An anti-rape coalition is threatening to sue Femi Gbajabiamilla, speaker of the house of representatives, over the delay in commencing the public hearing on the Keren Akpagher case.

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Keren, who was a boarding student at Premiere Academy Lugbe in Abuja, died in June 2021 after developing sepsis from an infection caused by a condom said to have been left in her by her alleged rapist.

A report to the family by Queen’s Hospital Abuja said condom particles and dead sperm were found in her vagina.

The FCT police had commenced an investigation into the case but the family sought for it to be transferred to the force criminal investigation department (FCID), alleging the former was compromised in its handling of the matter.

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An autopsy was later conducted in July 2021 while the ministry of education also waded in to probe the case.

The house of reps had directed that a DNA test be conducted on the male staff at the school to fish out the culprit.

The lower legislative chamber, in December 2021, also set up a panel for an investigative public hearing on the case.

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However, nothing has since been heard of the panel’s activities and its probe had yet to commence as of June 2022.

Keren-Happuch Akpagher

Men Against Rape Foundation (MARF), the non-profit organisation backing the bereaved family’s quest for justice, has served a pre-suit notice on Gbajabiamilla for not complying with the house’s resolution on a public hearing.

MARF questioned what it described as a “disturbing and suspicious reluctance” of the house of representatives to enforce its own resolution to commence an investigative public hearing 180 days after opting to do so.

Lemmy Ughegbe, the executive director of the non-profit, said the pre-action notice precedes a lawsuit, should the lawmakers fail to commence the hearing two weeks from June 3 when the pre-action notice was served.

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“If they don’t awaken to their responsibility and duty, we shall file an action to seek an order of mandamus to compel them to conduct the investigative public hearing”, Ughegbe stated.

“They cannot sit and pass resolutions they are obviously not committed to enforcing. This is a fundamental breach of its own rules and we shall seek legal remedy for the greater good of the society and our children.”

TheCable had, in May, published a two-part series chronicling some student death cases that occurred on the back of alleged sexual harassment, bullying, and corporal punishment across Nigerian secondary schools.

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