The mother of a toddler who was sexually abused by a supervisor/pastor in Chrisland School, Victoria Garden City (VGC), has spoken out after an Appeal Court upheld the supervisor's 60 years jail sentence.
Narrating how she discovered in 2016 that her daughter, who was 2 years and 11 months old at the time, had been sexually abused multiple times by Adegboyega Adenekan, a former supervisor at the school, the child's mum said:
"I had read Pastor Nomthi Odukoya’s book, ‘No! Don’t Touch Me There’, so like I just sometimes did, I told my daughter ‘don’t let anyone touch your wee wee’. Her response after that changed our lives as a family, forever. The next thing she said was ‘he put his wee wee in my wee wee.’ Well, I asked her, who put his wee wee in your wee wee? and she said Mr Adenekan. My heart shattered into a million pieces, literally".
In an interview with TheCable, the child's mum said she was very protective of her children, and that was why she took them to Chrisland, a supposed “safe haven for them”.
“I never left my kids unattended to. As soon as I got pregnant, I left paid employment and started freelancing, doing business here and there, so, as soon as they closed from school, I could be available and be there with them at all times, even when doing extra curricular activities,” she said.
“Even in church, I taught in the children’s section and I was always in the children’s department, whether or not I was assigned to teach. The only place I couldn’t be with them was in school. But that is meant to be a safe haven for them.
“See you must understand that this school we are talking about is Chrisland; not just any school. The only reason we took our kids there, leaving behind so many other schools… was because we had a lot of trust in the school. We believed they could give our kids the best education, we believed they could keep our children safe.
It never crossed my mind that her class teachers would carelessly allow someone to take her out of the class to his office to molest her. The pre-school 2 class teacher didn’t mention the family friend part until she was speaking with the police. I was extremely surprised. I mean, what kind of relationship existed between my daughter and this man that would warrant her class teacher assume we were family friends? Maybe if she had told me that, that would have created a spark, a reason for me to be worried.
“I trusted her, I trusted the school. I gave you my child to care for, with all due respect, I didn’t expect you to let anyone take her out of the class. I trusted Chrisland so much, that was why my kids attended the school in the first place. We trusted them with our most prized possession. We were living in our own nightmare. We never imagined this could happen to our daughter. We were not careless with watching and protecting our kids at all. In our wildest dreams, we never thought our daughter could be abused in school, the one place we could not follow her to.”
The girl's mother alleged that after she informed the school of what her daughter had told her and her daughter repeated it before the management, the school visited her home and asked to be given two weeks to investigate the issue but went silent afterwards.
She added that the management visited her twice again, “asking us what we wanted so as to make the case go away”.
She said: “The teachers turned me into an enemy. As soon as they saw me in the school on my way to speak with the headteacher, they would set security guards to start following me around, They wouldn’t even respond to my greetings.
“They said I was out to tarnish the school’s image and that I told my daughter to say those things because I wanted to be popular, that I just wanted to conspire against Chrisland. Chrisland broke our trust. We were a friend of the school. We loved Chrisland, we referred Chrisland; it was never us against Chrisland. We had thought it was going to be us and Chrisland against Mr Adenekan, or at least that they would have been neutral and let the law take its course.”
The mum said her family had planned to keep the abuse to themselves. However, Mr Adenekan boasted that if they spoke out, no one would believe them.
“Our first intention was to just keep quiet about it, for fear of victimisation and once the school term was over, quietly take my kids out of the school. So I spoke to Mr Adenekan and told him what my daughter and said, warned him to stay clear of her if he met her in the school. I told him if it continued, I was going to press charges, however, he said to me that even if I did press charges, no one was going to believe me,” she said.
“But our daughter changed our resolve about keeping quiet. Mr Adenekan had told her that she would die; he would kill her mom, dad, sisters and dog if she ever told anyone. As soon as she opened up about the abuse and she saw she didn’t die, that no one had died, it was as though an oasis had been unplugged.
She couldn’t stop talking about all the terrible things he did to her. I couldn’t stop her from talking, but I crumbled with every word she spoke. It became obvious that if we did not do something, our daughter would be treated, meet with psychologists to help her deal with the abuse, but other kids would still fall victim of the pedophile. This great evil done to us could not be covered.”
She claimed that apart from her daughter, two other minors were also abused by Adenekan.
“Well, our daughter started seeing a psychologist and that was where a new can of worms was exposed, including the fact that he would take her and another girl (names withheld) to his office and ask them both to play with each other. The psychologist set up a meeting with the girl, her mother and her uncle. The girl’s speech was not as developed as my daughter’s but when they asked her what Mr Adenekan does, she pointed to her private part, several times,” she said.
“I thought I finally had someone to corroborate. However, the next day, the girl’s mother said we should leave her daughter alone that nothing was wrong with her daughter. So, once again, we were back to seeking justice for our child, alone.
“My daughter mentioned how he showed her videos of a child doing things to a man and how he told her Jesus liked what he was doing to her. She said he took pictures of her naked. He didn’t just abuse her and let her be, he messed with her mind.
“Aside the girl my daughter mentioned, there was another child Mr Adenekan attested to have been close to before he decided to be friends with my daughter. That other girl was in pre-school one and all of a sudden, the parents of that child had withdrawn her from the school. Why? Why did the parents of that other girl unceremoniously take their child out of the school in the middle of a term? What did they discover? Was Chrisland interested in asking these questions?"
The mum also spoke about how she feels after Adenekan was sentenced to 60 years imprisonment in the full interview.