A non-governmental outfit, Child Protection Network, CPN, Ogun State chapter, has petitioned the Ogun State Police Command and the state governor to investigate allegations of sexual abuse and child labour against the director of a displaced children centre in Abeokuta.
On Tuesday, January 9, some youngsters addressed a press conference in Abeokuta narrating their ordeals while they were at the centre. They alleged that the centre director, Isaac Newton-Wusu, was fond of abusing female children at the centre sexually and also engaged in child labour.
Two of them, accompanied by their parents, narrated how they were allegedly sexually abused by the director.
In a new twist to the development, CPN on Friday submitted a petition to the Commissioner of Police, Ahmed Ilyasu, calling on him to wade into the matter.
Signed by Olakunle Sanni (Coordinator) and Bukola Oladele (Secretary), the network also copied the petition to the Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun; Speaker House of Assembly; Ministry of Education, Science and Technology; Ministry of Justice; Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development; and Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs.
The petition was titled, ‘Request for Immediate Action on an Alleged Sexual Abuse, Child Labour and Neglect of Rescued Children of the Northern Religious Crisis Housed at Stephen Children Centre at Aregbe, Abeokuta’.
“We humbly write to request for immediate action on alleged cases of sexual abuse, child labour and neglect of children housed at Stephen Children Centre, Aregbe, Abeokuta by the Director of the Centre, Rev Isaac Oluwole Newton-Wusu,” the petition reads.
“These allegations were made by a team of concerned past students of the Stephen Centre at a press briefing held at Iwe-Iroyin, Oke-Ilewo, Abeokuta on Tuesday 5th January 2018. At the briefing, some of the victims in company of their parents were present to confirm the allegation, tell their stories and publicly shared their sad and pathetic experiences and abuse suffered while at the centre.”
In line with Child Rights Law of Ogun State, the network asked for through investigation into the matter, as well as temporary take-over the running of the centre by the government pending the outcome of full investigation.
Similarly, the body demanded that the director, “be called to order to stop the incessant threat to the lives of both the past and present beneficiaries of the centre.”
“While hoping that urgent steps will be taken to address these concerns, we use this opportunity to assure you of our readiness to work with government in carrying necessary actions on this matter as well as keep every child in Ogun State soil safe in line with the Ogun State standard often preached by our dear and active Governor,” the petition added.
The centre was established in Abeokuta in 2000 to accommodate displaced children across Nigeria It focuses much of its attention on children from the northern part of the country.
Meanwhile, the embattled director dismissed all the allegations. He said “it was an attempt to blackmail him by some alleged sponsors (and) to take over the centre from him.”
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