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Love Thy Neighbour….

By Kate Henshaw-Nuttal
Who are the people in your neighbourhood? They are the people that we meet when we are walking down the street; they are the people that we meet each day.

During the week, blackberry messengers were agog with links about a gruesome rape of a young lady by five boys/men who are students of Abia State University. These boys raped the girl in turns for an hour supposedly and filmed it and then uploaded for all to see.

Where did this brazen courage to perform such a dastardly act, and boast about it come from? Could it be that they knew that they were untouchable and it would be swept under the carpet and nothing would be done about it like many such ills in our society that go unpunished? I did not want to watch it as they were warnings that if you did not have the stomach for it, then you should not view this sick video.

Finally, I summed up the courage to look at it and I was in tears, my heart stopped for a minute, I was sick to my stomach!

I thought of my daughter and I shuddered to think that would ever happen to her because, God help me, I would seek out the perpetrators and make them pay with their lives! I would not rest till justice was done!

The Minister of Youth Development, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi in a National daily of September 9, directed the Vice Chancellor of Abia State University, Uturu, Prof Chibuzo Ogbuagu to step up efforts in arresting and prosecuting those who allegedly rough-handled and sexually exploited a young lady in his institution.

Further information filtered in that the Abia State Government wants to sweep the rape case under the carpet by saying that the rapists and victim are not students of the said institution. Do they have to be students of the University? They are citizens of the state, and the crime was committed in the state.

Surely, the girl in question deserves protection. The police should be instructed to bring the rapists to book. My question now is, will the young lady have the courage to come forward and speak,mention names and if there is possible arrest of suspects,could she identify the wicked boys? It is obvious she knows her attackers as she called them by their names and was constantly begging them to let her go or kill her.

Or would she hide her head in shame because the society will look at her in pity, shame and disdain? Will her family or guardian stand with her and believe her story and not say she asked for it because she is wayward or they would rather tell her to keep quiet for fear of what people around them will think and say about them?

It happens all over the world and only those with courage will walk into the police station or relevant authority to seek redress. The police abroad, however, will immediately take the lady to the hospital for a medical examination and get evidence in the form of DNA and fluids deposited in the lady during the act and that way, they can profile the suspects and bring them in for questioning.

What will our Nigerian police do? Do we have any criminal data with regards to rapists? Almost three months after Titi Arowolo’s gruesome murder, the case is still under investigation, the pathological result is yet to be delivered!

Why is it taking so long? Who is in charge and why are they not performing their duty to speed up the process so that her remains can be laid to rest? What do they have to gain from this delay? Is it a case of man-know-man and they want to delay it for as long as possible so that we forget and nothing is done to the murderer? There are so many questions, so little answers.

What will it take to be your neighbour’s keeper, to love you neighbour and to care about what happens around us? We all have a mother, daughter, sister, aunty in our lives and how would we feel if it happened to them? Of course, we would not be silent. Those of us who have the where-withal will move heaven and earth and leave no stone unturned till we get our pound of flesh. The Bible tells us to love our neighbour as ourselves. Are we doing that? It is not enough to get dressed on Sunday or any other day that we go to our place of worship and lift up our hands to God singing songs to Him when we have turned a blind eye to the plight of our neighbour. The change we seek starts within us in our own little or big space.

The mode of communication these days is so advanced that it is easy for good and bad news to get around quicker, what with BBMs, internet, etc. Xplore Nollywood Assembly (a blackberry group) released this communiqué: Rape is a heinous crime against humanity.

It is an act of dehumanization… . In all sense, it is morbid and a manifestation of the highest crudity in man. We condemn in its entirety the recent act of five young men raping a young girl and posting same on the net. We therefore call on all relevant authorities to put all efforts in order to fish out these demons.

This wicked crime should not be treated with levity. The Abia State Government should do more than deny the obvious. Rape is rape whether the victims are students or not. This criminal act must not be politicized. We demand an all embracing action by law enforcement agencies against the perpetrators of this crime.



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