A 35-year-old man, Andrew Ekanem, has been arrested by the police for allegedly raping his neighbourâ€™s daughter in the Bariga area of Lagos State.
PUNCH Metro learnt that the 14-year-old victim was still undergoing a six-month treatment for tuberculosis when she was attacked by the suspect on Monday morning.
Our correspondent was told that the victim was the first of four children.
The mother of the victim, Mrs. Adenike Aderinkomi, a trader, told our correspondent at their house on Akilo Street that her daughter went to ease herself in the early hours of the morning when she was cornered by the Cross River State indigene.
She claimed the suspect penetrated her daughter through the anus and vagina.
She said, â€œIt was around 2am on Monday when my daughter woke up and said she wanted to go and ease herself.
â€œI was having my quiet time and didnâ€™t know when I slept off. I woke up about 15 minutes later and didnâ€™t see her in the room.
â€œI woke her father up and he said he didnâ€™t know her whereabouts. We both became anxious and went outside to search for her.
â€œAnother neighbour also joined us in the search.â€
She said she was shouting her daughterâ€™s name in the backyard, but did not get any response.
Aderinkomi said about 10 minutes later, her husband saw their daughter coming out of Ekanemâ€™s room.
Our correspondent learnt people overwhelmed her with a barrage of questions, but the Primary six pupil insisted she went to ease herself.
Her mother said she pulled her away from the growing crowd of neighbours and pressed her to talk.
â€œMy daughter became afraid. She then told me that while she was on her way to ease herself, Ekanem grabbed her and took her inside his room to sleep with her. She said while I was shouting her name, he covered her mouth.
â€œPeople seized him and wanted to beat him up. But I had to quickly report the matter to the police very early in the morning so people would not take the law into their hands,â€ she said.
Aderinkomi said she was surprised because when her daughter fell critically ill in February, last year, Ekanem assisted her family in taking her to Calabar, the Cross River State capital, for traditional treatment.
PUNCH Metro learnt that after the alleged rape, the victim was taken to the Gbagada General Hospital for testing and treatment.
A medical report, which was sighted by our correspondent, revealed that the victim sustained bruises in her private parts.
The paper, signed by one Dr. Ojekunle of the hospital, stated, â€œThe child was caught with a neighbour around 2am today. She confessed that the neighbour called her on her way to ease herself and forced her and had sex with her.
â€œShe sustained bruises in her anus and vagina (as a result of) sexual assault.â€
Our correspondent was told that the victim had been taken to an undisclosed orthodox church for â€œprayers and deliveranceâ€.
A carpenter, Tunde Hassan, who lives in the house where the incident happened, expressed surprise, saying nobody imagined Ekanem could do such a thing.
Hassan said, â€œUp till now, I cannot comprehend what happened. The man was a gentle man and he never fought or made trouble with anybody.
â€œBut at the same time, people should learn to forgive when things like this happen, because you never can tell. Somebody that was bad to you today can be good to you tomorrow.â€
It was learnt that the suspect was arrested by policemen from the Bariga Police Division.
A police source told our correspondent that investigation revealed the suspect was fond of the act and usually induced his victims with money.
He said, â€œThat was not his first time of doing such a thing. This particular girl, he had slept with her about three times. He was always giving her money ranging from N200 to N500.
â€œBut this time, he was caught red-handed and that was why the girlâ€™s parents are insisting on taking him to court. When he was queried, he didnâ€™t give any reason for his behaviour. Heâ€™s just fond of sleeping with little girls.â€
The Police Public Relations Officer, Lagos State Command, Kenneth Nwosu, confirmed the incident, adding that the suspect had been taken to court.