Monday, 28 July 2014

Rape Victims Need Specialised Care – Experts

With about a year to go before the withdrawal of funding for the operation of the Mirabel Centre, the organisation is seeking financial support from public and private organisations, concerned stakeholders, philanthropists among others, to keep the centre running.

This was disclosed by the managing partner, Itoro Eze-Anaba, Partnership for Justice, which is an international organisation that is providing funding support for the Mirabel Centre. She spoke at the one-day partners meeting on the Mirabel Centre and Sexual Violence in Lagos State organised by Partnership for Justice with support from Justice for All (J4A).

The Mirabel Centre which is located inside the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja, is a safe, friendly and conducive place, where one can get free help after going through the trauma of rape or sexual assault. According to Eze-Anaba, the call, seeking continued funding for the centre became necessary because the funding from Partnership for Justice in collaboration with Justice for All (J4A), will expire after two years.

Hence, this funding of the Mirabel Centre will be withdrawn at the end of 2015. She said getting more funding that would keep the centre running when Justice for All withdraws, is a big challenge.
However, Eze-Anaba said thereafter, the centre “needs high level of cash inflow for us to sustain that place.” Presently, Mirabel Centre is operating from an office space in LASUTH provided by the Lagos State Government.

Although, she expressed appreciation to the government over the gesture, she noted that the given space is too small. “We are calling on the government to give us a bigger space so that we can render more effective services for people that are in need,” she said.

On the importance of sustaining this centre, she said the fact that there are no support services that are readily available for the rape survivors and victims of sexual violence is contributing largely to high incidence of rape, adding that this development makes affected persons to keep quiet. Consequently, by keeping quiet, she reasoned that perpetrators go on to the next person and continue to rape and assault other women.


Thursday, 24 July 2014

Man rapes 2-year-old in Ebonyi

A 30-year-old man, Inya-Okoro from Afikpo North Local Government aAea of Ebonyi, has been arrested for raping a 2-year-old girl identified as Favour.
Man-Arrested-for-RapeThe suspect allegedly committed the act when Favour returned from school and slept off at the corridor of her parent’s home.

Inya-Okoro who also lives in the same building reportedly pounced on her and defiled her.
In an interview with Crime Watch, he admitted to the crime and blamed it on his sexual urge.
“What happened was that I went to look for a labourer job on the fateful day, but could not get any job and I returned home. As I was washing my cloth, I saw the girl sleeping, only on pant, I rushed and carried her and had sex with her. It was ‘conji’ that caused it and I don’t have money to go for mature girls.”
Favour has since been taken to the hospital for medical examination and treatment.
The state Assistant Superintendent of Police, Chris Anyanwu lamented the high rate of rape in the area and urged parents to be careful.


Sunday, 20 July 2014

Pregnant Woman Raped As Robbers Shot New Couple

Two members of a notorious armed robbery gang are currently in police net for raping a six-month old pregnant woman after robbing their apartment along Anwai road, Asaba, Delta state.
It was learnt that the suspects also attacked a man and robbed him of his handset including other valuables on the same road, after beating up another male victim including a lady who was also allegedly raped at gun point.
Confirming the incident, the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, DSP Celestina Kalu, said that the incident occurred on Friday evening, adding that the pregnant woman was receiving treatment in an undisclosed hospital in Asaba.
She said that the suspect upon interrogation confessed to the crime adding that on completion of investigation, they will be charged to court.
Also, dare-devil armed robbers yesterday in the early hours along Benin-Asaba expressway held travellers including traders going to Onitsha market to ransom. They carted away an estimated sum of N1.6 million, killed a lorry motor boy and shot a newly wedded couple.
Eye witness said that the rampaging robbers blocked the road between Otulu and Onitsha Ugbo communities with big woods thereby catching travellers unaware.
It was gathered that while the robbery lasted, the robbers who were said to be operating with sophisticated weapons kept shooting sporadically to scare their victims before men of the anti-robbery squad moved into the scene to engage them.
Unfortunately, some of the robbers escaped with one of the vehicles with bullet wounds while others ran into the bush and abandoned the second vehicle by the road side.
DSP Kalu confirmed that the robbery was bloody saying that they carted away huge sum of money from the travellers.
Some residents who spoke to LEADERSHIP Sunday on condition of anonymity lamented the frequent robbery activities along the Benin Asaba express way and called on the security agents and the state government to redouble their efforts towards ensuring that those behind the frequent robbery activities on that ever-busy expressway are brought to book.
Speaking further, DSP Kalu disclosed that over ten robbery suspects operating between Agbor community and Edo were killed in the last two weeks adding that 21 others were currently helping the police in their investigation at the state CID headquarter in Asaba.


Sunday, 6 July 2014

Mile 2 under-bridge: Where victims are raped, robbed

The relative sanity and peace that had existed at the Maza-maza end of Mile 2 under bridge, in Amuwo Odofin Local Govern­ment Area of Lagos State may soon fizzle out, if the army of homeless miscreants that have recently taken refuge there is not urgently checked. Gradually, people have started falling victims to the boys, who hibernate under the bridge during the day time, only to emerge at night to attack their victims and melt into the dark.

Recall that prior to the construction of the new 10-lane road network from the Lagos Island to Okokomaiko by the state government, both Maza-maza and Mile 2 ends of the bridge were known for notori­ous activities as hoodlums flagrantly and incessantly waylaid, raped and dispos­sessed innocent citizens of their money and other valuables. In the past, they would drag their prey from on top of the bridge to under, where they would rape, rob or even kill them for ritual purposes.

Sometimes, they would threaten to drown their victim in the lagoon in order to elicit compliance, if they only wanted mon­ey or sex. That time, many people who were declared missing were later found under that bridge with their vital organs sometimes missing.

The earliest time one could walk across the bridge was between 7:00am and 6:00pm; any period before or beyond that time was very risky. People who became victims of the roughnecks then, were strangers who didn’t know what was happening there. Everybody who was conversant with Mile 2 or who lived around the area knew how danger­ous the spot was.

People who knew what went on around the place avoided it like plague; they wouldn’t even walk across the bridge in broad daylight. To them, the fear of walking across the bridge was the beginning of long life. It made many people to dread Mile 2 even till today.

But, all that fizzled out when the new 10-lane road construction started. The emergence of Julius Berger’s bulldoz­ers ended the reign of terror on and under the bridge. The construction work destroyed all the dark alleys and covens artificially constructed by the bandits for their nefarious activities. All their hide-outs were exposed when the company’s earth movers bulldozed into their enclave under the bridge, expos­ing every dark spot. With their jungle destroyed, they fled the bridge and ‘Lago­sians’ heaved a big sigh of relief. People started walking across the bridge at any time of the day without fear of being molested, robbed or killed. Life came back to the bridge as business activities of petty traders picked up and began to boom. The bridge became once again a safe haven, with people milling around it even as late as 10:00pm.

The Mile 2 end of the bridge which was the deadliest point suddenly became a mini mechanic village, where auto technicians who cannot afford the high cost of renting workshops display their technical wizardry. With the auto-me­chanic engineers plying their trade at the place, food vendors as well as herb sellers, recharge card sellers, local liquor (Ogogoro) sellers and other petty traders were equally attracted to the place. And with the new development, the hoodlums finally lost out in the battle to regain the place.
But, the same cannot be said of the Maza-maza end of the bridge as the boys are gradually re-grouping. They have actually started raping, molesting and robbing innocent passers-by, who tried to cross over from one side of the road to the other using under the bridge. Such victims felt that the boys, who gather un­der the bridge to smoke and gamble, are only taking refuge since they could not afford decent accommodation. But, they would only realise what the boys were up to after they have had a raw deal with them. A casual visit to the place will con­firm this development. A lily-livered man cannot walk through under the bridge in broad daylight, let alone a woman. They are always gathered in clusters of three, four or five. While some engage in different gambling games, others are simply puffing cigarette and Indian hemp accompanied by intermittent sipping of hot drink; just as some others position themselves carefully at the elevated point directly under the bridge to take a nap. At any time you go there from morning till evening, you will find a good number of them sleeping, gambling or smoking, sometimes under the nose of policemen.

The gangway that enables people to access both sides of the road under that bridge is so messed up with faecal mat­ter that the air within the entire area is fouled. They defecate openly by the road side without giving a hoot. Others feel comfortable dropping their faeces inside the lagoon. As they squat to pollute the lagoon with impunity, in the full glare of passers-by, who would rather close eyes to the sore sight and scamper through, a stick of cigarette or Indian hemp with a thick smoke polluting the entire vicinity, accompanies the exercise.

There seems to exist at the place a tell-tale warning signs, which says: ‘no waiting, no loitering; just keep mov­ing.’ This is because the faces you will see under the bridge, if by omission or commission, you find yourself there, will be so scary that your heartbeat will exponentially increase. You will see clus­ters of roughnecks with tattered dresses, red gloomy eyes, and rough stony faces, plaited and dishevelled hair as well as skinny, frail figures, all drinking dry gin as well as smoking cigarette and Indian hemp indiscriminately. The stench from the human faeces and Indian hemp is choking to a point that one needs no nudging to scamper through.

On hand to ensure that their daily menu of cigarette, Indian hemp and dry gin are in constant supplies, are young ladies, who also satisfy their sexual urge at night. The ladies do not live there with them; they only go there to supply the ‘goods’ during the day and to assist them relax their nerves with sex at night.

Death at dawn
Sources close to the bridge disclosed that on the eve of Christmas 2013, a mid­dle-aged woman was allegedly attacked and killed on top of the bridge. She was killed and dumped inside her Sienna Toyota Space Wagon and abandoned on the bridge. Her handset and car key were placed on top of the car. There were insinuations that she could have been killed by assassins, who hid under the bridge and only emerged to execute the dastardly act at the most auspicious time. There was also an unconfirmed re­port that the attackers might have melted under the bridge after the heinous crime the previous night. The woman was found stone-dead the following morning.
Another businessman at Ojo Alaba International Market was also attacked at the Maza-maza end of the bridge in May when he had a flat tyre at night. Ac­cording to the man who simply identified himself as Larry, he was dispossessed of all the money on him, his handset and wristwatch. He was lucky that they didn’t attack him with any weapon. They only robbed him and left.
Commenting on what goes on around the bridge, a timbre merchant in the Maza-maza market near the bridge who preferred anonymity corroborated the report that the place is no longer safe at certain times of the day. “Well, just like others have told you, the place has gone back to what it used to be before the construction work started some four years ago. Just look at them smoking and drinking by this time of the day. After smoking and drinking, they would sleep off because probably, they didn’t sleep throughout the previous night. They will be hanging around there smoking, gam­bling and sleeping until around 7:00pm when they will all disappear. They would then strategise for the day’s job. Do you need anybody to tell you what they do at night?” he submitted.
Speaking further, he said: “I have never fallen victim but I have heard of people who were attacked. They attack and dispossess their victims of money and other valuables. They attack people who use the bridge in the early hours of the day, especially travellers. They even extend their notorious activities to the garage in Maza-maza where all those transporters pick passengers travelling to the East. Cases of travellers who lost their luggage at the park are common. Those who steal people’s bags at the park are the boys you see smoking and drinking under that bridge. They come back to enjoy their spoils during the day, when every serious-minded person should be at work.”
Investigation revealed that they disperse in the night to various notorious spots within the neighbourhood, where they terrorise innocent people. Some of them, it was gathered, move to as far as Moshalashi and Church bus-stops along the Badagry Expressway, where they at­tack unsuspecting citizens. Their victims at the bus-stops are usually workers or business people who leave their houses early in the morning or those who return late in the night.
Modus operandi
A middle-aged man who said he was once a victim volunteered some informa­tion on their mode of operations at the bus stop. He said: “Initially, they used to hide in the shrubs around these bus-stops, only to emerge and attack their victims who may have come out early in the morning or those who returned late at night. But, when people discovered their antics and devised another means of stopping before or after the bus-stops, they changed tactics. Now, what they do is to plant one person at a distance before the bus-stop while another person stations himself some distance away from the bus-stop. Others will hide in the shrubs at the bus-stop, waiting for their prey. As soon as a potential victim alights from the vehicle, before or after the bus-stop and the bus zooms off, the person standing will attack at once and dispossess the victim of his or her bag and disappears. At this point, you won’t have the courage to pursue him; you will think of how to cross over the road to save your life first. They would disappear into the thick bush that separates Festac Town from the express way. They are so conversant with the routes in the bush so much that even if a team of policemen arrive at that moment, they will not be able to trace them. That was how they attacked me.”
Raising the alarm on the imminent danger the presence of the boys under that bridge may likely pose in no distant time, an auto mechanic at the Festac side of the bridge said urgent steps to flush them away from the place was the only solution to avert the impending danger. He said: “Although, their criminal activities around the bridge are still skeletal as most of them go out for op­eration in other places, they would soon concentrate on and around the bridge, if they are not flushed out urgently. Look at what they do there; they defecate ev­erywhere under that bridge. Some even drop theirs inside the water, thereby exposing the people who live around to dangers of air pollution. They smoke cig­arette and Indian hemp, gamble, woman­ise and drink all sorts of alcoholic drinks from morning till night. It is never a dull moment for them and their number is increasing by the day. Something urgent needs to be done. We don’t want to re­lapse to what we experienced before the construction work on that road started. We know what the place used to be. We don’t want that era to come back. Those concerned should rise up to the occasion and act promptly.”




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