By Esther Onyegbula
When 12-year-old Peace(not real name)left her home town in Imo state to live with her aunt in Lagos, last December , her parents expectation was for her to get the best of education her guardian could afford. Enthusiastic Peace was said to have bid her parents farewell, with a promise to be a good girl and at also, grow up some day to lift the burden of poverty off them.
But seven months down the lane, Peace is regretting her decision of leaving her parents watchful eyes , following her traumatized tale of how she was raped by a man she called uncle, in a house she worked as a maid, on June 20, 2014.
Upon leaving the village, Peace was said to have stayed with her aunt, one madam Ijeoma , a trader, at Oba Akran area of Ikeja , Lagos. However , in January this year, Ijeoma reportedly gave peace to a banker friend , one Maureen, who lives in a three bedroom apartment at 32 Mosalasi street in Maza-Maza area of Lagos.
Rather than enroll Peace in school, Crime Guard investigation revealed that the banker compelled Peace beyond her volition to take care of her aged mother. While Maureen went to work that fateful day, ‘uncle Kingsley’, allegedly defiled the 12 year-old girl.
Narrating her ordeal to Crime Guard, Peace said: “I was busy washing plates in the kitchen when uncle Kingsley asked me to come to his bed room to help him read out a message on his phone. Immediately I entered his room, he grabbed me and forcefully removed my pants and raped me. My scream attracted mama’s attention and she called and asked why I was crying . Before I could respond, uncle Kingsley told her not to worry, that there was no problem. When he wanted to do it again, I struggled and managed to escape and ran to a nearby church where I met a woman. I remained in the church and joined them in the vigil till the next day.
I was afraid to go home the next day .While I was sitting by the road side, the landlord of the house where I was sexually abused saw me and took me back home. When I got home, one of Kingsley’s sisters who came to the house beat me mercilessly for running away from the house. They later called my aunt Ijeoma, who brought me from the village and informed her that I ran away from home.
They told her they were bringing me back because I was wasting food . But it was not true”
Crime Guard gathered that investigation into the alleged rape began after the Lagos State Commissioner of Police , Umar Manko received a petition from the National coordinator, Network on Police Reform in Nigeria (NOPRIN), Okechukwu Nwanguma, to investigate the act , with a view to ensuring that the alleged culprit was prosecuted in court if found culpable.
Consequently, the Divisional Police Officer in-charge of Satellite was directed by the CP to look into the matter. Efforts by the police to effect the arrest of the accused, Kingsley, reportedly failed as his wife was said to have told the policemen that her husband was not home each time they called.
Victim’s aunt’s account
In an interview with the victim’s aunt , Ijeoma, a widow with three children, she said: “ “I received a call from Maureen’s family ,informing me that they were bringing back my niece because she was wasting their food and that she ran out of the house. True to their word, Maurine, brought my niece.
When she left, I started questioning my niece on why she ran away from home. To my shock, she opened up that Uncle Kinsley sexually abused her. Upon examining her, I noticed that her private part was severely bruised and an offensive liquid smell was emitting from it. .Immediately ,I took her to Adeniyi Jones Primary healthcare centre,where the Medical Officer confirmed that she was raped. The report from the hospital confirmed that there were bruises in her virginal and they issued a referral slip to the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, LASUTH.
“Instead of taking her to the hospital for treatment for the bruises resulting from the rape, Maurine claimed she returned my niece for wasting food. Even when I called her to ask her about the incident, she replied me with threat text messages . As if that was not enough, she also came to my house to threaten my family and accused me of attempting to exploit her family|”
“ I thought Maureen was a member of my church because it was printed in our weekly bulletin that someone needed a house maid . When I met her, she pleaded that she needed a little girl who would take care of her mum since she usually goes to work early and comes back late.
Part of the bargain was for her to send the person to school. But to my shock, I discovered that my niece has been in that house since January. I also found out that she is not a member of my church . What baffles me is how her request entered the church’s bulletin.
Anyway, all I need is justice. I am therefore pleading with the police to investigate the case thoroughly”, she said.