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Travails Of Siblings Raped By Their Dad For 3 Years

At the end of a rugged street in Ikotun area of Lagos, house No 40, a gated storey building stands shoulder to shoulder with other houses, bearing the signs of age and numerous tenants.

But in this building inhabited by an elderly landlord, Mr. Sikiru Okunola along with his elderly wife, Bose, and their tenants, one of the greatest crimes a father can commit against his own child, has happened.

Pa Okunola and his wife, who were both alarmed when they were hinted about an incestuous act of one of their tenants, summoned his children, 14-year-old Bisi and 16-year-old Biola to confirm from them whether it was true that their father had been violating them.

The two girls, who showed signs of advanced puberty, sat down on one of the landlord’s couches. Biola, the fair and the older girl seemed guarded and a little quiet as she sat down in a pair of shorts. Her darker sister, Bisi, on the other hand, sat down with a resolute expression.

As Bisi sat with her palms together, wedged in between her knees, she could have passed for any other innocent adolescent girl. Unfortunately, that innocence has been snatched from her by none other than their bricklayer father, Omoyori Adebayo.

It all began in 2012, when Bisi was in Basic Five. She has just been promoted to Junior Secondary Class 2.

Bisi sighed when she launched into her story, as her demeanour did not betray any particular emotion. This was a story she was dying inside to share.

The first time she told this story to a neighbour she confided in, she was told never to tell anybody again. The second time was just a few days ago before our correspondent’s visit, when the case became a family issue. She and her sister were surrounded by unsympathetic family members, who simply told them to let the matter go and forgive their father.

Bisi said, “One night when I was in Primary Five (Basic Five), I realised I could not breathe in the middle of the night and I woke up, I saw my daddy lying on top of me.

“I first thought it was a dream. But when I realised that I was actually awake, I pushed him away from me. He had removed my pants. I could not say anything. But I could not sleep again. I was so afraid of falling asleep.

“Since that day, I have caught him on top of me many times than I can count. He never says anything. When I wake up, I just push him away and he goes back to sleep. I usually tell him, that Daddy, this is an abomination. But still, he continues doing it.

“Sometimes I only know he had done something to me when I wake up and feel pain in my private part. Other times, I just know when I see sperm coming out of my private part.”

Bisi’s case has become an addition to the rising statistics on child sexual abuses perpetrated by victims’ fathers in Nigeria.

Like an epidemic that continues to defy solutions, cases of fathers sexually abusing their children continue to crop up, staring the country’s laws in the face.

Adebayo, a Kogi-State indigene, lives in a one-room apartment with his three daughters. He leaves some money for their feeding anytime he goes out to do his bricklaying job.

The girls’ mother died a few years ago

The youngest of the girls has been taken in by one of their father’s siblings after the family got wind of what was happening.

But Bisi and Biola insisted their father had not touched their sister before.

Bisi said she and her elder sister could not tell anybody what was going on in their house. But when she could no longer contain the secret, she had to tell a neighbour.

“When I told our neighbour, she said I should not tell anyone about it. So, I could not speak out against my daddy. I feel sad that my father sleeps with me all the time. I don’t understand why one’s father would be doing such a thing,” Bisi said.

But it seems such secrets do not stay hidden for long.

Within the compound, a neighbour, whom the girls befriended was about to send Biola on an errand one afternoon. As she opened the door to their apartment, she noticed the girl hurriedly hid a paper.

It was a diary; a chronicle of her agony.

The curious neighbour took the paper from the girl and read what she wrote in it. The content was simply shocking.

Here is Bisi’s diary note, verbatim:

“D THING WEY DADDY DO ME”


“One day, it was on Sunday nite. Dat was 7 June 2015. He called me and told me dat he like me so much and he told me dat he want us to be dating. I said no dat am not interested and he said dat anything wey I need I should tell him and later he told me dat I should sleep beside him, dat he want to tell me something in the dead of the nite.

“I said no, later he asked dat I am a virgin, I said yes, he now told me dat na dat nite I go disvirgin. I was so scared dat nite. I don’t know what to do. I am very confused and he said dat I should not tell anybody d thing wey he told me. Dat night, he came and sleep beside me and start romancing me. I quickly wake up. I did not sleep go. I just close my eyes but there is one particular person dat know my mind. So, I explain everything to him so he told me dat everything will be okay and he now told me dat I should promise him dat I should not tell anybody so I promise him.”

Biola explained that since the day her father told her he wanted to “disvirgin” her, she had caught him in the night a number of times rubbing her breasts.

“I used to sleep beside him on the bed but I usually noticed that when I woke up in the middle of the night, his arms would be wrapped around me. Since then, I decided to sleep on the floor.

“There were days I would open my eyes and see my daddy rubbing my breasts and every part of my body. The first time it happened, I pushed him away suddenly and I stood up. Then he went back to bed. He did not say anything. But I could not sleep anymore. We usually sleep on the floor while he sleeps on the bed.”

The girls’ stories sounded much like an unbelievable nightmare but they insisted that they were telling the truth.

Their case came up after one of the neighbours, whom the girls had confided in, told their elderly landlady about what the girls had been going through.

Mrs. Okunola later confronted Adebayo, who instantly denied the allegations.

He said his children were only trying to destroy his reputation simply because he called the younger girl a bed-wetter.

Since the visit of this correspondent in company with the Executive Director, Esther Child Rights Foundation, Esther Ogwu, who is handling the case, Adebayo has not returned home.

When our correspondent spoke with him on the phone, he said he was not trying to run away.

“I have only been busy at the site where I work. I am not trying to run away. Since my wife died, I have been struggling so hard to cater for these children. I am really surprised that they would lie against me this way. One of them (Bisi) was bedwetting and I decided to punish her. That is why she and her sister are telling all these lies,” he said.

Despite promises to come back home and appear before authorities, he still has not as of the time of filing this report.

His landlady (Mrs. Okunola) said she and her husband were shocked to hear the girls’ allegations against their father.

“Unfortunately, we cannot send him out because that would also mean sending the girls packing as well,” she said.

Ogwu said at the moment, the concern was about the health of the girls. She said the girls would be taken for tests at the Mirabel Sexual Assault Referral Centre in Ikeja, Lagos to determine the extent of the treatment they would need.

According to her, there are signs of the usual intimidation of the girls by the family. The child rights activist said, “We have got reports that some family members have told the girls to say that everything they told us was a lie.

“We are concerned about the emotional and psychological damage that might have been done to the girls. Their physical health is just a little of the problem.

“In any case, no matter where the father runs to, the law will take its course on the matter.”

The case has been reported at the Office of the Public Defender of the Lagos State Ministry of Justice and at the Ikotun Police Division.

'Epidemic level’ of child sexual abuses by fathers

In recent times, there has been an upsurge in cases of children being sexually abused by their fathers, which experts have likened to an epidemic.

On September 7, 2015, The PUNCH reported how a 41-year-old trader, Emeka Igwe, habitually raped his seven-year-old daughter and gave her N10 as a reward after each encounter.

His actions had so corrupted the girl psychologically that the girl had become addicted to masturbation.

In August 2015, the police in Lagos also arrested a 37-year-old lotto agent, Ajiboye Oluwaseyi, for allegedly raping his two daughters ─ a six-year-old and a four-year-old ─ and his stepdaughter, 15, in Lekki area of the state. Like Bisi, the step-daughter had also been raped many times before she opened up to a neighbour.

Oluwaseyi was arrested on August 19, after his wife from whom he had separated, reported the matter to the police.

In June 2015, a 14-year-old Senior Secondary School year one student of Araromi Isoju Grammar School in Ikorodu, Lagos State nearly committed suicide after her 48-year-old father, Adeboye Waheed, raped her twice, taking her virginity in the process.

The father was arrested by operatives attached to the Zone 2 of the Nigerian Police, Onikan.

In April 2015, a 47-year-old man, Solomon Ojo, was arraigned in an Ota Senior Magistrates’ Court, Ogun State, for allegedly raping his daughter.

Also in February 2015, a 45-year-old man allegedly raped his 11-year-old daughter in Bauchi.

Thirty-six-year-old man, Aminu Ajao, was arraigned before an Ebute Meta Magistrate’s Court, Lagos, for allegedly raping and impregnating his 14-year- daughter in January 2014.

All these cases point to a growing ‘epidemic’ which experts say need to be checked urgently through diligent prosecution.

According to sections 31 and 32 of the Nigerian Child Rights Law, fathers convicted of this sort of crime are liable to 14 years in jail among other possible sanctions.


Punch.

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