GOOD FOR NIGERIANS

Sunday, 14 April 2013

TERRIBLE: 6 year old Girl narrates how 3 men (aged 43, 21, and 19) took turns to rape her

She will be seven years this year. Yet her life has been marred by terrible and unimaginable experiences far beyond her age.

For about a year, she was defiled severally by three men. They did so many unimaginable things to her, to the point of being threatened with death, until nemesis caught up with her alleged rapists early this year.

Cynthia (real name withheld) is a girl full of life. She is intelligent, sound, and sharp enough to relate her different experiences in the hands of her tormentor. Even in the face of threats by the police prosecutor, she refused to be cowed as she maintained her story. But beneath all these is a serious pain that only continued expression of love and counselling can heal.

The pain is a direct consequence of how she was sexually violated by the three alleged rapists including 43-year old Kassim, Oluwatobi (21) and James (19) who were alleged to have serially defiled the little girl between July 2012 and January 2013.

Oluwatobi and James respectively are, however, claiming to be 17.

Two of the men, James and Oluwatobi have already at different times been arraigned at a Magistrate Court in Ikeja, Lagos for the alleged defilement. Police said they could not find Kassim. The arraignment of Oluwatobi held weeks after that of James. Like James, Oluwatobi was arraigned on a one-count charge of unlawful sexual intercourse with the hapless little girl.

The charge sheet reads: “That you Oluwatobi ‘m’ between July 2012 and January 13, 2013 at Idowu Egba, Ikotun, Lagos in Lagos Magisterial District, had sexual intercourse with one Cynthia ‘f’ aged 7 years and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 137 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State of Nigeria, 2011.”

Cynthia, who lived with her aunt, Ngozi, and her husband at the Isheri area of Lagos, herself narrated what she suffered in the hands of the men.

“My uncle (her aunt’s husband) and I were going to the shop. Oluwatobi saw us. He then greeted my uncle. I also greeted him.

“But the next day, my uncle told me to stay at home and do my home work. My uncle said he would be back at home that he wanted to collect money from his shop.

“I went downstairs to buy biscuit. Oluwatobi then saw me and greeted me. He said, ‘Fine girl, how are you?’ I said ‘Fine.’”

Cynthia said Oluwatobi asked her if he could buy her something too. She said he bought her gala and a bottle of Coca-cola. After establishing a relationship with her, Oluwatobi asked his victim to show him her house and she innocently did, not knowing that it would mark the beginning of her ordeal in the hand of the alleged rapists.

Cynthia said that Oluwatobi later came into their house, played football with her and left. She said the next day, Oluwatobi, James and one small boy visited their house, and, in the course of playing with her, they allegedly thrust their fingers inside her private part.

She claimed the next day to that, Oluwatobi and James came again, this time without the small boy and did the same thing with her.

“On another day again, Oluwatobi came with Kassim. Kassim was holding a knife and a pack of Five-Alive fruit juice and gala. When Oluwatobi was leaving, he left Kassim behind who allegedly had carnal knowledge of her later. He said that if I shouted, he would kill me with the knife. When Kassim had finished, he said I should show him our bathroom. I showed him and he bathed himself. After bathing, he said I should bring a glass cup and he shared the Five-Alive. He gave me four rolls of gala while he took two. When we finished, he told me to throw the empty pack of Five-Alive into the dustbin,” Cynthia narrated.

She said Kassim left after he had made sure that she had thrown away the empty pack of the juice.

Cynthia, who was then getting used to being violated every day, was relieved temporarily as she escaped being abused the next day by the suspects.

“But the next day, I did not see Kassim because I went to my aunt’s sister’s place at Igando for holiday.”

However, when she came back from Igando, the sexual assault continued.

According to her, “when I came back from my aunt’s sister’s place, I was sent on an errand by my aunt. On my way I met Kassim who asked after my uncle and aunt. I told him they were around. Kassim now said I should come to his house and allegedly had carnal knowledge of her.

The next day, Cynthia had another encounter with Oluwatobi. “The next day, I wanted to go and buy biscuit for Chibuike, my little brother (the aunt’s son), Oluwatobi saw me.”

Oluwatobi, according to Cynthia, who was then with her little cousin, asked her to follow him to his house. She said Oluwatobi threatened that if she refused, he would make sure she got lost and so would not see her parents again. Consequently, she became afraid and followed him to his house while carrying her two-year old cousin along. She alleged that Oluwatobi told her to lie on the bed and defiled her once again.

“When he finished, he told me to go and bathe in his bathroom. I later left with my brother to buy the biscuit”, she said.

On getting home, her aunt, who had become worried, asked her why she came back late, “but I told her that there were many people that wanted to buy things from the Mallam who sells provisions in the neighbourhood”.

Cynthia said she did not report her experiences to her aunt and her husband because Kassim threatened to deal with her, if she mentioned his name.

Cynthia’s aunt, Ngozi, said when the ordeal of her niece started, she was not in Lagos but Abuja where she preferred to be delivered a baby. She said she was in Abuja between June and August last year, and even had to return to Abuja for medical attention because some complications developed after she had given birth through a Ceasarean section. So, Cynthia was left in the care of her husband and a cousin while she was in Abuja.

She said it was in January this year that she was going through the little girl’s clothes and discovered that her underwear had blood stains.

Ngozi suspected that something was wrong. She had to persuade her until she told her about James who worked in a barber’s shop nearby. She said Cynthia told her that James defiled her and threatened to deal with her should she reveal what he had done to her.

Ngozi said: “Immediately I called my pastor and told him what happened. He called one of the members of our church who is a policewoman. The woman said I had to come down to the Ikotun Police Station to officially report.”

She said that after the police had interviewed Cynthia, they got James arrested. She said the father of James was trying to defend his son, that he could not have defiled the girl since he, the father, was a pastor.

James was, however, detained and arraigned at a Magistrate’s Court in Ikeja where he was granted bail.

James, according to Ngozi, confessed to the crime. James, she alleged, wrote a confessional statement at the police station. But James’s father had been maintaining that he made the statement under duress.

As at this time, Cynthia’s guardians did not know that more than one person was involved in the act.

“It was two weeks later that we discovered that there were others. I heard my two-year-old son ordering Cynthia to lie down in bed. I wondered how a two-year old boy could talk like that. So I asked Cynthina where Chibuike learnt that. She was just staring at me. I insisted on getting an answer from her. It was then she told me it was one Oluwatobi that said that to her and that Chibuike was present when he did that.

“I started shouting and asked if Chibuike was watching as Oluwatobi defiled her. She said yes but that he was ordered to look at the dressing mirror in his room. She told me about Oluwatobi and Kassim but that the police were reluctant to arrest them.

She said Oluwatobi’s parents were alleging that she wanted to extort money from them while Kassim’s wife claimed that her husband was not in Lagos.

Events after the arraignment of Oluwatobi have, however, made Ngozi to get worried. Ngozi claimed the police were no longer working in their interest as her niece is now being treated as an offender and made to be scared. She claimed that even when Oluwatobi was eventually arrested and arraigned before an Ikeja Magistrate’s Court presided over by Mrs. E. B Daodu, the police prosecutor, identified as Anthonia, allegedly threatened her niece.

She said that herself and her husband were surprised that the police prosecutor, who was supposed to be working in her interest, made an application for Cynthia to be remanded in the Child Correctional Centre at Yaba. Anthonia, she said, claimed that the application was necessary because the guardians could not take care of Cynthia and that this was what made her vulnerable to sexual assault.

Read more: The Nation Newspapers

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