Cases of rape are on the increase in Lagos State but Ngozi Braide, Lagos State police public relations officer, gives reason. She says the increase is caused by the refusal of parents to prosecute offenders
| By Chinwe Okafor | Apr. 14, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT
INCREASING cases of rape have become a big worry in Lagos State. Rape has become a topical issue of discussion ever since the story of Olanike Olaiya, a 29- year old lady, was raped by Obesere Akande, a popular Fuji musician at an apartment in Ago, Okota area of Lagos on February 12, this year. According to Olaiya, a National Diploma graduate of business administration from Ibadan Polytechnic, she knew Obesere through a female friend. Was she tricked and lured into a lion’s den? Perhaps.
“She promised me that Obesere would connect me to some friends in Dubai who would assist me in my business because he did same for her and when I contacted him, he asked me to meet him in his family house at Okota. When I met him, I introduced my business to him and he promised to assist me but the meeting took another dimension after the discussion because he started demanding for sex and I refused.
“When I insisted on leaving, he pleaded that I should sleep over in his house because it was late claiming that it was dangerous to go out late in the night in his area. I decided to sleep over, but at the dead of the night, he came into the room where I slept and pounced on me, raped me and afterwards inserted a ring he wore into my private part and I started bleeding. He hurriedly left me in the room saying he had an appointment to keep. I could not bear the trauma and the bleeding and I reported the matter to the police,” Olaiya said.
Realnews gathered that Obesere was arrested by the police from Isolo Police Division, where Olaiya reported the matter. He was subsequently released on administrative bail but was later re-arrested when medical examination conducted on Olaiya revealed that she was actually raped. Consequently, Adamu Ibrahim, Divisional Police Officer, Isolo, transferred the matter to the State Criminal Investigation Department, SCID, Panti, Yaba, for further investigation.
The dust had barely settled on the Obesere story when another case of rape was reported to the State Criminal Investigation Department. This time, Gbenga Asaye, a 28 year old bus driver, allegedly abducted and raped an 18-year old student of Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education, Ijanikin, Lagos State, for 21 days. Also, two youngsters Aremu, 15 and Wasiu, 16 were also arraigned at a Yaba Chief Magistrate’s Court for allegedly having carnal knowledge of a 13- year old pupil of St. Paul’s Primary School, Mafoluku, Oshodi, Lagos.
These are just few examples which show what many women in Nigeria, both young and old, are being subjected to. Rape used to be a matter that was hushed in whispers or rumours because it belongs to the realm of forbidden acts and was indeed uncommon. But in recent times, the reverse has been the case. The media are inundated with reports of cases of rape which have become a common phenomenon everywhere in homes, the neighbourhoods, schools, worship centres, among others. Experts have raised the alarm on the danger which rape portends in the society.
Aliu Damilola, a clinical psychologist with the federal neuro-psychiatric hospital, Lagos, said from observation, children are mainly the targets of rapists today because they are naïve and can’t protect themselves as well. “Aside the punishment given to anybody that rapes a child or an adult, parents have a big work to do. Parents should take time to study their children, examine them regularly and create an enabling environment that would enable them to report any one they suspect around them. We should not wait for something to happen before reporting it. And for the adult ladies, they should try and dress decently to avoid harassment,” she said
According to Damilola, children who suffer constant rape or sexual abuse either by their relatives, neighbours or someone older than them may end up having some psychological symptoms like post-traumatic stress disorder and rape trauma syndrome which is always characterised by symptoms like withdrawal, anxiety and constant nightmares in adulthood. These, she said, are all manifest symptoms of rape tendencies.
Onikepo Oshodi, president, women empowerment movement, a non-governmental organisation, NGO, is not impressed by government’s handling of rape cases in the country. She said that her group, in collaboration with other bodies, had started compiling cases of rape and other abuses against the girl-child. “The initiative would enable the group to forward recommendations to the state and federal governments for proactive measures to stop the trend. We want the government to come out and tell us what their position is especially the Ministry of Women Affairs. We cannot continue to watch like this. They have to do more than they have been doing,” she said.
Ngozi Braide, Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, said the unwillingness of some rape victims and their parents to help the police prosecute the cases are responsible for the increase of the crime in Nigeria. “As long as rape victims and their parents refuse to show interest in prosecuting the case, the offenders will go scot-free and more of such crimes will happen. The victims of rape or defilement are the main witnesses the police need to send the offenders to prison. The case is a serious offence under the Nigerian law. An offender could be sentenced to life imprisonment if found guilty. We have many people who should be behind bars for violent crimes against women, but because the people concerned are not willing to come forward to assist the police in prosecution, they are walking freely and even committing more of such crimes,” Braide said.
Braide then called on parents, particularly women, to show concern and stand behind their wards to prosecute rape offenders, stressing that if the crime remained unchallenged, there would be the possibility of its increase. She said that about four cases of rape and defilement by some men against their daughters were recorded since she assumed duty in Lagos command in the last nine months but regretted that nobody had been prosecuted.
“Parents should know that they are not helping their children by accepting to settle rape cases out of court. They are killing the future of such children. You cannot quantify the pains encountered by the victims with monetary settlement. My advice for women is that they should rise up to fight any form of abuse against women, particularly rape and defilement. The victims and the minors cannot help themselves; their parents must therefore stand up for them. The police are willing to prosecute any rape case if those with useful information about it would be willing to come forward with evidence.”