Posted by News Express | 31 January 2014 | 9,431 times
“It is sheer callousness!” This is the reaction from many who have seen Aisha Adamu, a 14-year-old secondary student, who was ganged-raped in Kontagora, Niger State, North-Central Nigeria, about two weeks ago.
The teenager had left home for the local market, to purchase some school items on Saturday before she met the evil young men. Hours later, her father was informed by an aunt that his daughter was in coma.
An account revealed that, initially, they never thought it was rape, as Aisha was “just taken to a nearby patent medicine store where they administered some drugs on her. But it was later discovered that she was drugged and ganged-raped.”
The true situation of the sordid incidence became lucid when one of the relations of the leader of the alleged rapists came forward, offering to foot the medical bill, so as to prevent the family from making a complaint to the police.
However, Aisha’s father, Mohammadu Rabiu, who emphatically stated that his children were raised in accordance with Islamic tenets, did not concede to the plea but sought for justice.
Aisha, who is still receiving intensive medical attention at the Kontagora General Hospital, was in a coma for a few days. However, when she came to, she could not speak. She could only make gestures. Her aunt, Kyauta, and step-mother took care of her.
Besides the psychological impact of the incident, it was obvious that the effect of the drug allegedly administered on her before she was ganged-raped might have had serious, after-effects.
Two of the three-man gang who raped her were said to have been arrested while the other one was said to be at large.
The situation, expectedly, drew condemnation and calls for justice from well-meaning Nigerians and women rights groups. The Niger State House of Assembly also joined in the call, as the speaker, Barrister Adamu Usman, urged the Niger State Ministry of Justice to take over the case.
Usman insisted that the process for justice must begin with officials of the ministry going to see the victim at the Kontagora General Hospital, where she is receiving medical attention, for possible assistance.
Usman also called on the state chapter of the Federation of International Women Lawyers (FIDA) and the Office of the State Police Criminal Investigation Department to wade into the issue for proper and speedy trial of the culprits.
The Speaker further described the recent upsurge in the cases of rape across the state as “unfortunate”, insisting that the issue requires collective efforts of the state government, non-governmental organisations and parents to put a stop to the barbaric act of rape.
Usman also assured that all bills before the State House of Assembly to stem the tide of rape in the state would be given expeditious passage.
According to him, the existing Penal Code law being operated in the state prescribes a 14-year-jail term for those convicted of rape, adding that the Sharia Penal Code bill before the House also stipulates stiff penalty for offenders.
“These bills are explicit in terms of punishment or penalty for the offenders. The punishment for ordinary rape is different from that which involves drugged rape victims.
“The process of prosecuting alleged rapists is slow, because some parents turn around to say that they have forgiven the offenders, insufficient evidence of security agents of those of the hospitals or clinics where such victims were treated,” said Usman.
The Speaker further assured Aisha’s parents of the state legislature’s infinite support and for the state government’s measures geared toward curbing and eradicating, adding that “everything possible is being done to ensure speedy passage of the bills on rape-related cases before the lawmakers”.
Usman reiterated that to give justice to Aisha Adamu, people, especially parents, must assist government and security agencies in their collective effort to ensure that the perpetrators face the wrath of the law.
Taking a cue from the suggestion of the speaker and the state government through the attorney-general and commissioner of justice, Barrister Abdullahi Bawa Wuse, said that the government has taken over the case, with a view to ensuring that the victim gets justice and the offenders made to face the wrath of the law.
Wuse stated that his office has directed the Kontagora resident public prosecutor to liaise with the police to fast-track investigation into the case for swift prosecution.
“We will ensure that all the facilities needed for thorough investigation into the rape of the girl who was left in coma for two weeks after she was drugged, must be made available, so as to ensure possible prosecution of the perpetrators of this heinous crime,” Wuse said.
Asked if the state government was, in any way, contemplating a more advanced treatment for Miss Ahmed, Wuse promised that the state will do anything recommended by the doctors who are treating her presently, while doing all it can to avoid interfering with police investigations.
“The state government is not only ensuring that the raped victim gets justice, but adequate medical care as well,” he said.
Wuse vowed that the government would pursue the case to a logical conclusion, so as to serve as a deterrent to others.
The police spokesman for the state police command, Richard Adamu Oguche, told FRIDAY LEADERSHIP that the two of the three suspects have being charged for rape in a Kontagora court.
He stated that though police investigations are on, the force will do everything possible to ensure that the case is well investigated and packaged for diligent prosecution.
•Credit (except headline): FRIDAY LEADERSHIP. Photo shows the victim, Aisha Adamu, on her hospital bed.
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