BY EVELYN USMAN & ESTHER ONYEGBULA LAGOS — Trouble is brewing at a police division, Lagos Island following claims by a mother of two that she was raped by the Divisional Police Officer, DPO, while in detention at the station.
The 31-year‑old Beninoise, identified as Idowu Akinwunmi, works as a sales girl in a restaurant on Keffi Road, in Ikoyi area of the state.
She was reportedly picked by some policemen from Onikan division, following a complaint lodged by her boss, one Mrs Pelumi Idowu, over an undisclosed reason, at about 1 am. She said she was thrown into the cell on reaching the station.
However, at about 10 pm, Akinwunmi said one Inspector Ajiduwe called her out of the cell and took her to the DPO’s office, where she alleged that the station’s boss forcefully had carnal knowledge of her. According t o her, “He, the DPO, made love to me without a condom, saying he would throw me into prison if I mention the incident to anyone.”
Refund of N10,000 bail
Aside that, she also alleged that the Investigating Police Officer, IPO, collected N10,000 from her for bail before she was released. Akinwunmi told members of the Network on Police Reform in Nigeria, NOPRIN, that she had been having severe abdominal pain sincere the intercourse.
Although the DPO denied raping the detainee, when NOPRIN inquired from him, he reportedly called the man who stood surety for Akinwunmi to come for a refund of the N10,000 bribe for bail they extorted from her after allegedly raping her.
The National Coordinator, NOPRIN, Mr Okechukwu Nwanguma who condemned the rape, said: “NOPRIN condemns the attempt by some police officers at Area A Command, Lion Building to block the victim from lodging a complaint of the rape with the Area Commander and collecting a police report to go for medical examination.” At the command level, Vanguard gathered that the state command frowned at the allegation and had commenced investigation to ascertain the DPO’s alleged culpability. If found guilty, the DPO, said to have put in about 25 years in service, would face disciplinary action. Already, the Command’s boss, Umar Manko, had reportedly summoned the parties involved to the command for interrogation as at 3 pm, yesterday. Spokesperson for the command, Ngozi Braide, however, could not state whether the allegation was true or false but told Vanguard that investigation at the end of the day would prove that, adding: “It is an allegation and we are taking it very serious.” How I was raped — Akinwunmi Narrating her ordeal, Akinwunmi, told Vanguard: “I was arrested because my madam told the police that I allowed one Friday, a customer pass the night in the restaurant. Two relatives of one of the tailors employed by my madam who came on a visit were also arrested. “I am from Cotonou in Benin Republic. I am a mother of two and I have been working for Ms Pelumi for about 10 months now. I have done nothing to deserve this kind of treatment. Is it because I am a foreigner that I would be abused without protection? Nigerians should give me justice. I demand justice for this wrong that has been done to me. “While at the station, I pleaded with one of the police women to allow me take my bath since I have not been allowed to do so since I was arrested and she agreed. “On my way to the bathroom, I met the DPO for the first time. He asked if I was Idowu and I said yes. He then asked why I chose to violate my boss’ rules and I told him it was a mistake. “At about 10pm, one Inspector Ajiduwe took me out of the cell to the DPO, apparently for debriefing on the case. “Immediately the Inspector left the office, the DPO started touching me. When I asked him to stop, he said my boss said they should do anything they liked to me. “He threatened to shoot me and send me and those arrested with me to jail, if I refused to allow him make love to me and that he would release all of us if I gave in. “He, thereafter, took me into the inner room in his office. I began to plead with him to use a condom but he refused and forced himself on me . “When he finished, he told me to wash myself in the bathroom which I did. After that, he sent me back to the cell, with a promise that I would be released. “But when my relatives came to effect our bail, they paid N30,000 for five of us. As we were going, the DPO scribbled his number on a piece of paper and gave to me. “Immediately I left, my relatives took me to the Island Maternity for the necessary medical tests.”