The Akwa Ibom State Police Command said it had begun investigation into the case of a 16-year-old girl, who was gang-raped by three men in the Eyoabasi community, Oron Local Government Area of the state.
It was gathered that the victim was gang-raped around 7pm on February 18, 2021, when she was coming back from a coaching class.
PUNCH Metro learnt that the victim, a Senior Secondary School 1 pupil, was allegedly attacked by three men and dragged into an uncompleted building and raped at gunpoint.
The victim, who managed to escape from the men, was said to have been rescued by a passerby when she fell.
It was gathered that the matter was reported at the Oron Divisional Police Headquarters.
However, the family accused police personnel at the station of trying to cover up the matter.
The victim’s uncle, Robinson Edumoh, alleged that the officer-in-charge of the juvenile, women and children unit at the station wrote a different statement for one of the suspects, who is in police custody and allegedly confessed to the crime, adding that the officer tried to turn the case against the victim.
He said, “My sister was directed to the woman in charge of the juvenile welfare unit, but she told her to come back the next Monday to collect the medical form.
“I called the DPO to tell him what happened and he requested that I should direct my sister to his office; she went and met with him and my sister got the medical form and took it to the hospital and the victim made a statement that she was attacked at gunpoint, but the police officers handling the case refused to carry out any search of the arrested suspect’s house to see if they would recover any arm until after a week.
“The officer-in-charge fabricated a statement for the arrested suspect that the victim said he was not involved. I met the DPO and he summoned the IPO and the OC, and when they got to his office, he asked her where the OC got the statement from and she started trading blames; so, the DPO ordered that the case file should be re-assigned to another officer and a search warrant should be executed to search the suspect’s house and the scene of the incident.”
Edumoh also alleged that after the Divisional Police Officer gave an order for the suspect’s house to be searched, the OC insisted on collecting money from the victim’s mother before executing the search warrant.
The victim’s uncle added that until he called the DPO again, the OC did not conduct a search on the suspect’s apartment.
He added, “I called the DPO again to tell him what the OC was saying; the DPO was mad at her before they were able to go to the suspect’s house on Friday, where they recovered live ammunition, and at the scene of the incident, the victim’s pants and her menstrual pad that the suspects tore were recovered one week after the incident.”
When contacted by our correspondent, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Odiko Macdon, refuted the claim that the police were covering up the matter.
He said the matter had been transferred to the state Criminal Investigation Department in Uyo.
Macdon stated, “The matter has been transferred to the state command, because the divisional headquarters have no right to handle a rape case; we have a special section at the state CID that handles such cases, and if the police are trying to cover up the case, they won’t have gone to execute a search warrant, recover the victim’s pants, pad and locally-made ammunition, and arrest a suspect.