By Favour Nnabugwu and Leo Aligwo
Parents and adults generally have responsibility to care for, educate, and discipline children but when the children begin to detest the parents, then the situation calls for concern.
13 -year-old Blessing Chia allegedly fell victim to regular beating by his step father, Mr Benjamin Richard, 35, who, as she claimed, later lusted after her.
The allegation by the girl that the step father serially raped her to the point of her getting pregnant is a subject of police investigations.
Blessing told Sunday Vanguard, “The first time my mother was not around, he took cane and was beating me and told me that if I messed up, he would kill me, that if I shouted or if my mummy heard anything about it, he was going to kill me.
“So the one that happened on Thursday, November 13, 2014, I told him that I would tell my mummy and I dared to see if he would kill me. So l told my mummy.
He raped me four times, the first time was when my mother travelled to Makurdi, Benue State.’’
Blessing’s mother, Mrs Grace Richard, 30, said her daughter reported to her that the stepfather raped her but her husband denied it when she confronted him.
She confirmed that it was during the period she traveled to her home state (Benue) and left her daughter in the care of her stepfather that he first allegedly raped her.
‘’That was two months ago when I travelled to Makurdi and she told me immediately I came back,” the mother said.
“My husband denied and even threatened to beat me black and blue if l ever asked him such a question again”.
Grace said she was not, in the real sense of it, married to the father of Blessing whom she had at the age of 17 before the father died in a motor accident last year.
Blessing’s mother said she and her current husband have been together for four years during which she had a boy child for him. The boy, she said, lives with her mother-in-law.
Mrs Martina Moses, Grace’s elder sister, told Blessing’s story to Sunday Vanguard.
‘’I was in Gwagalape on Thursday when my sister called me around 5pm to help settle an issue Blessing had with a neighbour over SIM card.’’
She continued: ‘’While in their house, I saw my sister’s husband and I asked him where my sister was. He said my sister was on her way to home, that he sent her to collect money from a friend.
‘’I then asked after my niece, Blessing. Richard got angry and said the girl was very stubborn, that he was going to tie her up in a room before dropping me off . He said if he didn’t tie the girl up, she would run away. He tied the girl’s hands and feet in my presence. I pleaded on my niece’s behalf with his stepfather to no avail.
‘’Later that night, my sister came to my house around 11pm and I asked her what she was doing outside that late. She told me that her husband was threatening her.
‘’Grace was afraid to go back home because she was sure Richard would beat her up. That prompted her to go to her elder sister, Martina’s house, so that Martina could follow her back home in order to stop Richard carrying out his threat of beating her. And because it was late in the night, Grace was forced to pass the night at the elder sister’s place.
‘’The following day, being Friday, Martina sent somebody to Richard’s place to bring Blessing. But rather releasing Blessing to the man Martina sent, Richard took the girl on his motorcycle to Martina’s house himself.
‘’On getting to Martina’s house, Blessing ran into her aunty’s arms, and wept profusely after which she claimed that her mother’s husband raped her four times.
‘’After listening to Blessing, Martina said she took the girl to Richard and asked her to repeat what she told her inside in the presence of the stepfather and Blessing repeated everything.
“Right there, l told my sister and her husband that the rape issue will not be swept under the carpet. l asked my brother to go and report the issue at a police station, but my brother advised that we first report the matter to Richard’s mother. It was then that Richard’s mother said we should take Blessing for test, and that took us to Aso police station where we were referred to Nyanya police station since the alleged rape took place in Nyanya.
“When we got to Nyanya police station, the police interrogated the stepfather and he denied yet again. It was at that point the police locked him up.
‘’The police told Richard that the only thing that could save him was if the result of the test indicated that Blessing was still a virgin, but the test showed that Blessing had not only been deflowered but also pregnant. Meanwhile, the police that had the hospital report with them did not disclose the number of weeks Blessing has been pregnant.
‘’We went back to the police station the following day after Richard was detained, only to be told that his father had bailed him.
‘’On getting back to Richard’s house after he was bailed, he tried to convince his neighbours to accept that Blessing was wayward, but his neighbours refused to play along with him. Rather they claimed they heard Blessing screaming on that Thursday but did know the reason.’’
The investigating police officer, IPO, in charge of the case, who did not want her name mentioned, told Sunday Vanguard that Blessing was indeed pregnant but that investigations were in progress.
At press time, Richard had been re-arrested by the police.