By Megito Audu
A coalition of Gender Based Violence (GBV) responders has knocked the police for bungling the scheduled autopsy of 14 year old Miss Karen-Happuch Akpagher, who was allegedly raped at Premiere Academy, Lugbe, where she was a boarding student.
The teenager eventually died after she was infected by a condom left in her private part.
Following controversies trailing the cause of death of Keren-Happuch, an autopsy was scheduled for Saturday, 3 July, 2021. But the refusal of a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) at the FCT Police Command to release a copy of the medical report to the police appointed pathologist stalled the conduct of the autopsy.
The coalition of GBV responders expressed their disappointment and called for a probe of the special interest of the DCP in holding tenaciously to the medical report on the cause of death, wondering what he has to hide.
In a statement issued by members of the coalition, Lemmy Ughegbe of Men Against Rape Foundation; and Mrs Edoamaowo Udeme of Network Against Domestic Violence Foundation, they decried “the levity and lack of professionalism” of the police in handling this very serious case, saying it portrays the police as too casual and nonchalant with regards to cases of sexual and gender based violence”.
The coalition said further: “We understand that the principal pathologist at the Maitama General Hospital appointed by the police to conduct the autopsy, Dr. Desmond Ike Okonkwo had in the last five days demanded from the police a copy of the medical report on the death of Keren-Happuch. The pathologist said having a copy of the medical report was a pre-condition for him to conduct the autopsy.
“But sadly a Deputy Commissioner of Police in whose custody the said report is had by this morning of the autopsy (3 July, 2021) refused to release the medical report on the basis that it was not necessary to give it to the pathologist. The Police Chief’s refusal to give the said report ended up causing the pathologist to call of the examination.
“This is reprehensible and raises suspicion as to his motive. Why will he want to sit on the medical report and not release it to the police appointed pathologist? What is in the medical report that the police chief does not want the pathologist to see?
The coalition said, “since last week, we commenced discreet investigation into the matter to enable us have clarity on the circumstances that led to the death of Keren-Hapuch. We have also interviewed the deceased’s mother, Mrs. Vivien Akpagher and are verifying the veracity or otherwise of her claims that her daughter was raped in the said school, condom left in her, which infected her and resulted in the circumstances leading to her death.
“As professionals, we are diligent, thorough and professional and therefore eschew needless sensationalism UNTIL we conclude our findings after harvesting all sides of the story.
“Accordingly, the coalition visited the school management last Friday, 2 July, 2021 in order to accord them the opportunity to clear themselves of complicity and negligence which resulted in Keren-Happuch’s death. This is in line with their constitutional right to fair hearing and in accordance with our code of conduct as GBV responders.
“We have made some interesting findings and were just patiently waiting for the autopsy before coming out with an official position.
“It is disheartening that the DCP preferred to hold onto the medical report like a personal laurel and therefore frustrate the process. We are by this statement calling the police high command to order as we note that this is the same way the police frustrated the call for the arrest of one of those who raped serially for 5 years the 13 year old Ochanya Elizabeth Ogbanje to death, Victor Ogbuja.
“We note with regret that the police has gained a notoriety for ignoring calls to bring pedophiles and rapists to book as exemplified in the police’s refusal to honour repeated calls vide petitions for Victor Ogbuja to be declared wanted in the last 3 years”.