From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Leader of the Coalition of Gender-Based Violence Responders and Executive Director of Men Against Rape Foundation Lemmy Ughegbe has accused the FCT Police Command of investigating the rape and consequent death of a 14-year-old boarding student of Premiere Academy, Lugbe, Abuja, Keren-Happuch Aondodoo Akpagher, of undermining the process by giving advance information on to the school whereas it refused to give same to the family of the deceased.
This is even as Mrs Vivien Akpagher, mother of the deceased has lamented that all she wants is a closure to her daughter’s death, saying “I have not slept since the 22nd of June, 2021 when my daughter died. I just want closure. I want the police to give us justice. I am tired of all these games.”
Speaking at a press conference in Abuja, Ughegbe said whereas the FCT Police Command flagrantly denied the family access to the medical report and autopsy report or detailed information thereof, it was more generous with availing Premiere Academy of the information contained in the said autopsy.
He stressed that no amount of threat of defamation and court will cow the Coalition of GBV Responders from seeking justice for Keren even if she is now deceased.
“Last week, I received a “love letter” from the law firm of Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN) acting for Premiere Academy, wherein it threatened to take out an action of defamation against me. In the said letter dated 3rd of September 2021, the law firm confirmed that they already have details of the autopsy report as they made disclosure of the content of the autopsy report. Specifically, on Page 2 of the four-page letter signed by Head of Chambers, Mr Eyitayo Fatogun, it stated ‘there has been an autopsy carried out on the body of late Karen and no condom or semen was detected’, Ughegbe stated.
“This is another inconvertible evidence that the police was conniving with the school and conferring them with undue advantage by giving them information regarding its investigation on one hand and refusing Keren’s family same on the other hand,” he said.
He said the disclosure in the letter from the law firm of the eminent Senior Advocate was even more disturbing when the police had declare its unwillingness to disclose information about the autopsy report to the complainant and mother of the deceased.
“The police received the autopsy report exactly three weeks ago, but were silent on it. Following that silence, two weeks and 2 days after the police had received the report, a lawyer for the family of the deceased had to apply for a copy of the autopsy report and the medical report pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act. This caused Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Mr Fom Pam Joseph to invite the lawyer as well as Premiere Academy and their lawyer to the command”, Ughegbe stated.
He noted that during that meeting, the DCP Joseph told the lawyer for the deceased family that it was refusing the FOI request for the autopsy report and medical report and instead proceeded to read a terse narrative of the coroner inquest and not the autopsy report.
“You can see how distraught Keren’s mother is. She is unable to speak because what is more disheartening for her is the clear mishandling of the case and the biases they have shown against her. Imagine depriving her of information, medical report and autopsy report, yet the same police give the same information it denied her to the people she took a complaint to the police against”, he lamented.
He said the coalition and Keren’s family have no faith at all in the FCT Police Command and were making effort to get information to the ears of the Inspector General of Police on the shenanigan of his men regarding the case.
His words: “We know this Inspector General of Police is a true gentleman and an officer, who will not tolerate such misconduct. Gentlemen of the press, please help us get to the ears of the IGP. We need this case moved away from the FCT Command immediately. They say they want to do DNA for some male staff. We cannot trust their process because of their antecedents on the matter. We will therefore ask the IGP to move the case to the Force Gender Office which has a track record of handling cases of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) professionally without minding whose ox is gored.”
Also speaking, Mrs Akpagher urged journalists to help her and her family find closure by ensuring that this case is not swept under the carpet.
It would be recalled that her daughter was allegedly raped in her school, Premiere Academy, Lugbe, condom left inside her, which infected her with sepsis resulting in her death.