A 39-year-old man in Delta State, South-south Nigeria, has been remanded in prison for allegedly raping a two-year-old girl.
The man, identified as Emeka Okwuasa according to a court paper seen by PREMIUM TIMES was arraigned on Wednesday in a magistrate court, Nsukwa, Delta State, by the police.
The case has been adjourned to July 10.
Mr Okwuasa allegedly raped the child on May 31, the court paper said.
The little girl lives with her parents in Nsukwa in a compound owned by Mr Okwuasa.
Mr Okwuasa’s arrest and prosecution were spearheaded by a human rights organisation in Nigeria, Behind Bars Rights Foundation.
“(The) victim’s father Mr. Johnson from Akwa Ibom State left his two-year-old daughter with his 12-year-old nephew at home, (and went out) in search of daily bread.
“Mr. Emeka Okwuasa sent the boy on an errand and then grabbed the child and raped her,” Gwamnishu Harrison, the head, Behind Bars Rights Foundation, wrote on Facebook.
Mr Harrison’s Facebook post revealed an initial twist in the case – the police arrested the victim’s 12-year-old relative, the boy who was sent on an errand by the landlord. They reportedly detained and tortured him for five days, after accusing him of being the rapist.
The police later set the boy free, and then picked up the real suspect, Mr Okwuasa.
The victim’s father paid a N2, 000 bribe to the police before he could secure the boy’s freedom, according to Mr Harrison.
Mr Harrison said the police also demanded a N10, 000 bribe from the victim’s father before they could charge the suspect to court.
Enraged by the police attitude, Mr Harrison and his group went into the street, protesting and calling for justice.
“It is traumatic enough to have your two-year-old daughter raped by your landlord and your 12-year-old innocent boy accused and detained for five days.
“More traumatic is the fact that you have to pay the Nigerian Police to do their job. This is just one out of a million cases. The system is sick, and we need to cure it,” Mr Harrison said.
Mr Harrison told PREMIUM TIMES that the rate of child rape in Nigeria was getting worrisome.
“This, I can’t explain,” he said of the rate of child rape in the country.