UPDATES: School girls raped by robbers, I can only speak for myself, I was not raped...

Schoolgirls ordeal: Parents to sue transport company
Parents of the secondary school students, who were attacked in an Ekene Dili Chukwu luxury bus at the Ijebu Ode area of Ogun State have resolved to take the transport company to court. The parents, who met yesterday at the St. Agness Catholic Church, Maryland, Lagos said they were suing the company for negligence.

 The chairman of the Parents Teachers Association (PTA), Lagos branch, Mr. Cyril Akinyeli, who addressed newsmen, said based on the conducts of the transport company and the revelation of their negligence of the children placed under their care, the PTA had no other alternative than to take the company to court.
 The PTA chairman, who explained why the company must be taken to the court, said: “Two days to the fateful Saturday, we have paid the transport company and they assured us of a sound vehicle.”

 He said the manager of the transport company in Enugu assured him that the company had made arrangement for a good vehicle. He said he was shocked when he called on Saturday and he was told that the vehicle broke down.“Even when our children begged the driver that they should stop over at Ore as they had been warned of robbery attacks on the road, the driver said his bus had been booked for Sunday.”

 He denied the reports that their children were raped saying, “only one woman said the robbers made attempt to rape her and when she told them she was pregnant, they allowed her to go. On why some students were with bloodstains when they arrived Lagos on Sunday he said: “The blood stains were that of bullet wounds sustained by some of them.”
 However, more revelations continued to trail the attack as more victims narrated their ordeals. One of the parents, who was in the bus during the robbery attack, told the gathering how she escaped being raped by the hoodlums.

 According to her (names withheld), when the armed robbers stopped the vehicle and ordered the occupants to alight, the occupants obeyed. She said while they were out of the bus, they began to hear gunshots and the armed robbers who suspected that the gunshots were from the police, ordered the passengers to go back into the vehicle. She said while about 25 occupants had entered, the armed robbers zoomed off with those already in the bus leaving many others on the road.
 She said when the robbers had driven a reasonable distance inside the bush, the driver of the bus was ordered to stop.

 According to her, “immediately the driver stopped, the robbers ordered everybody out of the vehicle again and warned us to strip ourselves, which we did. The robbers tried to rape me but I told them that I was pregnant.” Continuing, she said: “As I told them that I was pregnant, they left me alone and I regained my freedom.” On whether she saw any other person being raped, she said: “I can only speak for myself, I was not raped. They made attempt but I told them that I was pregnant and they left me alone.”

 The woman, who blamed the transport company for carelessness that made them to be attacked, said they begged the driver to stop over at Ore, but he refused. Another male parent, who simply identified himself as Sunday narrated how he went through hell trying to make sure that the lives of the children were saved. He said on the fateful Saturday, he and other parents had gone to the Ekene Dili-Chukwu park at Jibowu, Lagos to pick their children but were disappointed that at 3.00pm, the bus had not arrived.

 He said when he made enquiries, he discovered that the vehicle broke down on the way and he quickly informed the manager. He said at about 7.30pm, the manager arranged for another vehicle to go and pick up the children.
 He said he was one of the three parents who volunteered to follow the new bus to Ondo State. He said when they arrived Ondo, the driver of the faulty bus ordered the new bus back to Lagos, claiming that the broken down bus had been repaired.
 According to him, on their way back in the bus conveying the students, many drivers and some policemen were warning the driver to return to Ore that armed robbers were operating on the way.

 He said: “Our driver refused to stop saying that the vehicle has been booked as the first bus to go back to the East on Sunday. We begged him to heed the advice of his fellow drivers and the police but he refused.” He said when the robbers barricaded the road, the driver ran away leaving them to their fate.“He even abandoned the key to the vehicle in the ignition.
 “I was among the 17 passengers left on the road, whether the robbers raped anybody in the bush, I cannot tell but nobody was raped in my presence,” he said.
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