Various civil society organizations have urged the Rivers State Police Command to ensure thorough investigation into the alleged defilement of a 16-year old girl, purportedly by a religious leader in Port Harcourt.
They have also demanded that the suspect be kept in police custody until investigation under the watchful eyes of the police, pending his trial by a competent court.
This comes shortly after the alarm was raised by the family of the victim, that the suspect, Bishop Felix Okpara Duruebube of Mercy House International Church, Eliozu, in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of the state, who was earlier detained at Rumuodomaya Police Division, was conniving with the police to pervert justice.
A sister of the victim whose name was given simply as Priscilia had accused the police of compromise. According to her, the suspect was sneaking out from police custody on daily basis to sleep in his house and return to the station early each morning.
Expressing discontent over the incessant cases of sexual harassment and rape of girls, mostly minor in Rivers State and Nigeria at large, the immediate past president, National Council Of Women Societies NCWS, Rivers State chapter and CEO of Abiye Foundation, Hon. Sheila Innocent Abiye has called for a stiff penalty for perpetrators of such act.
Sheila while describing gender based violence against women as an inhuman act told TNN that, “any girl child that is sexually harassed, raped, molested, any form of gender based violence loose her self-esteem, and not only that, they go through an emotional and psychological trauma that cannot be described in words, their emotional health is seriously affected.
“There is need for an act, a violence against persons prohibition act and the penalty should be stiff, very stiff, hey! This is evil, evil in the society and should not be treated like this, you arrest and release means you are encouraging them to go ahead. Mothers should arise, NGOs, we cannot train daughters and fail to train sons, if that happens, those sons we failed to train will destroy the daughters we suffered to train.”
Also, the International Federation of Women Lawyers FIDA, Rivers State branch, has through her publicity secretary, Sophia Afolayan urged the Rumuodomaya Police Division to produce the suspect so that he can face trial.
The Centre for Basic Rights Protection and Accountability Campaign has vehemently condemned the incessant sexual harassment of female, mostly minor in Rivers State.
National coordinator of the human rights group, Prince Wiro in an interview with TNN charged security agencies saddled with the responsibility of investigating such matters to always, “ensure thorough investigation aimed at providing air tight evidence in court with a view to ensure conviction of suspects found culpable in the course of investigation.
“We gathered that the suspect left the Rumuodomaya police station in alleged connivance with an unnamed officer when he was about to be transferred to the state CIID.”
Wiro also added that the reason why there appears to be increasing cases of sexual abuse is because, “in my opinion the awareness to report such matters has increased unlike before when many of such matters were unreported, that is the reason there seems to be an increase. I want to urge parents and guardians to start teaching their children and wards sex education from tender age, they should closely monitor their children and wards to know the kind of company they keep.”
Meanwhile, the Rivers State Police Command has promised to make public, the outcome of the investigation on the alleged defilement of the 16-year old girl, purportedly by Duruebube.
Rivers State Police Public Relations Officer, Grace Woyengikuro Iringe-Koko affirmed to TNN that, “the command is aware of the matter and the matter is currently at SCID for discreet investigation.”