With N5,000, or even less, one of the security guards employed to protect students at the Federal Government Girls College (FGGC), Langtang, Plateau state, would gladly pimp the girls to strangers. Speaking to The Cable’s undercover reporter, the guard gave an insight into how he organizes “runs” for the teenagers for a fee, and how this is a common practice. This investigation by FEMI OWOLABI and SEYI AWOJULUGBE also exposes the rot in the once-prestigious Unity School, where students use water from an untreated well, sleep on broken beds, study in hostile classrooms — and live practically unprotected from predators.
You are in Langtang, Plateau state, for the weekend and need a schoolgirl for the evening? Someone is ready to help you make the arrangement for a fee. You can even have more than one girl if you choose. There are plenty of them at the nearby Federal Government Girls College (FGGC). The pimp is actually paid to protect the girls, but that is by the way.
Before TheCable set out for Langtang, the guard — whose phone number the reporter had collected from an acquaintance — consistently beat his chest and gave assurances that getting girls out of the hostel “is no big deal”, and it was soon obvious that the pimp had been in the business for a long time.
Bani Guest House, a popular lodge along the Langtang highway, is well known to the girls, the guard said. He explained that most of them do attend Sunday evening parties at Bani, where their boyfriends come to wait for them.
The reporter had disguised as a visiting businessman in need of girls to spend “a nice time” with. He promised to pay the guard more than what he would ask for. All the “big man” needed was a guarantee of a swell time. The excited guard called endlessly, excessively delighted with the business at hand.
TheCable ran into a little bad luck along the way — the timing of the visit coincided with when the SS3 girls were writing their exams in July 2017, and other classes were on vacation. But, not to worry, the guard was ready to pull the strings all the same.
Settling over a plate of rice ordered for him at the guest house, the guard told his would-be customer that girls in SS3 who were rounding off their final exams would make the perfect picks.
“I am giving you outgoing students,” he said, his face loosening into a smile. “There are some writing exams, it’s just to get a clue to know them and ask if they can do this for me. There are girls who do ‘runs’ but the issue is money.”
The guard, who was quick to request for money so he could move round and also “sort out” the girls’ transportation, revealed that there are a couple of schoolgirls who are into the act of sneaking out of the school premises.
“You’ll discuss how much you’ll give them,” he said, pocketing the N5,000 the reporter had given him as upfront for the task. “All those girls are small girls and they don’t know money much. If you treat them well, they will look for you if you’re still around.”
The guard had left his duty post. For hours, he was moving round the school, searching for girls who could be available under the tight deadline.
“I have arranged two girls now, and they will come to meet you when they are done with their exams today,” he would later say on phone.
The girls eventually did not turn up as planned — they wrote their papers late and feared coming out of the school could jeopardize the other papers the following morning, the guard explained. They would turn up after writing the day’s papers, he said with an air of certainty. At this point, TheCable editors decided to abort the mission for professional reasons.
One of the newly graduated girls, who later spoke with TheCable, said this particular guard is the go-to man pimping girls to strangers.
“He used to be a kitchen staff,” the girl said. “He impregnated one of the girls in the hostel, you know the hostel is close to the kitchen, and I think as a punishment, he was moved from the kitchen to the gate.”
A similar case was recorded at Queen’s College, Lagos, where a male teacher accused of sexually harassing students was allegedly protected by school authorities and saved from punishment. He was eventually posted to King’s College, Lagos, after sustained pressure from activists and former students.
‘WE HEARD ONE TEACHER WAS A PIMP, BUT NO PROOF’
One of the officials of Langtang’s old girls’ association told The Cable that a year ago, they heard that girls were being pimped, but they could not substantiate the allegation.
“The pimp, we were told, wasn’t even a security guard but one of the male teachers,” she explained. “We have tried to investigate but we couldn’t find anything. We confronted the former principal — who is now retired — with this and she said there was no such thing going on. There was a specific teacher allegedly doing this with SS3 girls but no one could give his name or any useful information in getting to the root of the matter.”
The old girls had to disregard the allegation.
“We even got a girl whom we were told knew this pimp, and when we called her, she denied knowing a thing. So, we had to disregard the rumor, because if you tell us something is happening, you should be able to give us the needed information to work with. If we had a name at least, we could have done something covertly with some of the old girls who now teach at the college, and our Jos chapter could have showed up in the school unannounced,” she said.
The culture of silence is not surprising — nobody wants to face the backlash. In the case of Queen’s College, the father of the schoolgirl that was allegedly harassed reportedly wanted the saga kept from the public so that his daughter would not be victimized or stigmatized.
‘SOME TEACHERS CALL GIRLS INTO THEIR OFFICES AT NIGHT’
One of the graduating girls who spoke with The Cable is not sure if girls are being pimped to strangers, but she knows at least three members of staff whom she claimed made sexual advances to the girls.
“One teacher used to call girls to his office in the night,” she said. “But, I don’t know what he used to do with them. One of the girls told us that when she went to his office, he only asked her out, and that when it’s weekend she would follow him to his house.”
Another teacher, it was alleged, would call girls to his office in the night, and it is not clear what he did with them. “It is during prep time, 7-9pm, that we see girls going to the teacher’s office,” she said. She named all the teachers involved but The Cable, for legal reasons, chose to withhold their identities.
At the ICT department, where girls go for biometrics for examination purposes, the man in charge — under the pretense of guiding them — would touch them sexually. “That one will be touching girls’ breasts and buttocks,” the graduating girl told The Cable.
The ministry of education, which directly supervises federal government colleges, says it is not aware of the allegations of pimping at Langtang.
Chineye Ihuoma, Director of Press at the Federal Ministry of Education, told The Cable: “If you have any proof, the best way is for you to write us formally and we will conduct proper investigations. But, how can a security man in the school be pimping girls to a stranger? How can?”
There is hardly anything or anyone that is safe at FGGC Langtang. The security guard could easily pimp girls to strangers, in any case, as the school premises are not properly protected.
A federal government-owned boarding school, and a girls-only for that matter, should ordinarily have strong security, especially with the school located along a bushy suburb of Langtang.
“People walk through the school premises unchallenged,” a member of staff explained, adding that a former principal had attempted fencing the school but could not raise the funds.
“It has become a shortcut for staff and people who now walk through the school to the main road and or their houses. And sadly, there are some boys who come in through the unfenced area to steal items from the girls’ lockers.”
True to the statement, people could be seen moving freely without restrictions when The Cable visited. The reporter had even entered through this unfenced part through to the girls’ hostels without any restriction.
The fence, which appears to have been constructed in recent years, had gradually been reduced to a plain ground. The open space leads to the school’s kitchen and the girls’ hostels.
One of the students told TheCable that some adventurous girls do sneak out through the unfenced area to attend parties and meet with boyfriends in town. It makes things easier for the security guard who seems to be in the business of pimping them to strangers.
“Students are not allowed to go out of the school when in session, but the stubborn ones do sneak out to attend parties. They go through the back-of-school because there is no fence, but some go through the gate because the security is not so tight,” another student told The Cable.
In 2014, N13m was appropriated to construct a perimeter fencing of FGGC, Langtang. In the same year, N18m was approved to build new hostels and N12m for the completion of a vocational workshop.
The following year, 2015, N40m was appropriated for the construction of borehole and reticulation of water, VIP toilets and bathrooms in the hostels and classrooms, and provision of a modern kitchen and renovation of dining halls.
None of these could be found in the girls’ college when The Cable visited. Aside from the poor security, students complained of bad water, and the school’s kitchen which was expected to be a modern one had cooks making food with firewood.
“There is only one borehole in the hostel area,” a junior class student said. She complained that the technician assigned to pump water for the girls is not always available, making her and other girls resort to fetching water from an untreated well. “And, I get rashes on my body whenever I use this water,” she said.
For senior students who are used to the system, they have a way of keeping buckets of water under their bunk to last them through the ‘no-water days’. Students in the junior classes, however, are not so lucky.
It would be recalled that three students of Queen’s College, Lagos — Vivian Osuinyi, Bithia Itulua and Praise Sodipo — died between February and March 2017 from water-borne diseases.
“The issue of fence is not peculiar to FGGC, Langtang,” a member of the college’s management staff told TheCable. “Contracts have been given for the completion of the fence like other unity colleges that their fence is not completed.”
When informed of the security guard who seems to be pimping girls to strangers, a couple of the management staff said they had not heard nor seen a thing like that.
“Maybe it used to happen in the past, but nothing of such is happening now,” one of them said.
MUM IS THE WORD
No official of the school was willing to talk on record to The Cable.
For a school deviled with security issues, poor infrastructure and a possible epidemic, the only official answer TheCable got was couched in bureaucratic language.
“I am a civil servant. I would advise that you speak to the ministry of education in Abuja,” Laura Dogo, the new principal, said when asked to comment on the various issues. She refused to entertain further questions.
Adamu Adamu, the minister of education, told The Cable in June that the government would look into the issues about the state of unity schools in the country, but complained about funding gaps that need to be addressed creatively. —The Cable