Mr. Victor Hassan, orphan
Ex inmates of Southwestern Nigeria based Stephens Children Home, an orphanage facility in Abeokuta, Ogun State have said they are afraid that despite being sexually abused by the founder and Director of the facility,  Rev. Isaac Oluwole Newton Wusu, they might never find justice due to growing impunity in the country.

Secretary General of the Concerned Past Students of Stephen Children Home (COPASSTECH), Mr. Bawa Victor Hassan in this interview tells speaks of the “injustices” faced by inmates of the facility and how their struggles for justice have faced several obstacles for years.

Interviewer: Can you please introduce yourself Sir?

Mr. Hassan: My name is Bawa Victor Hassan, I am from Gombe State, Balanga Local Government Area to be precise. I am a graduate of Biology from Gombe State University. Interestingly, I am a former student of the Stephen Center International, Abeokuta, Ogun State where had my Secondary education. I am equally a member and General Secretary of the Concerned Past Students of Stephen Children Home (COPASSTECH). I got admitted into the Stephen Center International College in the year 2005. Stephen Center was established to carter for the children of those who lost their lives in the various religious crises in northern Nigeria. I lost my dad in the year 2004, May 15 to be precise, when religious violence broke out in Kano, Northwestern Nigeria. As a result, my two younger brothers and I were introduced to the Stephens children home, then known as the Nigerian Special Children, NSC.

Interviewer: When did you start to notice that something was wrong in the way the                                        school was being run?

Mr. Hassan: When I first got to the school, I didn’t particularly notice any anomaly therein. Moreover, we were all excited about the environment and new friends. I was 11 years old then. It was in my third year in the school, when I was in JSS 3 that I started hearing some things the Rev. Isaac Oluwole Newton Wusu, the Director of the facility was doing to the female inmates of the facility. I often heard some senior students talking about it, sometimes discussing ways to capture it on camera. By the time I was in SS2, the Director’s behavior had become more obvious. He had his favorite students among the girls, whom he often picked up to his house and sometimes to Lagos or Port Novo for weekends. Those female students often came back to share their experiences with us, most of which were heartbreaking but none of us could do anything about it because we were all afraid of being expelled. At that time, any staff or student who dared speak against the Director was immediately evicted and for us, that would have implied losing the free education we were enjoying. Therefore, we were all scared and locked in our miseries.

Interviewer: what was the primary mandate of the school in the first place?

Mr. Hassan: Before we got to the school, we were told that we were to be given free education and care as orphans and true to it, when I first got to the school, it everything we needed was provided – our wears, writing and study materials including books, toiletries, everything was free but things gradually changed as the years went by. We soon started buying our own books, our hostel wears and in fact, it got to a point where we began being issued lists of items to purchase and bring to school on resumption from the long summer holiday.

Interviewer:   When you noticed these anomalies, what specific actions did you as students take?

Mr. Hassan: Like I said, I was in SS1 when I started hearing of the man sexually abusing the girls, and frankly speaking, no girl ever told me she was abused while I was there and I personally never caught him doing so. Yes, many people shared with me how he was making advances to them, just as many others told me stories shared by their friends in confidence on the director sexually took advantage of them but it was not until we started this movement that we came face to face with some of the experiences of these girls. As we speak, we have identified over six victims of our guardian’s atrocities while in the facility and they are ready to testify anywhere anytime. Back in the facility however, the unusual behavior of the director, especially his regular habit of taking the girls out and staying late hours with them in his office or house was enough to arouse my suspicions. Nevertheless, no other authority existed other than the Director himself to have reported the matter. Even when we and the victims had the opportunity to open up to a team of visiting investigators came from VOM-USA, we were ordered not to say anything negative about the school to avoid a shutdown.

Interviewer:   It is understood that the school is being sponsored by international faith-                                  based organizations beyond the shores of Nigeria, was there a time at all                                  where these organizations moved against the perceived injustices therein?

Mr. Hassan: The school is an affiliate of the International Christian Association, with funding from sister missions such as VOM-USA, VOM-Finland, VOM-Australia, SDOK etc. These bodies came into partnership with the Centre after my graduation from the school. Unfortunately, they had come to the school to investigate the man but he was briefed ahead of their coming and he made sure that his wife and some of his staff prevailed on everyone including the victims of his abuses exonerated him. This made the sister missions to change their planned sanctions against the man to partnership because they couldn’t get anything substantial against him.

Interviewer:   It has been years since you left school, why is this matter still an issue?

Mr. Hassan: After graduating from the school, the reports from our younger ones still in the school got us concerned. It would appear that the man’s atrocities were getting worse day by day. Rev. Isaac who happens to be the director of the institution now sexually assaults even female minors in his care. This confirmed what we all heard and saw as rumours. The academic and moral standard of the school has dropped significantly and this was having a negative effect on the students. No one cared about their intellectual and spiritual wellbeing anymore and we thought that was a contravention of the initial agreements entered into between the school owner and our families. It is also a violation of the constitution in all ramifications and we thought that should not be. Personally, I desire justice and I am passionate about fighting for what is right. This is a man who is old enough to be a father or even a grandfather to some of us, but has decided to turn himself into a monster by forcing himself on young girls he should be protecting. He parades himself as responsible man while he's a wolf in sheep clothing.

Interviewer:   Is the government aware of this issue?

Mr. Hassan: Yes the government is aware of the issue, because after our press conference in Abeokuta this January, the State Government set up a committee to investigate the matter. Also, we have been to Abuja to table our petitions before the National Human Right Commission. We were also invited by the National Agency for Prohibition of Traffic In Person (NAPTIP). So yes, the government is aware but you know, we are in a country or should I say in a world where the rich always think they can get away with any crime.

Interviewer:   Do you have any appeal to relevant authorities in this country?

Mr. Hassan: My appeal to the relevant authorities is for them to prove to us that no one is actually above the law. The rich always have a way of manipulating the justice system and tilting the scale in their favor. We have had this experience in one of the cases against the self-acclaimed Reverend Isaac. The ordinary citizen of this country needs something to assure him that this country can be better, and that his/her cry will be heard.

Interviewer:   Your advice to other students?

Mr. Hassan: My advice first to my colleagues who are in this struggle with me is that we should not give up. One day, the whole world will know the truth and the perpetrator of this evil act will be brought to book. For my friends who unfortunately feel we mean to repay the Director with evil, they should understand that for whosoever covers evil is same as the perpetrator of the evil and the punishment of the two is the same. They should also know that we don’t wish them or our then boss bad. They should come out of the dark and answer the call to stand up for truth and justice. We are all victims in this situation in one way or the other, because a self-acclaimed Reverend lied to our parents and Church leaders, making us to see him as a good man, just to use us to satisfy his personal interests. Let's   come out and expose the evil done to us especially to our sisters who were used as sex objects by a man with a wild selfish ambition.