Lockdown triggers rise in rape of minors, CP warns
• Police arrest two who violated neighbours, rescue abused girl from caregiver
• Sit-at-home spiking up domestic violence against women, girls, group says
Nearly a week into the 14 days initial lockdown of some parts of Nigeria as part of measures to contain community transmission of the dreaded coronavirus pandemic, the shutdown may have triggered the rising cases of rape as two minors were reportedly violated by their neighbours last week.
In one of the cases, a man violated a nine-year-old daughter of his neighbour in Ikorodu area of Lagos State. The state police spokesman, Bala Elkana, who confirmed the incident to newsmen yesterday noted that on March 30, at about 1:50 p.m. a woman (name withheld) reported at Ikorodu police station that on March 29, at about 7:10 p.m. she kept her nine-year-old daughter (name withheld) in the care of one Mercy and left for the hospital.
“On getting back from the hospital, she discovered that the girl was no longer there. On searching for her, she saw her with one Christian Chikezie coming out from his house. On enquiry, her daughter told her that the said Christian Chikeze had sexual intercourse with her.
“The survivor was taken to hospital for medical treatment and forensic examination. The suspect has been arrested by detectives from the Juvenile Welfare Centre, Ikorodu Police Station and transferred to Gender Unit, Command Headquarters, Ikeja for discreet investigation and prosecution where the investigation is ongoing.”
In a related development, operatives from Okokomaiko Police Station arrested one Dako Aaron, aged 52, of Olanrewaju Street, Okokomaiko for having sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl (name withheld).
The suspect works as a security guard with a private company in Okokomaiko. He is alleged to have dragged the victim into his security post on two different occasions, first on February 2, and on March 12. The survivor was taken to hospital for medical treatment and forensic examination.
“The suspect has been arrested and transferred to Gender Unit for discreet investigation and prosecution. From records available, the suspect is a habitual paedophile. He was last charged to court on February 22, 2017 for raping a minor.
“The suspects would be charged to court. The Commissioner of Police Lagos State, CP Hakeem Odumosu is using this medium to advise parents to beware of paedophiles preying on their children during the lockdown period. The command has also rescued a 10-year-old girl abused by her caregiver in a viral video.
“On April 3, a case of child abuse was reported online by a mandatory reporter through instablog9ja. Detectives from Gender Unit, Command Headquarters Ikeja in collaboration with DSVRT, Office of the Public Defender and social workers from Ministry of Youth and Social Development rescued the survivor, Ajara, aged 10 at No. 10 Omotoso Street, Igando.
“The abuser, Mrs. Omotayo, aged 45, was arrested. The survivor has been taken to hospital for treatment and kept in a safe home provided by Lagos State Government. The suspect who is a caregiver to the survivor was said to have pushed her and she sustained injuries all over her face. The suspect was seen in the viral video hitting Ajara on the floor. The suspect would be charged to court,” the police spokesman narrated.
Meanwhile, a women group, Women Aid Collective (WACOL), has raised the alarm, drawing attention to a sharp rise in domestic violence, particularly against women and girls. Founding Director of WACOL, Prof. Joy Ezeilo, in a statement released in Abuja at the weekend, said that available statistics indicated that the rise was caused by already bottled anger and other emotional issues among spouses or lovers.
Prof. Ezeilo, however, emphasized the importance of understanding that the most dangerous place for women in abusive relationships during the Covid-19 pandemic is their homes. “We envisage sharp rise in violence against these set of people as lockdown consequences of Covid- 19,” she said.
She added: “Can you imagine a situation where couples who can barely stand each other are forced to look at each other’s face 24 hours a day, seven days of a week and weeks undetermined? It’s an unimaginable experience.”