The police in Lagos are investigating a visually impaired man who has been accused of rape by a 12-year-old minor (names withheld).
While some policemen at the Satellite Town Police Division found it difficult to believe that a “blind man” was capable of raping someone who had no problem with her sight, others insisted that the minor was too young to lie.
The Network on Police Reform in Nigeria, a non-governmental organisation, felt that the indecision by the police was a way to bury the case at the expense of the victim.
PUNCH Metro gathered that the minor started work as housemaid with the visually-impaired man, identified simply as Kingsley, in January 2014. It was said that the agreement was that Kingsley, who is married with three children, would sponsor the minor through school while she would assist the household with domestic chores.
Trouble, however, started when the minor was unceremoniously returned to her aunt last month on account of what her guardians termed her unruly behaviour and her tendency to always run away from home whenever she was scolded for wrongdoing.
But the minor told the aunt that she ran away from home after Kingsley raped her. The furious aunt was said to have invited the police at the Satellite Town Police Division and Kingsley was arrested.
Narrating the incident to the police, the minor said, “I ran away from home because daddy (Kingsley) attempted to rape me a second time.
“Before I ran away he had called me into his room to help him read a text message from his phone. In the process, he forcefully had sex with me. I ran away when he attempted to rape me another time.”
But the suspect said the minor’s claim was false. He wondered how possible it was for a blind man to rape a girl who could have escaped.
He told PUNCH Metro that the minor was scolded for wrongdoing and she did not return until the next day.
Kingsley said, “The rape was an afterthought by the minor’s aunt to punish me for returning her unceremoniously. It is a set up. The girl in question could hardly read or write. As a blind person, my phone is enabled with a software package that enables me to make calls and read text messages without assistance. When she ran away, it was our landlord that brought her the following day. She did not mention anything about rape as her reason for running away.
“She and her aunt must have cooked up the rape issue to punish me. The medical test that allegedly proved that she was defiled was conducted when doctors were on strike. I will want this matter to be taken to court because my name has been smeared.”
However, NOPRIN said the police had compromised on the investigation.
A statement by NOPRIN National Coordinator, Okechukwu Nwanguma, said, “Curiously, the police are the ones echoing the argument that the alleged rapist is visually impaired as if that will negate the possibility that he could have committed the offence.”
But the state Deputy Police Public Relations Officer, Lelma Kolle, denied any complicity by the police, saying justice would take its course.
He said, “The matter was first reported at the Satellite Police Division and the suspect was arrested. He was granted bail because of his condition. The incident has been transferred and is still under investigation at the State Criminal Investigation Department.”