An online petition has been launched on the web-based petition aggregator, change.org, seeking a probe into the death of Keren-Happuch, a 14-year-old boarding house pupil of Premiere Academy, Lugbe, Abuja, who was allegedly raped.
SaharaReporters observed that the petition already had 134 signatories as of the time of filing this report out of the 200 signatures it sought.
The petition was started by one Franklin Obesta to the UNICEF, Human Rights Campaign, Hillary Clinton, Change.org, the United Nations and United States Department of Health and Human Services.
The petitioner stated that the school had to provide some answers as to how a condom got into the body of the 14-year-old, who was at the time at the school's boarding facility.
It read, “This petition is for Keren-Happuch Aondodoo Akpagher, a 14 year-old student of Premiere Academy, Lugbe, Abuja, Nigeria who was raped, sodomised anally, bullied into silence, and died of septic shock from a condom left in her genitals.
”The school management has successfully stonewalled and prevented all information from emerging.
”The post-mortem examination on the body of the deceased confirmed that Keren-Happuch had “whitish patches and excoriations on the labia majora and patulous anal opening and laxed anal sphincter with hymen absent”, which they argued is “a clear confirmation of sexual abuse that is rape and sodomisation of Keren-Happuch.
”Let the school management stop their media claims that Keren-Happuch died of diabetes and provide answers to the autopsy report and explain how condom got into the deceased genitals since she stayed in the boarding school.
”Personally, I have been a victim of rape at the age of 12. I battled the memories of my abuses up to 25 years. The experience created an unusual hatred in me towards people and it greatly affected my social life.
"On the account of recovering from the mental effect of the abuses I suffered from the abuse, I take seriously all cases of rape till justice is served or the victim is healed.”
SaharaReporters recall that in July, mother of the victim, Vihimga Akpagher, lamented the death of her child while attributing it to carelessness on the part of the school management.
According to the mother of the deceased, Karen-Happuch was alleged to have died of an infection after a condom was found in her private part.
It was believed that the girl was sexually abused in the school before her mother took her to the hospital on June 19, 2021 for treatment.
Karen-Happuch, however, died two days later in a hospital in the Wuse 2 area of Abuja.
Vihigma said her daughter had called her a few days before her death, asking her to come and withdraw her from the school due to the state of her health.
She said though the school was unwilling to release the pupil and even argued that there was no need to fret, her daughter remained adamant and even cried that she wanted to go home.
Vihimga was quoted as saying, “When I called the principal, he said my daughter would need to be isolated for five days (upon her return). I felt that I should go home since the school said it could take care of her. On my way home, my daughter called again using the school’s phone and asked where I was. I told her that I came, but turned back and she started crying.
“So, I got angry and asked her why she was stressing me since she would be returning home soon for the holiday. So, she asked to speak to her uncle. She said, ‘You people don’t know why I am asking you to come and pick me and you are leaving."
The bereaved mum said she was still contemplating on whether to return to the school or not when she was informed by the housemother that her daughter could hardly walk the day before, and advised that the young girl be taken to a hospital for a proper check-up.
She added that she picked up her daughter, but when Karen-Happuch was brought home, she was not her usual self and seemed withdrawn.
The mother narrated, “When we got home, she wasn’t her usual happy self. She switched off all the lights. She could not even look at us in the face. She slept throughout that day and ate some food.
“But by the morning of Monday, June 21, 2021, I noticed that her condition had deteriorated and took her to hospital, and while examining her, the doctor saw a discharge, ran a test, and discovered that it was a condom that was left in her. They tested her urine and it contained sperm; and like that, infection and sepsis led to her death.
“I picked her up on June 19 and she died on June 21. She slipped into a coma and died. She was traumatised.”
Vihimga said she challenged Premiere Academy but the institution promised to look into the matter.
When asked if she was sure that Karen-Happuch was defiled at the school and not at home, Vihimga said, “My daughter was diabetic. If that thing had been in her for one month, she would have died long ago.”
She also alleged that she got information that at least three employees of the school had been dismissed for sexual abuse, but the management was more concerned with protecting its image.
Meanwhile, the school issued an official statement countering the statement of the mother.
The school stated that Karen left the school in a healthy condition as opposed to what her mother said.