The police in Abia State Saturday arrested two suspects over the alleged gang rape of a girl said to be a student of Abia State University.
The state Commissioner of Police, Bala Usman, who confirmed the arrests, said the suspects were being interrogated to establish if they were among the five persons that participated in the gang rape. He also confirmed that the suspects are students of the Abia State University, Uturu (ABSU).
According to him, it is too early to confirm if the two boys are among those that gang raped the girl, adding that it might just be a coincidence of names.
He, however, declined to reveal the names of the suspects, adding that since investigation is still going on, the police would not want to do anything that would jeopardise efforts to arrest all those involved in the incident.
He said their culpability or otherwise would be determined after they have been interrogated, adding that the police would make a pronouncement on the incident thereafter.
The ABSU spokesman, Mr. Acho Elendu, said he was not aware of the arrests.
He, however expressed optimism that the police would finally unravel the perpetrators of the crime which he said has caused the university embarrassment and generated national and international outrage.
The female student, whose identity remains unknown, was gang-raped by five boys on August 16 while her abusers recorded it, passed it round their friends, who then passed it round the ABSU campus.
The video recording was later posted on the Internet, triggering a wave of national and international rage.
The House of Representatives, after considering a motion on the incident last Thursday, asked the Inspector General of Police, Hafiz Ringim, to investigate the matter and ensure that the rapists are brought to book.
The motion was sponsored by a former Chairman of the House Committee on Diaspora, Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, who described the incident as heinous, saying that the suspects were heartless in the manner they brutally raped the girl and celebrated their act.
She also expressed worry over the rising cases of rape in the country, adding that in most cases, the perpetrators always escape justice as majority of victims, out of fear of stigmatisation, do not bother to report to the police.
House Committee Chairman on Women Affairs, Mrs. Christina Alaaga, also condemned the incident, calling for stiffer penalties for offenders.
Also on the same day, Minister of Youth Development, Mallam Mobolaji Abdullahi, said one of the suspects had been identified.
He, however, expressed doubts that the suspects would be convicted based on the available evidence, adding: “more than 70 percent of the information we have on the rape will not be said here for obvious security reasons. But I can tell you we have information on it. The girl is not a student of Abia State University. She was raped in an off-campus residential area of students. This is law, if we cannot press for rape, there are other charges that we can press. I can assure you that justice will be done.”
Meanwhile, a women’s rights group has said it was making efforts to get the victim out of Abia State to where she can receive counselling and medical attention.