Kenya closes Nigerian-run school over allegations of sexual abuse

Caritas Mariana Secondary School, a school run by a Nigerian reverend father, Fr. Bertrand Maria Nwochukwu, has been closed by Kenya’s education ministry over allegations of sexual abuse and extreme religious practices.

According to Kenya’s CitizenTV, the school proprietor is also accused of being involved in drug abuse and employment of unregistered teachers.

On Wednesday, Thika Sub-County Director of Education, Ronald Mbogo, said the allegations against the school in Thika are ” very serious”.

Mbogo said he received reports from an anonymous source who also claimed that the school employed unregistered teachers.

He revealed that a team from the Sub-County education office carried out investigations and later recommended immediate closure of the school after substantiating the damning allegations.

Education ministry officials have since initiated transfer of the students to other schools around.

However, parents of students in the school are claiming that the eduction ministery has “ulterior motives”.

They are accusing the officials of being behind a ploy to grab the land on which the school in Thika is built.

“Parents are now stranded with their children at home and have nowhere to take them. Why did the officials close the school in the middle of the year? This is against the ministry’s policy,” said Henry Ngure, who is the chairman of the Parents Teachers Association.

Ngure insisted that the closure of the school has jeopardised the fate of 10 final year students who failed to get admission into other schools.

Education officials have, however, indicated that names of the said students have been forwarded to the ministry and further assured parents that their children would be catered for.

It is not the first time that Nwochukwu, who is in charge of Caritas Mariana mission, has been linked to a controversial saga involving school children.

In 2016, Kiambu County officials raided a primary school and a children’s home run by his organisation after one of the pupils died and separate claims emerged of sexual molestation.

He responded by writing a protest letter accusing government officials of malice.

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