By IKE UCHECHUKWU
CALABAR— CONTROVERSY over alleged defilement of a four-year-old girl at Calabar, Cross River State, by her 60-year-old stepfather has deepened with a rights activist/principal counsel, Basic Rights Counsel Initiative, Calabar, James Ibor, calling on the Attorney General of Cross River State, Mr. Joe Abang, to direct the Commissioner of Police to investigate the police detectives and the doctor that examined the case and issued a medical report exonerating the suspect.
Abor, in a petition to the Attorney-General, also called for re-investigation of the entire case, querying why the suspect ended up being charged for attempted rape when there was evidence of rape.
He said: “Our client is a victim of sexual defilement allegedly perpetrated by her step-father. The suspect was arraigned before the Chief Magistrate Court. Upon arraignment, however, the magistrate declined jurisdiction and ordered that the case be transmitted to the Director of Public Prosecution, DPP, for legal advice.
“Also, and weirdly too, there are now three conflicting medical reports by certified medical practitioners, who variously examined our client after the incident. The first is the one from the Nigerian Navy Hospital, Calabar and General Hospital respectively. “It is now obvious that the police officers who investigated this case left a great deal undone. We specifically pray you to order for an investigation of the police officers who investigated the case and the doctor at the Police Hospital,” he said.
Why we want review
Pointing out that the police medical report contradicted an earlier medical report by the Nigerian Navy Hospital, NNH, Calabar, the legal practitioner opined that the Police were possibly trying to frustrate the case. There has been hullabaloo in Calabar since a police medical report indicated that the girl’s hymen was not broken (meaning she was not defiled), while a separate medical report from NNH and General Hospital, Calabar, pointed to the contrary, which is that the hymen was broken.
The activist asserted: “It is strange that the police as a matter of practice compel victims of crime to be presented to the police clinic notwithstanding that they are being treated by other hospitals, even government hospitals far better than the Police clinic.”
Loss of confidence
He queried:”Who told them (police) that medical report from private or other government hospitals are not recognized by law, I have lost confidence in the investigation carried out by the police, the charge says attempted rape, but there is evidence of rape. “They should tell us the circumstances that could have warranted their report to read that her hymen was intact, while two medical reports from NNH and General Hospital corroborating that the hymen was no longer intact,” he said.
Ibor explained: “After discovering that there was concerted efforts to scuttle the case, that is why we have written again to the Attorney General of Cross River state and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Joe Abang to re-investigate not just the entire process of investigation, but the police officers, who investigated the matter earlier.”
According to him: “Why did the police not follow up the Nigerian Navy Hospital report, which came before theirs, instead, they ignored that of the NNH to issue another form which after their own examination (Police), which showed that the girl’s hymen was still intact, contrary to what the NNH medical report proved (that the hymen was not intact.)
“So, we want the Commissioner of Police to investigate the police officers who investigated the matter, including the medical doctor from NPH. All the officers, who investigated the matter starting from Federal Housing Police station and the medical doctor, who carried out the medical examination on the girl at the Nigeria Police Hospital (NPH), must be investigated.
“The man made a confessional statement admitting that he committed the crime and the police are also alluding that the man is demented, without any psychiatric examination. We are tempted to believe that the police have been bribed to frustrate the case,” Ibor said.
What police commissioner told NDV
Findings by NDV showed that the four-year-old was presented to the NNH on July 19 with a two-day history of pains in her vagina. (Incident happened July 17). But more importantly, the medical report revealed that her hymen was not intact, corroborating the General Hospital’s vaginals examination report, which also revealed absence of hymen.
Police authorities in the state in a report published by NDV, August 9, had categorically stated that there was no defilement, but indecent assault, as there was “no penetration,” indicating that her hymen was not tampered with.
Police medical report
Commissioner of Police, Mr. Ozi Obeh Jimoh, had said: ”The case reported to us was defilement, but investigations carried out did not prove defilement, but indecent assault because based on the medical report from the Nigeria Police Hospital, carried out by a competent medical and qualified doctor, there was no defilement. According to the medical report, there was no penetration.”
Navy, GH differ with police
Curiously, the medical report from NNH, NNH/CAL 019/25/08/VOL 11/38, dated August 22, 2016, read: “The above named is a 4-year old child, who was presented to the hospital with the mother July 19 with a two- day (17 July 2016) history of pains in the vagina.
”According to her, the assailant put his hands into her vagina after which he forced his penis into her vagina.” “She was said to have bled for one day but the bleeding could not be quantified. However, bleeding was said to have stopped the night before presentation. No history of abdominal pain, no fever. No other associated symptoms.
“The Uro-genital system examination revealed normal female external genitalia with area of hyper-pigmentation around the vulva. The hymen was not intact, alleged bleeding could not be ascertained .Some antibiotics were also prescribed. “However, patient did not come back with investigation report for review. The hospital’s consultant obstetrician and gynecologist further reviewed the child noting the above vaginal findings and concurred with the fact that the hymen was not intact,” it stated.
The report from the General Hospital also showed that the girl’s hymen was not intact with only that of police proving otherwise. The police examination was carried out in between that of NNH on July 19 with a two-day history and General Hospital on August 6. Efforts by our reporter to get both the Commissioner of Police and the Attorney General for further clarification proved abortive at press time.
Suspect beats Chukwu, police arrest her
Meanwhile, the victim’s mother, Miss Amaka Festus Chukwu, alleged that the suspect beat her up on the street with a walking street when she saw him and demanded feeding money to feed his four-month-old baby. Her words: “I went out one morning to buy things and I ran into him, I greeted him but he did not answer, so I asked him why he has not come to give us feeding money as he agreed and singed in front of the village council.”
“He told me to go to hell, that the child does not belong to him and that after all, he told me not to divulge what happened to anyone, and that if I did, he would no longer take care of us, that but I did otherwise. So for that, he is no longer responsible for their clothing, shelter and food,” she told NDV.
Village head, others intervene
“After beating me, he went to the Federal Housing Police Station to report that I assaulted him and the police arrested me. It took the intervention of the community for me to be released and he gave me N5, 000 for our upkeep through the village head, Chief Raymond Otu, that evening,
‘’But he came back again the next day after I was released to tell me that nobody can jail him and that nothing will happen. He threatened to kill me, boasting that my lawyers cannot do anything,” she asserted. Efforts by our reporter to reach both the Commissioner of Police and Attorney General of the state for reaction and further clarification at press time were futile.