When the school resumed for mid-term break at a boarding house here in Lagos, students of the school, a model college, were expected to sign their names in the register at their various hostels. This way, the school would know not just the number of students that resumed after the break but who they were.
Feyi, not her real name, a 16-year-old SS2 student of the school, resumed alongside her mates. She was brought back to school by her elder brother, whom their parents had given the assignment of taking his younger sister to school.
But Feyi did not sign in her name at the hostel, doing so would mean she would be expected to answer the roll call that would come later in the evening by the house mistress. Her action seemed a mere teenager’s silliness but it would spark of a desperate search for her when her absence was discovered. she is absent and mean the school would call her parents after a failed search… and her secret would be out
So, Feyi didn’t sign the register, instead, she bade her brother good bye, mingled with the rest of the hundreds of returning students, found two of her best friends, changed from her house wear to mufti in one of the classrooms and handed her bag to her friends to take to the hostel.
‘I’m going to meet my crush, the one I met on Facebook,’ she told them.
They were happy for her, they had been told about this crush who’d asked their friend to come see him. They didn’t ask their friend what safety measures she’d taken before meeting this crush; they didn’t ask Feyi how long she would be gone or think to ask if she was sure the photo on Facebook was of the real person. It didn’t cross their minds.
Instead, these innocents clapped their hands and looked on with envy as Feyi skipped out of the school gate, looking not like a student but someone who came to drop off another student.
Three days later, Feyi’s secret was still safe. The school assumed she was still home and would return later in the week; her parents at home thought she was safe back at school studying for the coming exams.
Her friends were becoming apprehensive; they hadn’t asked her how long she would be away; so they kept lying about her whereabouts to the teachers, in class and the matron in the hostel. But on the fourth day, their little secret blew up in their faces and is now threatening to derail their studies.
The fourth day, just before dawn, Feyi was found dumped at the gate; naked as the day she was born; with dried blood and bruises all over her young body. She had bite and whip marks with severely bruised and reddened breasts.
She had also been brutally raped through every orifice she possessed; this was immediately obvious as she lay spread-eagled.
The gateman was alerted by groaning coming from the brutalised girl at the gate and because it was still dark, he thought it was perhaps a wounded animal. He approached the source of the sound, switched on his phone torch and alas, it was a naked young girl.
Was she a student?
What was a student doing, naked, outside the school gate?
He called out to her but she didn’t seem to hear him as she continued groaning. He saw she was bleeding, her thighs, her ankles, her breasts, red from bruises and blood.
He blew his whistle!
Help came from the other guards patrolling the school’s premises. They attempted to carry her, but she yelped in pain at every touch. They hurriedly called for more help and ferried her into the school’s sick bay for urgent first aid. No one was sure whether she was a student of the school but it didn’t matter. This life must be saved.
She was cleaned up, still yelping at every touch on her body and was soon recognised as a student of the school by another student who had spent the night at the sick bay. Her name and class became known.
But how did this happen? In fact, what happened?
When did she leave school? Who did this? Who dropped her at the gate?
She couldn’t talk, her lips were badly bruised, her face was swollen and she was gasping for breath.
So, there were no immediate answers; but an emergency meeting of key staff was quickly convened with the house mistress called to give an account of how one of her girls ended up naked and half dead outside the school’s gate.
House mistress checked her register which returning students were mandated to sign. Behold, Feyi’s name didn’t show up. Then, she remembered her friends; they were summoned. They were threatened with severe disciplinary actions if they didn’t begin to talk about what they knew.
They took one look at their friend and began to sing like canaries.
In between tears, the two friends told the story.
Yes, Feyi reported to school after midterm but didn’t sign the register because she wanted to go meet with a guy she met on Facebook. They had agreed to cover up just in case her parents came to school.
No, they didn’t know the guy she met on Facebook.
No they never even saw his photo, just a first name, a certain Peter who may have been be using a pseudo.
They were sorry they didn’t alert the school as they thought Feyi would be back soon.
Quickly the school sent for Feyi’s parents and officials of the school’s PTA. They all assembled and the canaries sang their sonorous songs yet again.
Now, the parents, Feyi’s parents are not rich. No. Her mother is a street trader who ekes out a living while avoiding the crazy danfo drivers when she perches her tray of wares precariously on the streets’ edge; she’s also wary of KAI, the overzealous paramilitary boys in uniform who knock off wares and arrest street traders.
Her father didn’t say much. He didn’t display much emotion beyond very red eyes after he peeped in the bay and saw his daughter still in severe pains.
Feyi’s mother blamed the school for negligence and accused them of being responsible for her daughter’s situation. She insisted the girl was returned to school the day it resumed after midterm. She insisted her elder son escorted Feyi into the school’s premises. The school is responsible!
The school showed her the return register, her daughter’s name still missing from the several pages of scribbled names and signatures of students who returned after the midterm. The PTA members were sorry and pointed out that the girl should be held accountable.
Mama Feyi was further silenced by her daughter’s friends, who said they kept up the lie with their matron and teachers over the whereabouts of her daughter.
The school asked the parents to take their child away for urgent medical attention. They did; solemnly. Since they had no car nor vehicle of any sort to carry her, Feyi was lifted onto her father’s back like a toddler and “backed” out of the school’s premises by parents who had no clue where to begin.