Outrage trails conduct of virginity test by principal

The virginity test conducted on the pupils of Ajuwon Senior High School, Ajuwon, Ogun State by their Principal, Rev. Olufunke Oladeojobi, has continued to attract public outrage

Doctors, lawyers and human rights activists who spoke with PUNCH Metro on Wednesday and Thursday condemned Oladeojobi’s action and described it as an “assault” on the pupils.

They called on the law enforcement agents to ensure that the matter was not swept under the carpet, insisting that the case be properly investigated and the motive behind her action was ascertained.

Principal’s action medically wrong –Doctor

Senior Registrar Obstetrician and Gynecologist, Federal Medical Centre, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Dr. Taiwo Gbenga, said the action of the principal “was not only morally wrong but medically incongruent.”

Gbenga said nobody had the right to conduct such a test on females, adding that virginity test was “not part of routine medical examination.”

The doctor said, “The action of the school principal and the nurse which culminated into dipping fingers into the pupils’ private parts is medically wrong.

“Even if patients present diseases related to virginal discharge, we (doctors) don’t have the right to start dipping hands into their private parts as it amounts to undue invasion of their privacy.

“The best we do is to conduct a rectal examination which is done through the anus or better still put them in a position whereby we can make our expert observation.”

Gbenga said the bleeding by the pupils might have been caused by broken hymen, adding that they had also been exposed to the risk of infection.

He said, “Those pupils need urgent medical attention as we are not sure if gloves were used during the test.

“Even if gloves were used, another source of concern is if the gloves used were sterile.The girls may contract infections through the use of non-sterile gloves.”

Oladeojobi’s conduct is actionable – Lawyers

Chairman, Nigerian Bar Association, Ikeja branch, Mr. Monday Ubani, expressed shock at the incident and called for Oladeojobi’s prosecution for indecent assault.

He said, “The principal has made those pupils to undergo unwarranted psychological trauma and pains. The police should diligently do their job and get to the root of the matter.

“The excuse that medical tests and examination were not carried out immediately on the affected pupils as soon as the incident happened should not be taken as an excuse to make her escape justice.

“The police should charge her to court as soon as investigations are concluded and allow the court to decide her fate.”

Lagos-based human rights lawyer, Mr. Bamidele Aturu, described the principal’s action as “bestial” adding that by her action she had inadvertently “defiled” the pupils.

He said, “These pupils we are talking about are minors, whose rights are fully protected under the laws of the land. She has not only assaulted them, but she has succeeded in raping, battering and defiling them.”

President Women Arise, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, said the principal’s act was barbaric, callous, unethical, discriminatory, as well as an abuse of authority.

She said, “The principal has simply imposed her private moral principles on those placed under her watch and this is a serious breach of the pupils’ right.

“The act is criminal and it violates international conventions of civil rights and the universal declaration of human rights. The principal must be immediately prosecuted so that this impunity is stopped.”

She may have psychological stress –Psychiatrist

A Registrar Psychiatrist, Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba, Lagos, Dr. Wale Ogunlowo, said Oladeojobi needed to undergo medical examination to ascertain whether she had psychological stress or not.

According to him, what the principal did was a “modified form of rape,” adding that she might be suffering from a major depressive disorder.

He said, “Away from the criminal aspect of it, I think the principal needs to see a psychiatrist for a thorough medical examination with a view to rehabilitating her and forestalling a recurrence of this incident.

“This incident might predispose the pupils to depression, personality and psychological changes as well as post-traumatic stress disorders.

“It might also lead to disruptions to their normal physical, emotional, cognitive, behavioural, and interpersonal characteristics and other adverse effects as they have been made to undergo psychological trauma.

“This might happen now and later in life especially when they hold on to such memories. The pupils might even take to prostitution because of this singular act.”

Ogunlowo added that the state government needs to fish out the affected pupils and help them arrange appointments with medical specialists.

More parents report to police

Meanwhile, more parents whose children are victims have formally lodge complaints at the police station after the publication of the story by The PUNCH.

A police source told our correspondent on Thursday that four parents visited the station and made formal reports to the Divisional Police Officer, Mr. Waheed Yusuf, on Wednesday.

He said, “It’s like this case is going to take a new twist as those parents who had hitherto refused to come forward and help with police investigations have started coming forward.

“Four parents representing four of the affected pupils visited the station on Wednesday and were made to make formal reports. Once we (police) have enough witnesses, then she might be charged to court for assault.”

Oladeojobi was said to have on Monday invited a nurse to the school to carry out virginity tests on a group of 10 students without seeking the consent of their parents/guardians.

During the test, it was alleged that the principal and a nurse whose name could not be ascertained dipped their fingers into the pupils’ private parts.

It was learnt on Thursday that the school nurse also took part in the exercise.

But the matter got out of hand when one of the pupils started bleeding after she had been ‘tested.’

Parents of the pupils later stormed the school in protest resulting in the invitation of policemen from Ajuwon Division.

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