Crime statistics recently compiled by the Lagos State Police Command has revealed a rise in the incidence of rape in the state. Our correspondent gathered from the data that rape incidents have taken the lead as against the usual common crimes like armed robbery, burglary and theft.
Checks revealed that between January this year and October, the Lagos State Police Command recorded 798 reported cases of rape and defilement.
The command also has in its custody 83 suspected rapists, who will soon be arraigned before courts of competent jurisdiction.
Our correspondent’s investigation revealed that this figure is higher than last year’s, when the command said it recorded 678 cases of rape. This, of course, is aside from the rape cases that were not officially reported. Neighbouring Ogun State is, however, trailing Lagos closely with 307 reported cases of rape and defilement.
But according to statistics obtained at the Zone Two Police Command, Onikan, Lagos, Ogun State outshined the Lagos command in the statistics for homicide cases.
It was also gathered that breakand-entry (burglary) was the second highest crime committed in Lagos.
The data supplied by the police during the period under review, showed that the command recorded 23 reported cases of burglary, while some nine suspects were arrested in connection with the incidents.
It was also gathered that most of the victims of the rape incidents shied away from pursuing their cases, either at the police stations or in court, for fear of being labelled or stigmatized.
A police source said that this development was already crippling their efforts at reducing the crime in the society.
“If people who were raped refused to follow-up with the case or pursue it in court, what would you do?” the source said.
Last year alone, between January and August, the Lagos State Police Command said it documented 678 cases of rape in the state. The statistics actually came against the backdrop of rising cases of rape of minors in the country, despite the various laws on rape.
This ugly trend reported in the media, however, does not depict the true statistics on rape as most rape victims do not have their cases reported to the police, thereby letting the rapists off the hook.
In March 2015, a 47-year-old man was arrested in Lagos State for allegedly raping his seven-year-old daughter and his one-month-old granddaughter. The suspect, identified as Sylvester Ehijere, was exposed by his wife, who noticed blood stains on the toddler’s thigh. The seven-year-old girl told the police that her father had raped her several times, but the suspect blamed the devil for the crime. He has since been charged to court.
Also, a 13-year-old girl narrated how she was gang-raped by three men in Lagos. The victim, a junior high school student, dropped out of school because she got pregnant as a result of the incident.
The girl (name withheld) said she was lured into a neighbour’s apartment at number 19, Majaro Street, Mafoluku area of Oshodi, Lagos State.
According to the victim, one Emenuwa Achonam, a father of five, invited her into his room under the guise of sending her on errand but later pounced on her and sexually assaulted her along with some of his friends.
She said, “Brother Achonam (Emenuwa Achonam) called me to buy drinks for his visitors. But when I got inside to collect the money, he asked me to pull my clothes and they started dipping their hands inside me. They then slept with me. It was Brother Achonam who first slept with me. When Emenuwa was done having his way with me, he gave the go-ahead to his two friends, who were in his apartment, to also rape me. After they had their way, they made fun of me and ordered me to leave the room, threatening that they would kill me.”
The traumatised girl bore the burden for months until she became ill and the doctor confirmed she was pregnant.
Following the girl’s confession, the suspects were arrested. The police gave their names as Godwin Udoh, 22 and Emenike Orji, 20. The case has since been charged to the Ikeja Family Court in Lagos.
Also, an 85-year-old man identified as Baba Yellow, an alleged notorious rapist in Shomolu community in Lagos State, was almost lynched over an allegation that he raped a 14-year-old girl.
The residents alleged that Baba Yellow was caught defiling young girls but the parents of the girls would rather let him off the hook because of his old-age.
The TraumaTised girl bore The burden for monThs unTil she became ill and The docTor confirmed she was pregnanT
Narrating how she was raped, the girl said, “I met Baba Yellow at Sunday market in Shomolu. My guardian sent me to the market to get foodstuffs. Baba Yellow came, walked up to me and I greeted him. He then gave me some money and asked me to come to his house. When I didn’t show up, he later came to our premises to look for me. That was how we went to his room and he raped me.”
Similarly, the Child Protection Network, a Non-Governmental Organisation, informed our correspondent that the rape of a minor by a 62-year-old man, Alabi Ibrahim, has remained the most memorable but condemnable in the history of rape in Nigeria.
The 10-year-old victim said her stepfather had slept with her many times.
She said, “Daddy always sleeps with me when mummy is not around and always tells me not to tell anybody or else I would die. I have lost count of the number of times he slept with me.”
With the drive and all the energy put in by NGOs, the Lagos State Police command and the Lagos State Judiciary to discourage rapists in the state, the situation appears precarious.
For instance, the state had recommended a higher jail term for rapists.
The state Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni, said it would be a matter of time before the residents of Lagos would come to the reality on the need to fight against rape.”