomfort, the mother would not immediately contact the school and / or take her directly to the hospital. But, the mother drove with her from school without any complaints and they went home together.
Additionally, she was at home with the mother from the 19th to the 21st when the mother said she developed a health crisis which required her to be taken to hospital IMMEDIATELY on the 21st.
School CCTV clips on YouTube (https://youtu.be/hqOa2jg_Ym8) shows Karen at school from June 17th until she left school on 19th. Before leaving school, she went to an ophthalmologist outside the school, on the mother’s instruction, the same June 19. The school’s academic record also shows that she took CA tests on Friday, June 18.
Could a 14-year-old have been so superhuman to effortlessly hide her pains and appear bubbly while taking on all the multitasking that filled her day the late Karen way?
The late Karen, let us remember, was a diabetic patient under constant medical supervision. She had been diagnosed with diabetes since the age of nine.
DNA as a path pointer …
The House of Representatives has ordered that a DNA test be carried out on all male staff of the Premiere Academy, in order to find the alleged perpetrator of the rape. If the directive is laudable, our investigation shows that it is even necessary to widen the net in view of certain peculiarities discovered in Akpagher’s family environment.
For example, it was discovered that Karen had two older brothers who were also students of the same Premiere Academy with her. While one graduated in 2020, the other was still a student at school until after the unfortunate event.
She also has a guardian uncle who, it was discovered, would always pick her up and drop her off at school. According to an unconfirmed report, this uncle threw a birthday party for Karen and some of her friends at a restaurant in town on April 10 to mark her 14th birthday. Uncle, we learned later, took her to the party.
It was also learned that the same uncle only chose Karen at school during the id-al-Fitri break on May 12 while leaving his brother behind to observe the school break. This, according to the survey, turned out to be a departure from the regular practice of picking and dropping the two students together.
Upon further investigation, it was discovered that while Salah’s said break was due to end on May 16, Karen was not returned to school by her uncle until May 23, 7 days after the resumption.
She was to die a month later; allegedly as a result of a rape whose characteristics, according to her mother and the GBV Responders, left rotten condom particles in her genitals.
With the late Karen surrounded by two brothers who have their other male friends visiting Akpagher’s house as well as an uncle who turned out to be primarily responsible for the pick-up and drop-off at school, it is only fair and sensible to look far beyond the school to unravel the question of who might have raped the teenager, if indeed she had been raped.
Justice begins with disclosures …
For justice to be done and seen to be done in Karen Akpagher’s case, the police must release the autopsy and investigation reports. So many questions that require answers can remain unresolved until police reports are released.
According to a cross-section of analysts’ opinion, all parties to the case – the Akpagher family, GBV Responders and Premiere Academy – should jointly and individually pressure the police to do what is necessary rather than continue to throw mud and promote savagery. , unfounded accusations, unless the mud throws are intended to achieve a goal that the general public does not yet know.