A police inspector attached to the Elere Police Station, Lagos State, has been detained for allegedly aiding the escape of a rape suspect, Makinde Raheem, from the premises of the Ogba Magistrates’ Court.
The officer, identified only as Inspector Tina, had reportedly gone to court with Raheem on Tuesday morning without putting handcuffs in his hands.
The suspect, while reportedly walking behind Tina, took to his heels on getting to the court premises – an act the victim’s mother, Abiodun, said was premeditated.
It was learnt that Abiodun had on December 19 reported at the station that Raheem, her neighbour in the Oko Oba area of the state, allegedly defiled her 16-year-old daughter while the girl was having a bath in one of the two bathrooms in the compound shared by all the residents.
It was gathered that Raheem was arrested and Tina was assigned to investigate the case.
Abiodun told newsmen that the investigating police officer demanded N10,000 from her to carry out a test on her daughter at the Mirabel Centre located at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja.
She said she began to suspect Tina’s prejudice in the case after she eventually paid N7,000 for the test .
Abiodun stated, “I later learnt that test is free at the Mirabel Centre. I met with the IPO on Friday, December 20, to ask for the result of the test. She said I shouldn’t worry about it. She said the man would be giving us money every month. To my surprise, I saw Raheem walking around the street the following Tuesday. I was wondering why the police would release him without our knowledge.
“When I observed that she didn’t take the case seriously, I reported it at a human rights office, Esther Child Rights Foundation and the man was rearrested on Monday, December 30. Through the intervention of the human rights, she also returned the N7,000 she collected from me for the test.”
Abiodun said Tina took Raheem to court that day but delayed his arraignment until the court closed for the day.
“When we got to court, the IPO started buying time. She was angry that I reported the case at the human rights office and she threatened to deal with me. When lawyers were asking her if it was a defilement case, she said no. She said my daughter and Raheem, who is 46, were dating each other.
“She was walking around the court with him until the court closed and she told me to come back to court on Tuesday,” the woman said.
She said she got to court at 7am on Tuesday, waiting for the IPO and the suspect, adding that as Tina entered the court premises, the suspect walked behind her without handcuffs in his hands.
“He suddenly fled and escaped on a motorcycle. From all indications, it was a planned work,” she added.
Recounting the events that led to the alleged defilement, Abiodun said her daughter had informed her Raheem was making advances to her and she warned her to stop greeting him.
She stated, “Three days later, his wife called my daughter and asked her if there was any relationship between Raheem and her. The girl told her the truth but she said her husband would deny if she confronted him. I didn’t know he had raped her in the bathroom when I was not at home.”
The victim, who just finished from secondary school, told newsmen that she was in the bathroom on November 29, when Raheem barged in and had sex with her at knifepoint.
She said, “He started asking me out in November. I declined and told him he was old enough to be my father. One day, she met me outside and told me that many women were eyeing him but he did not give them attention. He said he was giving me a free opportunity (to date him) and I didn’t want to embrace it. I walked out on him. He did not know my sister was inside the room. She heard everything he said.
“My sister warned me to be careful. His wife noticed that he was disturbing me and she asked me whether her husband was asking me out and I said yes. She also warned me to be careful. Since then, I stopped greeting him.
“On November 29, while he was passing by, he peeped into the bathroom and saw me having a bath. Only he and I were at home that day. Others had gone to work. He barged into the bathroom with a knife and said he had seen everything in my body.
“He threatened to stab me if I shouted and that nobody would hear my voice. He said he purposely waited at home for people to go out. After he had sex with me, he vowed to kill me if I tell anybody.”
The girl said she kept the act to herself in fear that Raheem would make good his threat if she divulged it to her mother.
She stated that on December 12, while she was in the bathroom, the suspect barged in again with a knife and had sex with her.
“My mum arrived home and met me outside crying. When he saw my mum asking me what happened, he started walking around, signifying that he would kill me if I talk. I did not tell my mum because of fear. He told me he had killed four persons before, so I was afraid to open up to my mummy.
“It was on December 19 that I dared the consequences and explained what happened to my mum. When he returned home that day, she confronted him and he said I was her girlfriend,” she added.
The Executive Director, Esther Child Rights Foundation, Mrs Esther Ogwu, said she was disappointed at the way the case was handled by the police.
She said, “The IPO did not include defilement in the charge. She claimed it was the DPO (Divisional Police Officer) who asked her to do so, but the DPO denied it. The police should make sure that the suspect is rearrested and prosecuted accordingly. How can you take a rape suspect to court and leave him at your back without being handcuffed? To me, it was a planned scenario.
“The IPO initially collected N7,000 from the victim’s parent but when I called her, she said she did not collect any money. She later returned the money and gave the girl a police report which she took to Mirabel Centre alongside her mother.”
The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, DSP Bala Elkana, said the IPO had been detained and would be subjected to internal disciplinary proceedings known as orderly room trial.
Elkana added, “If found guilty of professional misconduct, she will be handed over to the conventional court for prosecution. Meanwhile, the Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, has ordered the immediate transfer of the case to Gender Unit and asked the unit to ensure that the suspect is rearrested and made to face the full weight of the law.”