THE Police Command of the Federal Capital Territory says it is ready to charge a complaint involving the alleged rape of a three-year-old to court, three days after The ICIR published a report establishing that the lawyer assigned to the case had made demands for money to move ahead with it.
It was gathered that the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) informed the victim’s father, Nanpon Julius, on Friday they are filing the case at the High Court of the FCT on Monday.
The police also said the Investigating Police Officer (IPO) in charge of the case file has been changed.
The ICIR reported on Tuesday that a lawyer working with the CID, Okokon Udo, asked Julius to bring N20,000 to “work on something”. He had claimed he needed the money to pay for the case file and get documents signed by various persons.
Julius had also previously given N5000 to policemen from the state command who visited his home to investigate his complaint. The money, they had explained, was meant to cater for transportation costs and typing of reports.
Julius’s daughter said she was abused by one of their neighbours, and medical reports from two hospitals have since confirmed that she was defiled. When he complained to the Gwarinpa Police Station, he observed that the case was handled unprofessionally.
“They told the chief judge there’s no evidence on the case,” Julius narrated to The ICIR.
“And they didn’t investigate the matter. They took a statement from me and the witness I have, but they never questioned the girl to ask who molested her. There was nothing like that.”
‘Good, but not good enough’
Reacting to the information from the police, Wanda Ebe, founder of Wanda Adu Foundation, an NGO offering support to the sexual abuse victim, said though it is a welcome development, the state command can still do more in remedying the damage done.
She believes officers who have erred in handling the case should be relieved as they are still capable of influencing it behind the scenes.
“If clients are able to point out people that are trying to cover cases or protect the accused, then something should be done. Disciplinary action should be taken on such matters,” she said.
She narrated how one of the inspectors sent to obtain evidence at the crime scene and talk to witnesses visited her workplace a week after, with two pastors, to plead.
“I felt very insecure when one of the police inspectors accompanied a team of pastors to my place of business to have a conversation so that we can withdraw the case and settle out of court,” she said.
“That was the height. I felt very insecure because my place of business is an open place. Anything can happen. I don’t even know those pastors he brought to me. The police are not supposed to do that… I am not supposed to be exposed like that. I think it’s totally unprofessional.”
When the case was withdrawn from Zuba Upper Area Court and transferred to the FCT command, she said, they had expected that swift action will be taken.
She found it heartbreaking that it’s been over a month since the withdrawal and the case is still not in court.
“During the whole of one month, all we have been dragging was, ‘oh bring money for us to charge, bring for this, bring money for that, bring money for typing report, bring money for taking the accused back to the cell and all those dramatic things,” Ebe said.
“So, the whole process is slow. But since they’ve changed the IPO, I’m hopeful. I want to say I’m hopeful that something will be done. And I also wish that the police will stop asking for money for everything and tackle the real issues, and stop seeing every case as an opportunity to exploit people or extort money from people, whether rich or poor.”