NGO calls for Coroner’s Inquiry into death of allegedly sodomised 14-yr-old female boarding student
By Josephine Agbonkhese
A non-governmental organisation, S.A.F.E for Children Society, has demanded that a Coroner’s inquest be urgently carried out to ascertain the cause of death of 14-year-old Karen Happuch Akpagher, an SS1 pupil of Premier Academy, Abuja, alleged to have died after being sexually-abused.
Karen reportedly died 30th of June, 2021, of an infection after used condom was found in her private part, according to claims by the mother, Mrs Vihimga Akpagher.
Believed to have been sexually-abused before being picked up from school following her frantic cry to be withdrawn from the boarding facility on June 19th, 2021, for treatment, Karen however died two days later at an Abuja hospital.
However, the Premier Academy, on its part, alleged that the allegations concerning the death were unfounded and investigation ongoing; while it posited that the child died due to diabetes with which she had being diagnosed since age nine.
It is amid these counter claims that the S.A.F.E for Children Society is calling for a Coroner’s inquiry into the death of Karen.
According to a statement signed by Olabisi Afolabi, Program Officer, S.A.F.E for Children Society: “It is very imperative that a Coroner’s inquiry be carried out in order to find the cause of death.
“Under Section 4(1) of the Coroners Law, magistrates are empowered to conduct inquest under the ordinance. The law allows any interested party to request for this inquiry in any case where it is believed that it is necessary to find the cause of death.
“This is definitely a case where such enquiry is needed because according to Mrs Akpagher, she had received a frantic call from her daughter a few days before her death, asking her to come withdraw her from the school because she was not feeling well.
“The child cried and kept insisting that her mother came to pick her even when her mother turned back due to administrative bottleneck she experienced in the school.
“Unconfirmed reports from a group, Coalition of Gender-based Violence Responders, state that there has been a preliminary autopsy update that matches up with the account of the mother of the deceased. Sexual intercourse and sodomy were reported to be the cause of death, according to the autopsy.”
The organisation, therefore, urged government to ensure that the matter is seen to the end and everyone found culpable is brought to book in accordance with the law.