“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” – Martin Luther King Jr
There has been an unjust eviction of Ifeyinwa Ezukamma, a 40-year-old mother of five from her matrimonial home by her husband’s family for insisting on justice for her eight-year-old daughter, raped by her tenant.
The incident took place in Ogidi, Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State and the suspect aged 57 who was caught in the act on July 23 has been violating the child since March.
Ezukamma who has now taken solace in her relatives’ home strongly believes that her husband has compromised, and therefore, warned her not to pursue the matter because it would bring disgrace to their family. But she reported the matter to a child rights organisation, after the matter was reported at a police station.
She said her travail started when her husband collected money from the suspect and asked her to do the same but she refused insisting that she would get justice for her daughter. The family then chased her and took away her teenage daughters from her for insisting on bringing disgrace to the family.
“I noticed an unusual noise and movement in the bathroom. So out of curiosity, I went to check if everything was normal. To my amazement, it was a tenant in our house, an old man, having sex with my daughter. I asked my daughter what happened, she said the old man had been raping her for some months and had threatened to kill her if she told anybody about it, that was why she did not tell me,” she said.
Preliminary reports from Iyi-Enu Mission Hospital, Ogidi, where the child was taken to on August 4 and examined, showed that there was penetration. The document signed by Dr Madubuike Chinelo said the history was sturdily suggestive of sexual abuse.
“The episode had happened up to five times prior to the most recent encounter. The examination done in the presence of a chaperon showed there was hyperemia of the vaginal mucosa, no obvious vaginal discharge, and a hymen that had already been tampered with, the client was placed on some drugs for the vaginitis,” it stated.
Child Right Brigade International (CRIB), an NGO, said the matter was reported to its office on August 12. CRIB vowed to resist any cover-up and would ensure that the suspect was charged to court and prosecuted.
Obiora Nnaemeka, coordinator of CRIB in Anambra, said the information the organization gathered was that the father of the victim, Alex Ezukamma, collected some money to strike out the case from the police.
Nnaemeka said CRIB had written the Divisional Police Officer at Ogidi station to effect the arrest of the suspect and the father of the child, and bring up the matter for investigation and prosecution. He said this would serve as a deterrent to other would-be offenders and stem the tide of rising rape and pedophilia in society.
On his part, the father of the victim confirmed to newsmen that his daughter was raped and that the man had been arrested, detained, and granted bail. He added that the suspect had also been warned not to return to the house.
Ezukamma denied collecting any form of gratification for his raped daughter, saying though he was a pagan, he would never touch such money but would prefer to do some cleansing.
He said his family was not in support of the wife’s push for prosecution because of the shame it would bring to the family and the stigma it would leave on his daughter.
“She disobeyed me, and my elders and junior ones’ order not to drag our family name into the mud, and the shame it will bring to us and our daughter. That is why I asked her to leave my house. My wife can go to any length she wishes, but our name must not be involved,” he said.
When contacted, CSP Remigus Ekuri, DPO, Ogidi, confirmed the incident and said the matter would be charged to court as soon as the medical report was available.