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… Police allegedly demand N100,000 to charge defilement case to court

Juliana Francis

The Executive Director of DOHS Cares Foundation, Mrs Ololade Ajayi, has criticised Festac Police Station, under the Lagos State Police Command, for allegedly asking a nine-year-old defiled victim to show evidence of her being sexually violated.

This was even as she lambasted the Police for allegedly demanding N100,000 from the child’s mom to charter a vehicle to take them to court.

When the Police asked for evidence, the traumatised child told the violator that the suspect covered her mouth during the act and then wiped her vagina with a handkerchief after he was done with her.

The case would have been truncated but for the intervention of a neighbour, who quickly alerted Ajayi’s organisation.

The neighbour also reached out to a member of the House of Representatives, who joined in monitoring the case.

Immediately Ajayi got the information, she dashed down to Festac Police Station, demanding justice for the child.

However, before Ajayi got to the station, the neighbour had tried to negotiate with the police to collect N20,000 instead of N100,000 for the transportation, but they had allegedly refused.

Indeed, it was the Rep Member, who later promised the Police that he would foot the bill for the vehicle to take them to court, said Ajayi.

“When the neighbour pleaded with them to collect N20,000 they told her that God will punish her,” said Ajayi.

The child’s mom expressing her worries to Ajayi, said that she feared the police people who already knew her home, might come after her.

Ajayi explained further: “The victim’s mother is scared that the Police may carry out a reprisal on her if they knew she reported them to an NGO. She said that these police folks in question knew her house. I told her to stop worrying that the case was in court finally, so she should not have any fear.

“I also assured and explained to her why we had to report the police’s unprofessional conduct; we are not reporting this or bringing it out because of this very victim, but because of other victims. I would rather face what the Police want to do to me than keep quiet because I would be saving other people from falling into abuse, falling into further being traumatised because of the unprofessional behaviours of the police at that station.

“They will continue to do this to other victims, so it’s better to start tackling it. If I am called, I will go there to face them and still say the truth.”

According to Ajayi, the child was defiled in the Amuwo Odofin area of Lagos State by a security guard identified as Gilbert.

She further recounted: “The incident happened when the child was asked to go and return a bottle by her mom while working at the estate. Mr Gilbert called the child to come and get another malt bottle from him. He dragged her to his room and defiled her.

“On reporting to Area E Command, Festac, the policemen there demanded N10,000 from the victim. She left because she did not have such an amount of money.  Eventually, she came back with neighbours and insisted on justice for the child.

“The police then asked her to bring N100,000 to charter vehicle to and from court. I went there and the matter eventually got charged to court after I and an honourable from the constituency intervened.

“The victim’s mom is so traumatised as it was perceived that the police were supporting the perpetrator to the extent of calling the nine-year-old victim a bastard. They also called her mom a wayward woman because she’s a single mom.

“How can the police who are expected to be the rescuer of abuse victims further traumatise them this way? I hereby call for the overhauling of the Festac Police Station Family Support Unit. It should be noted that Inspector Adesanya Felicia heads the Unit.

“The case is now at Agbo Malu Magistrate Court and the suspect remanded in prison custody while the case was adjourned to 11th of June 2024.”

Ajayi followed the case until it was charged to court.  On the court day, after Gilbert had been remanded, she waited outside to confront Adesanya.

She narrated: “When we got to court, the perpetrator was remanded in prison custody. I waited outside the court to confront Inspector Adesanya. I asked her how on earth she would ask a survivor to bring N100,000 and also called the child’s mom several unprintable names just because the woman is a single mom.

“She denied it, saying that it was not possible. I reminded her that she almost slapped a neighbour of the victim’s family because she mentioned N20,000 instead of N100,000 which she and her colleagues had earlier demanded.

“The neighbour who stood for the victim and her mom is her boss. The woman is a cleaner to this person we described as her neighbour. It was she who called and got the honourable involved in the matter.

“Police even wanted to grant the perpetrator bail, but it was this madam (neighbour) that said never! That she knew that in Lagos State, you cannot grant bail for such a crime. The truth is that Festac Police Station is corrupt and should be overhauled. They are all involved in this demand for N100,000.”

Our reporter reached out to the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Benjamin Hundeyin on the matter, asking for the facts of the case and to respond to the allegations of asking a child to bring evidence of being sexually violated and also the demand of N100,000 for transportation by the police at Festac Police Station.

Our reporter reached out to him on Thursday 6th of June 2024, but as of Monday 10th of June 2024, he has yet to respond.

 

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