The recurring cases of rape and other forms of child abuse in Gombe State have sparked off anger and protest among the members of the public
Abdulrazaq Mungadi, Gombe
These times are bad for the Commissioner of Police, Gombe State Command, Alhaji Mohammed Garba Mukaddas. Not when cases of rape of minors is staring his command state in the face and complaints of abuses recorded by his divisional police officers from injured members of the public are on the increase. Hardly a day passes without a reported case of rape and many times, the victim of the reprehensible exploit is a female minor or an under-aged male. But the police are not resting on their oars. They are fighting back and arresting culprits, only that with the case of rape, by the time a suspect is nabbed, the deed must have been done and the damage irreversible.
Only last Thursday, the police paraded one Zakari who was introduced as a senior artisan in a mechanic workshop in the metropolis. He was taken in for the rape of a 12-year-old boy, Sani who is an apprentice in the same workshop with the suspect.
According to the police, the suspect had lured his victim into a shop, located at Tashar Dukku in the metropolis, where he abused him. The victim’s father told Daily Sun that the boy was apprenticed at that tender age because the family was afraid they may not be able to fund his education beyond the primary school level.
He said they were shocked to discover that he had been abused: “He had not been eating as he was used to, but I did not suspect that he had been abused.”
The father said though the violation had been going on for some time, his son did not report or reveal the abuse to anyone because his suspect threatened to send evil spirit to kill him, if he ever disclosed what transpired between them to anybody.
He explained that his son decided to open up after he was beaten by the suspect in their workshop for breaking the windscreen of a customer’s car. The boy, out of anger, confided in his mother that he had something to say only for him to stop mid-way:
“I wasn’t at home then, but I was called to question him because he refused to say anything further after promising to recount all that have been happening in their working place.
“He also refused to answer my questions when I interrogated him. I then called on his elder brother, Ibrahim, to talk with him. So, when his brother threatened to beat him, he began to narrate the ugly act.”
The boy presently living on medication at home told Daily Sun that the suspect began to rape him barely two months after he was apprenticed at the mechanic garage, adding that the act had been going on for the past eight months.
The elder brother of the victim, Ibrahim Abdullahi said the discovery of the devilish act has robbed the family of their peace and happiness adding that it has resulted to trauma for them all. He recalled that their father was so traumatized that he was almost overrun by a truck recently.
The family of the Abdullahis is not alone in their predicament. They are only one of the many cases of rape haunting the state. In fact, just as theirs was trending, a 26-year-old Quranic teacher was arrested by the police for the rape of a five-year-old minor.
The sad thing is that the victim is a student of the Qur’anic teacher at Raudatul Quranic Primary and Secondary School, by-pass Gombe, said the police.
The State Commissioner of Police said the suspect was nabbed on November 1, 2018, after the mother of the girl reported the incident. He said the mother contacted the police after she had noticed blood in the girl’s private part during the course of bathing her on the day she was raped.
“When the mother asked her daughter who was responsible, the little girl said the teacher did it, recalling vividly that her teacher took her to his office and laid her on the table.”
Yet another incident of rape that that of Zara’u, an 8-year-old minor raped in Sabon-Fegi Malam Inna Quarters, Gombe, by 40-year-old Yau.
The suspect has been charged for violating Section 282 of Penal Code and was remanded in prison by Chief Magistrate Babayo Abba Usamantu of Gombe Chief Magistrate Court 3.
The recurring cases of rape and other forms of child abuse in Gombe State have sparked off anger and protest among the members of the public who are afraid for their minors and their daughters in the face of rapists prowling for victims in the state.
“We want to see more action, more punishments for these devils,” echoed Johnson Igriye, a public affairs analyst, while insisting that the punishment for convicts should be given wide publicity to discourage would be perpetrators.
The situation has spurred the Civil Society Organization (CSO) and other child rights groups to demand for stiffer punishment for convicted rapists.
On why rape is on the rise in the state, Mrs. Martha Daniel, a female lawyer in Gombe State, regretted that rape is a capital offense, which must be proved beyond reasonable doubt:
“The process of litigation takes a very long time. Secondly, most rape victims are poor, so they don’t have the money to sustain the litigation.
“We have so many rape cases in our courts, but no one to stand for the victims. On the basis of technicalities, most of the offenders are left off the hook.”
She added that the cases kept rising because the victims and their families, due to ignorance or stigma, also cover the offence:
“It is worthy of note that some of the staff of our security agencies are compromised or can be compromised in the wake of rape. When such cases are reported, they tend to connive with the offender and his relatives. Before you know it, the matter is covered up or either watered down”.
She recommended speedy trial of these cases if the society wants to truly address the issue: “The responsibility for these cases should not just be left for the victims and their family alone. All hands must be on deck so that perpetrators will not escape judgment.”