The Lagos State Government has intervened in the case of the alleged rape of three-year-old girl, Chinansa (pseudonym).
This is coming as the suspect, Hamzat Afeez, who was on bail, had been rearrested and transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department, Yaba.
The PUNCH had reported on Tuesday how the victim was allegedly defiled by 25-year-old Afeez, a neighbour, on Remi Ogunjimi Street, in the Egbeda area of the state.
Chinansa, a kindergarten class pupil, said she reported the incident to her parents.
The victim’s father, Okechukwu, had said his daughter’s health had been affected by the incident and called for the help of the authorities.
Following the report, the Special Adviser to the Deputy Governor on Media, Tunde Abatan, said Orelope-Adefulire had already sent a delegation to the Gowon Estate Police Station to verify the report and visit the victim.
Our correspondent was told that the delegation was made up of officials from the Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation and Office of the Public Defender.
Abatan said, “The state government has intervened in the matter to make sure that justice is served. Yesterday (Tuesday), after your report came out, the deputy governor sent a delegation to the Gowon Estate Police Station and they also visited the victim’s parents.”
In a separate interview, the Director of OPD, Mrs. Omotola Rotimi, who was part of the delegation, said the state would be taking over the case to ensure the matter was diligently prosecuted.
She said, “We have investigated the case and the state is taking it over. We will be working with the police to make sure it is diligently prosecuted. We have also visited the parents of the girl.”
The Executive Director of a non-governmental organisation, Project Alert on Violence against Women, Mrs. Josephine Effah-Chukwuma, criticised the attempt by the police to turn the case against the parents of the victim.
She said the police lied that the victim’s father, Okechukwu collected N40, 000 to settle with the suspect, whereas it was an arrangement the station foisted on him.
She said, “The police lied to the officials of the state government that the father of the victim collected money from the suspect and did not show interest in prosecuting the case. The state government had ordered that their two children be taken into custody, until we explained the true position of things to the officials.
“The act was committed on December 13, and by December 17, the police released the suspect on bail when they knew the stance of the state government on rape. Even the victim’s father said the money was first given to the police.”
Effah-Chukwuma said after she listened to three-year-old Chinansa’s account, she was left in shock.
“Even the Assistant Commissioner of Police at the SCID was dismayed and almost fell from his chair. It was terrible. We have advised the couple to relocate temporarily from the area for their safety and that of their children,” she added.