A thirty-year-old man, whose name was simply given as Rowland, is now in police custody in Calabar for allegedly raping a thirteen-year-old girl.
The girl, who reported the incident to the police at Akim Police Division which effected the arrest of Rowland, said she was returning from school, on Friday, 22 March, when she met Rowland who took her to his house and raped her all-night. The story took a twist when the suspect’s friends were quoted as alleging he was addicted to raping young girls.
“I was coming back from school and the road was very dark because NEPA took light as rain was threatening to fall and I was afraid of walking the road alone. I had to wait in a nearby shop and while there I saw Rowland who lives close to our house. I told him I was afraid of going back home alone and he assured me he would escort me home. After he bought what he wanted to buy, we set out together towards home”, the victim said.
She said while on their way home, the suspect, who lives some houses away from the 31 Barracks Road where Mary resides, said he wanted to call in his place to pick an umbrella in the event that the rain that is threatening falls. “And, since it was very dark on the road, he asked me to come to the house and wait while he gets the umbrella. We got to his house, I waited at the door for him to get the umbrella but suddenly he came out and grabbed me and flung me inside his room and shut the door”.
Mary, an extra-mural student at Government Secondary School, Akim, said she shouted and screamed but the “man over powered me and used his palm to gag me and sprayed something on me and I became too weak and he raped me several times until I became unconscious”.
Mary said the suspect kept her in his room till the next day .“It was on Saturday morning that I found myself at the staircase to our apartment when neighbours gathered round and woke me to find out why I slept at the steps”.
It was then she remembered the events of the previous night and reported to the police which went after Rowland but was nowhere to be found. It was on Sunday morning that the police were able to locate the suspect who said he spent the previous day at a wedding ceremony where he was engaged as a video camera man.
“I was called by my friend Nse who had his wedding on Saturday that his camera man had been arrested and that I should get to Akim Police Division to help secure his bail and when I got there, I discovered that the man was arrested for rape, and I am against such acts and rather told the police to charge him to court”, Barrister James Ibor of Basic Rights Counsel Initiative told Sunday Vanguard.
He said friends of the suspect testified that the “fellow is addicted to raping young girls. It is better to put such a person where he belongs- the prison-so that his character could be reformed”, Ibor said.
DSP John Umoh, the Cross River State Police Command Public Relations Officer, said the man would soon be charged to Family Court so that the “victim can go there and testify since that court sits in camera”.