– Father pleads for President Weah’s intervention
The 7-year-old daughter of Nat Bayjay, a Liberian was "sexually abused" multiple times by two boys at the Liberian embassy in Abuja.
Bayjay, who works at the embassy as Minister Counselor for Press and Public Affairs, claimed that for the past seven months, his daughter has been constantly sexually abused by two boys, ages 15 and 16, who are under the guardianship of a fellow embassy staff member.
The alleged abuse, according to Bayjay, took place on the premises of the Liberian Embassy in Abuja and, since then, the abusers' guardian has shown no remorse for his relatives’ actions and has refused to help shoulder the medical bills of the girl.
“One of my daughters, aged just 7, was unfortunately sexually abused for seven months by two different perpetrators. These rapists not once, not twice, but multiple times for seven months, abused my daughter right on the premises of the Liberian Embassy in Abuja,” Bayjay explained. “These two perpetrators themselves were under the guidance of a colleague diplomat who is also assigned at the Abuja Mission. And up to today’s date, the diplomat has shown no remorse for the acts carried out by his wards against my baby.”
“I’m constrained to use this public space because all efforts that I have applied diplomatically to get the attention of relevant authorities here to particularly care for the welfare of my sexually abused baby have only produced no response, making closure on such a traumatizing incident to be yet far off and continues to haunt my family,” he added.
And while Bayjay is complaining of his daughter's plight, the matter has been sent to court after an investigation by the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Justice.
Dr. Al-Hassan Conteh, Liberian Ambassador Extraordinary, and Plenipotentiary to the Federal Republic of Nigeria told the Daily Observer yesterday in an interview via WhatsApp that the matter is out of his jurisdiction and now in the hands of the Ministry of Justice which has sent the matter to court.
But for Bayjay, his major concern is not just the court, but the health of his daughter which he claims is deteriorating daily and negatively affecting her education.
Bayjay added that while the government has taken steps to forward the matter to court, it has ignored his plea for the past 8 months regarding the responsibility to cater to the child’s well-being while pursuing justice.
He added that during this period, his family has had to single-handedly pay for all medical checkups and post-traumatic and other forms of psychosocial counseling – a service which he believes should have been provided for by the government.
“As medical result reveals, our baby’s sexual torture at the hands of these perpetrators has caused substantial damages to her womanhood which, if not corrected medically at this very moment, would just ruin her future,” the Liberian diplomat said. “And all I have asked from my government is at least some form of attention for this young victim, someone who suffered repeated abuse from these rapists.”
“But all I have gotten in response from my government in this aspect of welfare for the child is ‘cold-shoulder’ with no concern at all for my daughter’s deteriorating health, which is affecting her so gravely in particular and my entire family in general. This is hurting our once brilliant daughter’s schooling, including her academic performances due to her ‘on-and-off health situation,” he noted.
Meanwhile, Bayjay has accused Amb. Conteh's of unnecessary prejudice, forcing him to relocate his family out of the government-assigned apartment base.
Bayjay claims that the action of Amb. Conteh convinced him that his family would no longer be safe under the leadership of the ambassador.
The relocation, Bayjay noted, comes after he had asked the ambassador to show leadership in such a grave case but the ambassador “deceptively described it as a ‘red line crossed,” and used his ego to downplay the common sense of sympathy for a young victim who needed protection instead of perpetrators.
“The Ambassador’s ego would only ensure that both our personal and professional relationships are erased on account of me, the father of a young victim taking a stance against his biased approach that only protected the perpetrators rather than the victim,” he said.
Bayjay continued: “I have come here today as a very last resort to gain the attention of President George Weah, who heads this government, a government that is my direct employer for which I have diligently served, to personally intervene in this very stressful situation that happened to my family while on national duty in Abuja, the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
“I am using this means to bring to the attention of President Weah the deteriorating health condition of my daughter. He is a father and a chief protector of child’s rights and I am very sure that, when this reaches him, he will listen,” Bayjay wrote in a statement.
He said the public call to President Weah comes after efforts to get the relevant authorities to assist in the welfare of the child yielded no result and in the wake of the ongoing 16 Days of Activism, which is under the global theme: “End Violence Against Women Now”!
“While I have been in Monrovia for the past two months in pursuit of justice, I keep getting calls from my family that my daughter's health is declining - causing her to miss out on school for several days. The long process of litigation, [so we] cannot cater to the welfare of this innocent child solely on humanitarian grounds. If this litigation lingers for a year, [it is] the family that will be going through the financial stress of her health, which is already in a poor state,” he said.
The Liberian diplomat is also extending his appeal to Vice President Dr. Jewel Howard-Taylor and the First Lady, Madam Clar Marie Weah, whom he believes are known as international female advocates as well as the Ministry of Gender and Social Protection.
“The attention of all-female advocacy groups, including the Association of Female Lawyers Association of Liberia (AFELL) and the Female Journalists Association of Liberia (FeJaL) are also being sought here,” he said.