BY TIMOTHY AGBOR, OSOGBO
A 45-year-old-man simply identified as Baba has allegedly raped an eight-year-old-girl in Ibeto community, Magama Local Government Area of Niger State.
The Niger State Coordinator of the National Human Rights Commission, Nuhu Mohammed, said that the suspect fled the community recently after he allegedly committed the crime.
According to Mohammed, Baba who was nabbed by a non-governmental organisation in Minna, was taken to the office of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps in the community.
However, the suspect was allegedly released at the Magama Police Division where he was detained. He was said to have gone into hiding ever since.
Mohammed, who doubles as the Deputy Director, Investigation for the Commission, decried the rising cases of rape in the rural areas of the state, lamenting that most of the cases were being swept under the carpet.
He added that police and other security agencies had been on the trail of Baba, stating that the victim and her parents were interested in getting justice.
“An NGO in Minna reported the case to us and since then, we have been putting the officers and men of the Security and Civil Defence Corps on their toes.
“We were informed that the Police Division at Magama released the suspect. When I contacted the DPO, he didn’t give me a satisfactory explanation, so I called the State Commandant of Civil Defence who promised to ensure that the fleeing suspect is re-arrested.
“We gathered that the case was concluded at the Civil Defence office without charging it to court. The police were supposed to have further investigated the case for proper prosecution.
“We have received a number of (complaints on) rape cases. In Niger State, rape cases happen in local government areas far from the state capital and so many of them that happened were swept under the carpet. They are not reported as and when due because of the stigma associated with it and because the quarters to report to are far.
“But, with the inauguration of a committee constituted by the state government on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence working with agencies like National Human Rights Commission, Ministry of Woman Affairs in the state, Ministry of Justice and the Police, we have come together to fight the menace of rape cases. We have been following a number of cases, including the one that happened in Ibeto,” Mohammed said.