A suspected rapist in Rivers State, South-South Nigeria, still got a bitter pill from the law, despite dolling out ‘settlement’ cash to the victim’s father. He has been remanded in the prison for rape.
In a bizarre case that left Nigerians in shock last week, Rufus Felix opted for cash compensation from Shedrack Ejinwa, who allegedly raped his 14-year-old daughter in a hospital in Port Harcourt.
Mr Felix said he preferred the cash to a police investigation and a possible jail term for Mr Ejinwa.
Mr Felix and the suspect, Mr Ejinwa, including witnesses, signed a document with ‘settlement terms’ which include the suspect paying N370,000 as compensation to Mr Felix, and also footing the victim’s medical bills for several months.
The meetings and the signing of the ‘agreement’ were done at the police station, encouraged by police officers overseeing the investigation, PREMIUM TIMES learnt.
“She’s my daughter, I have the right to decide what I want. My decision is also her decision,” Mr Felix told PREMIUM TIMES while defending his decision to receive the cash.
“They are exposing my daughter to the world. I am not happy with people who took the matter to Facebook. This is my daughter, not any other person’s daughter.”
Mr Felix’s daughter was allegedly raped inside a hospital facility, Kendox Medical Services Ltd, in Port Harcourt, by the suspect, Mr Ejinwa, who is said to be a former employee of an oil company.
Mr Ejinwa was a patient in Kendox at the time of the incident, PREMIUM TIMES learnt.
The girl said Mr Ejinwa bought plantain chips from her in a shop near the hospital and asked her to come over to his hospital room for the money.
“I went to his room, knocked at the door, he told me to come in. As I entered the room, he locked the door, pushed me to the bed and raped me,” she told medical officers at Doctors Without Borders who examined her.
Mr Ejinwa was arraigned by the police before a magistrate in Port Harcourt on Friday, according to a court paper seen by PREMIUM TIMES.
The court paper gives Mr Ejinwa’s age as 61, instead of 67 reported in the media.
“That you Shedrack Ejinwa on the 13th of August, 2019 at Kendox Medical Services, Elelenwo, Port Harcourt in the Port Harcourt Magisterial District did have unlawful carnal knowledge of (name withheld by PREMIUM TIMES) ‘F’ aged 14 by inserting your penis into her vagina and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 221 (1) of the Criminal Code Cap. 37 Vol. II Laws of Rivers State of Nigeria, 1999,” the charge sheet reads.
A civil society organisation in Nigeria, Behind Bars Initiative, campaigned for Mr Ejinwa’s arrest and eventual prosecution.
Some Nigerians who commented on the rape incident attributed poverty to Mr Felix’s action, while others said he may have been influenced by some corrupt police officers to go for the cash, instead of seeking punishment for the man who allegedly raped his daughter.
Another civil society organisation in Nigeria, Make A Difference Initiative, while reacting to the incident, warned the police against covering paedophiles.
“Paedophilia is a crime against the state. The duty of the police is to investigate and where it has evidence of the commission of that crime, it should be charged to court,” the spokesperson for the organization, Lemmy Ughegbe, had said in a statement.
Mr Felix did not respond to calls and text message from PREMIUM TIMES as at the time of filing this report.