About 20 ex female inmates of the Stephens Children Home, an orphanage in Abeokuta, Ogun State have cried out against alleged sexual abuse by one Rev. Isaac Oluwole Newton Wusu, the Director of the facility.

At a press conference in Jos yesterday, the victims through the coordinator of the Concerned Past Inmates of the orphanage, Mr. Ado Nicodemus Bagi Bawa alleged that the centre which used to be an arm of Christian Matyrs, has been turned into a place where female children are constantly molested and male children subjected to hard labour.

One of them, Miss Deborah Bala, 19, a final year secondary school student who was admitted into the orphanage at age 7 said the "Big Uncle" as Rev. Oluwole is fondly called started molesting her at the age of 12 which forced her to abandon school and flea the centre at 14.

The Big Uncle according to her often achieved his aim by luring the girls to his closet, making them offers and/or drugging them before having canal knowledge of them.

Here is Deborah's story:

"I went to the school, Stephens Internatiinal Centre in the year 2007. I lost my dad in Kaduna in the year 2000. The school is all about orphans. My mum was working with ECWA Guest House in Kano State. They were called once and told of the opportunity. They were asked to bring their orphaned children to be taken care of, and given good education. Mummy then had nothing so she took me there. I was seven years old when I went there. At first, when I went to the school, it was like a family, a very big family.

"Once upon a time, my mum called asking about my health when she heard I was under the weather. That was when I came close to the Director. I was in a class. Then I was 12 years old and in JSS2. He sent for me to meet him in his office. When I went, he asked me to go to his inner room and arrange his bed. When I went inside, he followed me and told me to sit on his laps which I did. He was now forcing me to kiss him. I was surprised why he would want to force me to do what I didn’t want. We dragged on for a while until someone knocked and I had the chance to flea.

"The second incident took place when he sent for me to come from the hostel. It was a Saturday morning around 11am.

"When I went, he gave me one tablet that looked like vitamin C. It is big but chewable. He asked me to chew it which I did.

"He asked me to go to the bathroom and take my bath. I told him I had taken my bath and he insisted that I should go, saying he had specially prepared the water himself for me. I agreed but he was using a bathtub which I had never used before, not even had I seen it before. I asked how to use it and before I knew it, he just came with his towel that we should bath together. He didn’t even wait for my response, he just pulled off. We bathed together but that is the last thing I remember.

"The next thing he woke me up around 7pm. He told me to go back to the hostel. When I was going, I was feeling pains and my pant was really wet. When I was going, he told me to follow the back door, that is through house. When I went, I washed off my pants and didn’t think much about it.

"The next day I noticed there was blood stain on my hostel wear. I was surprised because I hadn’t started menstruating. He sent for me again the next day. It happened two, three more times.

"There was a time I felt penetration but I was so weak because he used to give me that drug. Sometimes it was juice that he gave me and if I refused, it will be problem. That was what happened.

"He actually had sex with me three, four times but he drugged me before doing that. There was a time some white people came and he, his wife and cousin called me and begged us not to report it. All that happened between 2010 and 2011."

Debby as her friends call her said she had heard several similar stories but was either ignorant or helpless about it.

She said, "There were several others I heard he did same thing to. There was this senior, Nancy Victor. When I was close to him, she would call me and say Debby, don’t be close to this man, I don’t want you to be like me. I would be like she should tell me what it was but she would often say I should just be careful. Before it happened to me again, there was a time he sent me to eavesdrop on the conversations some girls were having. When I went, I heard one of the girls saying the Director wanted sleeping with her. There was another girl named Naomi. She too was saying the same thing."

Debby was afraid to tell her mum for fear of breaking her heart.

She said, "When I came back home in 2012, I told my mum I didn’t want to go back to the school. She said she heard the Director was sleeping with the inmates. I didn’t tell her anything because I was scared how she would feel hearing I was equally affected. She then told her elder brother about it and he agreed that I stayed back at home."

She was equally young and not sure the Police or anyone else would believe her story.

Moreso, Rev. Oluwole often intimidated her, forcing her to keep her pains to herself till she left while in SS1.

"I was young then. I couldn’t have gone to the police to tell them such a thing. They could look at me as not knowing what I was saying.

"And he always made us to have that belief that without him we were nothing. That was why I had to keep quiet.

"He is one kind of person that loves to intimidate. When I first told his cousin about it and she said she talked to him, he just made my life miserable. He always insulted and embarrassed me, calling me names. All that affected my concentration. My results became laughable to my mates. And the way he made people to turn their backs against me was more humiliating," Deborah narrated.

Now that Deborah is "grown", she has decided to now open up to save many others still in "captivity" in the orphanage.

Plateau State has the highest number of inmates in the facility, the leader of the ex inmates, Mr. Nicodemus said.

Although the case is already in court, the group wants governments of both Plateau and other affected states to intervene in the search for justice for past and present victims of the Big Uncle's "acts of criminality."

Deborah and some many others in her shoes dropped out of school to break free from their "bondage" but there are many others still in captivity, the group says.

Deborah has enrolled again despite stringent financial difficulties in a village in Pankshin, Plateau State and is about rounding off her WAEC exams.