The Rivers state government has suspended a teacher with Government Girls (Junior) Secondary School in Rumuokuta, Obio/Akpor LGA, over alleged involvement in sexual misconduct.

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Kaniye Ebeku, the state commissioner for education, broke the news during a meeting with the leadership of the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) in Port Harcourt on Tuesday.

According to the commissioner, the meeting was convened to clarify a viral report quoting FIDA as saying there are about 50 cases of rape in schools across the state.

Ebeku said the report quoted Adata Bio-Briggs, the state’s FIDA chairperson, “out of context”.

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The commissioner also said the state has zero-tolerance for cases of sexual misconduct, adding that anyone found indulging in such would be sanctioned.

“Gentlemen of the press, you have heard from the FIDA chairperson regarding the information making the rounds that there are about 50 cases of rape in schools in Rivers State. From the explanation that she has given, she was quoted out of context,” he said.

“She made it clear that there were only five cases of molestation or rape in schools. Most of the other incidents were by persons who were caregivers and were supposed to protect the children, but took advantage of those children and abused them.

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“When I heard it as a commissioner, I was horrified, I was peeved and I thought the best approach was to summon a stakeholders’ meeting where FIDA would be invited to explain the source of that information.

“We are serious about discipline in Rivers schools. I am sure that some of you are well aware that when we had reports of some incidents in schools, we never hesitated to discipline the persons involved.

“One of the incidents they (FIDA) mentioned here from Rumuokuta Girls, you can find out. We have taken the necessary steps. We have suspended the teacher involved.”

Corroborating the commissioner, Bio-Briggs said: “We only have five incidents of schools; two public schools in Rivers State and three private schools that have issues of defilement. The caregivers we are talking about here are fathers, uncles, lesson teachers, pastors, brothers and neighbours”.

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