On December 20, a video of Mrs Deborah Okezie, mother to Don Davis, an 11-year-old JSS1 student of Deeper Life High School, Uyo, who was sexually molested and starved at school surfaced on the internet. In the video, Mrs Okezie lamented about her son’s status. “They [senior students] will remove his boxer and push their legs and hands into his anus,” she said. “Look at a child I sent to school,” she adds, “he came back with a broken anus.”
The video gathered attention in the days that followed, leading to a reaction from the school, government intervention, and online protests.
What happened at the school
According to Mrs Okezie, Don Davis was moved from a junior hostel to live with seniors because he was bedwetting. At the new accommodation, he was bullied by the senior students, sexually violated, and his meals taken from him. As to why Don Davis had remained silent, “they said if he complained he will be a dead man,” said Mrs Okezie.
How did the church react?
The Deeper Life Bible Church, owners of the high school involved, have since tweeted on December 21, that they were investigating the issue, and that “appropriate disciplinary action will be meted out to all culprits in this unfortunate act”.
According to the mother, however, Don Davis had since been taken to the hospital for medical treatment. On the day he was admitted (Sunday, December 20), Deeper Life board members came kneeling and begging in the hospital. She added that by Monday, December 21, the same day Deeper Life announced their investigation, the church’s representatives were on air alleging that Don Davis came to the school bedridden, saying she was not his mother.
The mother did not only refute these but has now circulated pictures of the boy, before and after going to school, while also saying she will go as far as a DNA test to prove she is Don Davis’ mother.
Although the college’s principal has been suspended, there has been no concrete update on the church or school’s part on the issue.
The government’s role
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Akwa Ibom State, Mrs Helen Anthony Ante, called for a meeting between Don Davis’ parents and parents of the abusers. Don Davis’ mum said they were intimidated at the meeting, which was hosted at the Commissioner for Education’s office. According to Okezie, the commissioner threatened her for doing a live broadcast updating Facebook users about the situation. “They collected my phone from me,” she says.
She also mentioned that another parent said they would beat her up in front of the commissioner.
Social media support
Several social media accounts have shown support for the family’s fight towards getting justice for Don Davis. #JusticeForDonDavis is being used to gather attention on the issue, so it does not get swept under the carpet and action can be taken.
Have you read this? 5 Nigerians Share What They Love About 2020