The Akwa Ibom State Police Command said on Wednesday that seven suspects connected to the Deeper Life High School child molestation scandal had been charged. The suspects, including 45-year-old Ndidi Solomon and four others, were arraigned before a magistrates’ court, while two students mentioned were arraigned at a juvenile court.
The command said in a statement by the Public Relations Officer, Odiko Macdon, said the arraignment followed a petition from one Mrs Deborah Archibong to the Commissioner of Police, Andrew Amiengheme.
The statement titled: ‘Suspects connected to the Deeper Life High School crisis charged to court’, read in part, “Consequent upon a petition from one Mrs Deborah Okezie Archibong to the Commissioner of Police, Akwa Ibom State, Andrew Amiengheme, and upon the commissioner’s directive for a discreet investigation into the issues contained therein, one Mrs Ndidi Solomon, aged 45, and four other staff (members), including two students, whose actions or inactions negated extant laws have been today (Wednesday) charged to court. While Mrs Ndidi Solomon and four others were charged to the magistrates’ court, the two students were charged to the Juvenile Court.”
The CP, while noting that it was only expedient for matters of this nature to be quickly investigated and the courts allowed to decide on the merits, called on school authorities to take the welfare and discipline of their students seriously.
However, contrary to the police statement, the four suspects, who were meant to be arraigned before the Uyo Magistrates’ Court could not be arraigned due to the absence of the magistrate. Counsel for the defendants, Fidelis Igwe, said, “The police brought seven accused persons, five were staff members of the school and two of them were students and minors. They were not arraigned because we were informed that the Chief Magistrate was not around, but that she would be around tomorrow (Thursday).”
Igwe accused the police of keeping the court in the dark even to the point of arraignment. He stated, “The police have not told us what these people are to be charged for. They just called them out and asked them to come to court. They have neither briefed their lawyers nor the management of the school. We have been going there (police station) for introduction and interrogation, but when we got there yesterday (Tuesday), after interviewing them the police said they were going to detain them, but they told us nothing thereafter.”
Counsel for the claimant, David Okokon, explained that the reason why the court did not sit was an administrative issue, saying that the police and the court did not have the same modalities. Okokon accused the medical doctor, who was indicted in the matter, of engaging in crude practice, adding that he would petition the Nigerian Medical Association.