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For bribes, police truncate defilement, rape cases, deny victims justice (part two)

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JULIANA FRANCIS continues with the investigation on how Police Personnel truncate sexual violation cases that have to do with children, causing trauma, injustice. The first instalment can be read here


I’m innocent of all allegations, says Wisdom

Wisdom, however, denied all the allegations levelled against him by Philip. He said that his only offence was assisting the widow after Philip accused her during a family meeting of being responsible for her husband’s death and demanded she should take an oath.

The prophet stated that [the older daughter] decided to lie against him because he flogged her for being wayward and returning late from school.

He said: “God knows I’m innocent and I’m following God’s instructions. There’s nothing hidden under the sun that can be hidden forever. Everything is happening because I flogged [the older daughter]. [The younger daughter] had already said it was a lie that Philip told her to lie. A clear conscience fears no accusation. Philip wanted to take the house from the widow and he had also tried to sell the house.”

Wisdom recounted that on a particular Friday, the girls’ mother called him twice, worried that [the older daughter] had not returned from school, while closing time was 1pm. She eventually returned at past 3pm.

He said: “By then she was no longer living with me. When she returned, I brought out a cane and asked her to tell us where she went. She mentioned going out with a guy and then mentioned a nurse and abortion pills. It was at that point that her mother got angry and doused her with pepper. She ran to her uncle, who coached her on what to say. Even the police at Ikotun Police Station knew the truth. I didn’t give the police any money. I have gone to Femi Falana Chambers and I know what he told me; he wanted to take up the case. My lawyer has sent details to him. People believe that men of God can’t pursue justice. If I do what Falana suggested…. But as Christians, these are some of the things we need to undergo. People are now using rape and defilement accusations to fight others. At least 75 per cent of people accused are innocent. Philip should bear it in mind that the wicked will never go unpunished.”

When our reporter asked why the case has not been charged to court, the Lagos State Police spokesman, Ajisebutu, said: “The suspect’s health deteriorated, hence he was granted bail on health grounds while investigation is ongoing. The case will be charged to court after the conclusion of the investigation.”

IPO Rebecca Jacob accused of changing charge

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There’s also the story of Ijeoma, who dragged her husband, Emmanuel, to the police after she discovered he made their nine and six-year-old daughters fondle his manhood.

She said: “It was in 2020 that eldest daugther complained that her daddy used to touch her bumbum (buttocks), telling her that it was getting big. While Favour was telling me this, the youngest said yes, that was why they didn’t like playing with him. The youngest also said that he used to show them his bumbum and his front and that he would remove his towel.”

Ijeoma said that when she confronted her husband, Emmanuel he said that he was just playing with the children. She recollected how her husband used to insist on sleeping with the eldest daughter with her back to his front.

“I had to move {eldest daughter] to the ground to be sleeping with [the youngest daughter] and I.

Another day, I was in the kitchen, the way the apartment is partitioned, you can be in the kitchen and see what is happening through the door curtain. I saw him remove his towel, he was turgid and I saw Rejoice grabbing his manhood, I screamed and rushed in. I flogged Rejoice mercilessly that day, but if I could, it was him I should have flogged. He didn’t stop and the children continued to tell me.”

She finally reported the matter to Esther Child Rights Foundation. The case was taken to Human Rights Desk, Alabo Police Station and then transferred to Gender Unit, Police Command, Ikeja.

“Police asked me if there was penetration, I told them that I didn’t know because the children didn’t tell me anything like that. The police asked me what I wanted; I told them to charge the matter to court. They are my children and I have to protect them. I don’t want them to ask me questions in the future,” said Ijeoma.

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The distraught woman said that she knew there was trouble when the IPO, Rebecca Jacob, asked her if she had pictorial or video evidence of the act, and furthermore, if there was any eyewitness to prove that Emmanuel was culpable of the allegation. After that, the situation worsened.

Ogwu takes over the story: “On December 1 when they got to the station, the IPO, Rebecca, asked Ijeoma to go and raise money for COVID-19 test. I don’t know when or why a complainant has to pay for COVID-19 test. That’s why the matter was not charged to court. They said that she should also get N2,000 to beg the prison warders. I don’t understand why the warder should be begged. Ijeoma doesn’t even have money.”

The case was finally charged to Samuel Ilori Court on December 21.

“When the case was called, we were shocked that Rebecca Jacob, rather than present defilement, presented physical abuse. She also didn’t go to court with the medical report from Mirabel Centre. She told the magistrate that it was a minor case. We had to tell the magistrate that it was a case of defilement of two daughters by their father,” said Ogwu.

Ogwu explained that before the commencement of the court, Rebecca had mentioned that the accused, Emmanuel, tested positive to COVID-19, that they had started giving him drugs, and that after two weeks, they might have to go for another test and that the police wouldn’t be able to continue detaining him.

She said: “It was our organisation that paid for the COVID-19 test for the accused. I told her that we needed to carry out our own personal test in order to prove the authenticity of the result. When we asked for the result, she didn’t say anything. My heart bleeds for these children and their mum. I don’t know why police want to bury a case of defilement and turn it to physical abuse. The Police had the result from Mirabel Centre, but they didn’t present it to the court. Rebecca said that she didn’t bring it because she was not sure it was the children’s father that violated them, that it could be neighbours or at school, that there was no pictorial or video evidence of the father defiling his daughters. It has reached the point we no longer trust the police. God knows how many cases have been buried this way!”

Our reporter attempted to speak with Emmanuel, who is still in police custody, but the attempt was rebuffed by Ajisebutu, the Lagos State Police spokesman.

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“He has been remanded in Ikoyi Correctional Centre. However, he will not be accepted by the correctional centre without COVID-19 test. The test has been done, but the result is still being awaited, hence he is kept in police custody pending the outcome of the COVID-19 test,” the PPRO said.

Father sexually abuse his kids, threatens to kill their mother to keep them quiet

Anastasia is another embittered mother, who has accused IPO Rebecca Jacob of depriving her children of justice.

Her husband, Godwin, was alleged to have sexually violated their daughter and sodomised the son. She said that the violation of her son was a recent discovery.

The traumatised woman alleged that she caught her husband right on top of the girl when she was eight years old. Before then, she had noticed that the girl had a bruised vaginal and was experiencing pains when she was just two years old, but she never thought it was her husband. She even drew her husband’s attention to the child’s plight.

She also noticed that Godwin was fond of giving his phone to their son.

She said: “I noticed that the boy was always concentrating on the phone and soon I found out that the phone contained a lot of pornographic sites and the boy used to watch them. I was worried about the boy; I didn’t know our daughter was the real issue. My daughter attempted to tell me when she was seven years old, but I didn’t understand. Godwin abused her so much that she was affected psychologically. We had to take her to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) for psychosocial support therapy. When I finally took the matter to the police, Rebecca Jacob was the IPO assigned our case. Rebecca turned herself into a judge, doctor and all. I didn’t like the way the case was going. She was supporting my husband. She damaged the case.”

Anastasia added: “It was when my daughter was seven years’ old that she told me it was her dad. She told me that all the time I used to shout, asking her who was violating her, her dad used to stand behind, making gestures that he would kill her mother if she told the truth.  Whenever I bathed her, she would flinch because of pains in her private parts. I caught him on top of my daughter when she was eight years old. It was after that episode that we packed out and then my daughter opened up to me. I then remembered that before the school closing time; he would have gone to the school, not knowing that he was picking them, to abuse them. When I initially discovered that someone was violating her, I started making sure I got home by 4pm. I told him repeatedly to stop picking them, that I would be picking them. I didn’t know that before I got home, he would have violated and then threatened them to keep sealed lips.

“My daughter said he told her, that she had seen how he used to beat me always, that if she told me of the abuse, he would kill me. She didn’t want him to kill me, so she refused to tell me about the abuse. I then realised why he was always beating me; I didn’t understand it before. I didn’t know he was trying to send a signal to the children. They told me that he showed them a gun, that he would use it to shoot their mum. In my presence one day, he said he would shoot me; I didn’t know he was just escalating the threat he had earlier made to the children.”

Anastasia said that when the case was charged to court, Godwin was released. She alleged that rather than charge Godwin for defilement, Jacob charged him for indecent assault.

Anastasia ran to the Advocates for Children and Vulnerable Persons Network (ACVPN), a non-governmental organisation.

The co-founder of the NGO, Ebenezer Omejalile, said: “The child’s hymen was broken. The child had been examined at Mirabel Centre, but Rebecca did not take the report to court. Rebecca also referred the girl for another medical examination at Women at Risk International Foundation (WARIF), where the result stated that the hymen was intact. We became suspicious, and we believe Rebecca has someone working with her there. Mirabel Centre is reliable both locally and internationally, so why another medical examination at WARIF? Rebecca also works with someone at DPP to damage cases. Mrs. Anastasia was pushed around and we had to begin to follow her. We even had to write petitions to the police hierarchy. We also believe that Rebecca has some godfathers, who have her back despite abnormalities she had been carrying out in that unit. Rebecca made Godwin look like he had no case to answer.”

Ebenezer
Ebenezer

Omejalile said that Jacob didn’t only damage the case, make Godwin walk free, but also caused Anastasia to be remanded in prison for six months for contempt of court.

He said: “When we took over the case, we asked the DPP to revisit the case and the DPP now said that the police should go and withdraw the case and send a fresh report. The first DPP advice was that the violated child should be left in the custody of the same father that had been violating her. At a point we discovered that Rebecca never obtained the girl’s statement, likewise she didn’t obtain that of the boy. So what kind of case did she present to the magistrate? Godwin was granted bail because the charge was changed to indecent assault, rather than defilement. Defilement, according to Lagos State Child Rights Law, Section 137, 2015, is life imprisonment.”

Anastasia said: “The truth is that somebody is protecting Rebecca and the person must be powerful. Some people, who were angry that Rebecca destroyed their cases, had written petitions to the police hierarchy, but nothing has happened to her. She’s untouchable! Do you know that Rebecca changed all our documents and charges? Rebecca changed ‘child molestation’ to ‘assault’. Rebecca never took my daughter’s statement for one day. This case has been ongoing since 2019. It’s God that will deal with her.”

Anastasia said a new judge, who took over the case, did what the initial judge never did. He demanded to hear the survivor’s story. By then, Anastasia was in prison. The girl was brought to court and the judge asked her to tell the truth.

“My daughter told him that she couldn’t lie, that the judge should ask her father who was in the court if she was lying against him. When they asked her where her mum was, she told them that I had travelled. She didn’t know I was in prison. When the judge told her my whereabouts, she said that she wouldn’t say anything further if she didn’t see me. The judge made a compromise with her; that if she told him the truth, he would make sure she sees her mum. In the presence of all lawyers, who acted as witnesses, my daughter told her story. I heard that my son also spoke. The judge ordered that they should go and bring me out of the prison. He instructed that the children should remain with me. Rebecca is perfect at destroying cases. I also heard that after Godwin was granted bail, he threw a party, and Rebecca and other police people attended. The case has been reopened and it was just recently I found out that my son had been sodomised. Mirabel Centre had demanded to examine my son, but I said no. I felt sure that it was only my daughter that was violated. But I later agreed to the medical examination; do you know that the test showed that Godwin sodomised our son? When I heard the result, I started shivering, and this was the same man Rebecca was doing everything to unleash back into society. Rebecca didn’t even ask him to go for psychological treatment; rather, she just exonerated him. I caught Godwin right on top of our daughter, yet Rebecca said that there was no eyewitness. Every day I keep telling God to punish Rebecca. I have gone through a lot. Rebecca is not an ordinary policewoman; she’s making good money from cases and distributing to those protecting her. There are several petitions against her.”

This report which is republished from the New Telegraph was facilitated by the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ) under its Report Women! initiative with support from the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA).”

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