CROSS RIVERS, Nigeria – Parents in Cross River State have protested the re-engagement of a teacher, Mr Valentine Offiong who allegedly abused some students sexually.
The incident reportedly occurred on Thursday at the School compound in Ekorinim in Calabar Municipal local government area of Cross River State
The protesters said they learned about the re-engagement of the suspect by a school after he was dismissed by the management on alleged violation of minors.
The protesters decried the action of the school management by re-engagement of the suspect and raised the alarm, expressing fear that the suspect could still have access to their wards and children.
The parents threatened to sue the school authority if it insists on re-engaging the suspect who has been laid off twice for the same reason.
One of the parents, Mrs Rosemary Ekong said she once drew the attention of the school sometime before the COVID-19 lockdown over suggestive videos, graphic materials and amorous SMS the suspect sent to her 12-year-old daughter.
“Such act had demoralised and made her afraid having heard that he had allegedly been caught before violating underage children,” she said.
Mrs Ekong had threatened to approach the police and the court because, according to her, withdrawing her daughter from the school silently may allow such criminal act to continue.
Reacting, the school administrator, Mrs Bridget Amgbah acknowledged that the alleged child molester had been sacked before the COVID-19 lockdown and had not been part of the school even when they conducted online classes.
“It is not true that we have re-engaged him. He is not on our payroll. He has not been with us over eight months ago before COVID19. He is a fine arts teacher and good at decoration.
“We merely invited him to help decorate some offices before the full resumption of the school next week. It is true that a particular parent came with such complaint and showed us what we saw as inappropriate text messages and sexual graphics and we had to invite the suspect.
“We had apologised to the parent and sacked the man. Our school is well known for discipline and reputed to counsel our children. The children are our first priority, reasons we have a full-time counsellor.
“We guard jealously against any form of harm to them. We have school clubs where students are encouraged to open up on such issues. Let me reiterate that as a mother who has her own biological children, I can never re-engage one that was sacked over unhealthy allegations”, she said.
Also reacting, head of Child Network Protection, Barrister James Ibor said: “The school ought to report the matter to the police and department of social welfare for thorough investigation and clearance. They must not put the lives of the children at risk by re-engaging him” he said