The recent incident or rather matter of gang rape linked to students of Abia State University is a real eye opener. Not only does it show that we don't have real leaders, it also shows that our so called leaders are not there to serve the people but themselves and their accolades.
The first reaction of the Governor of the state Governor T A Orji was that he will send or rather look into it on Monday. He was going to wait another 48hrs after his attention was drawn to the incident.
I shook my head when i heard, myself and other members of the advocacy group i belong to just could not wrap our head around the fact that the Chief Executive of a state and a father for that matter will chose to wait before summoning the VC of the said university. This shows clearly that humanity is lost in Nigeria. Our values are so warped and we've mostly become very insensitive to the needs of our people.
A few days later we read that the state govt issued a statement to the effect that they've investigated and got a feedback from the police and the University authorities that the incident never happened on campus or in Abia State.
They then started speaking Urdu(a different tune) that it was the work of the political enemies of the state. One would have expected at the minimum that such nauseating statement wont be associated to the Chief executive of a state. The police command later started passing the buck by saying that it did not happen within their jurisdiction, Abia State Police command said it was Imo State Command that needs to investigate the incident, and the game of bury the incident began.
The only sane statement we've heard from a govt official to date came from no other than the Minister of Youth Development, Bolaji Abdullahi. Do we put this down to his age or orientation? He condemned the rape of the female undergraduate and pledged to help rehabilitate her if she would make herself available to the ministry.
He viewed the behaviour of the perpetrators as decadent and barbaric, noting however that it did not represent the character and nature of the Nigerian youth.
He went over and beyond the call of duty to call on the University authorities and relevant security agencies to step up action to ensure that the perpetrators are arrested and prosecuted.
Rape incidences are under reported in Nigeria. Reason being that the victims at the end of the day, get raped by the system that is meant to help, protect and give closure at the end of the day.
We are yet to hear from the Minister Of Women Affairs who happens to be a woman. Neither have we heard from the First lady of the state directly, her office had issued a statement backing what her husband's office said, which was some unintelligent Bobbitt . One would have thought that as women and mothers, their heart will go out to the victim.
It's most unfortunate that Nigerians are daily being raped by their so called leaders. Most see and view rape as something that's already with us and just shrug it off. Some even went as far as saying that the lady did not resist her attackers and that she looked so relaxed in the video and might have even gone to meet the men for sex and things later got out of hand. Little wonder that most rape incidents never get reported.
The Nigerian police had this to say, and i quote....
"We don't investigate rape cases based on what people put on twitter. When a crime is reported, the DPO must send detectives to investigate the scene of the crime. Up till now have you seen the victim? Have you seen the scene of crime? Have you seen the suspects? It is a very dangerous rumour that must be dismissed by all good meaning Abians and Nigerians" - Bala Hassan, Commissioner of police Abia State.
End of quote...
Not only was what was done to the lady despicable, it is evil and should be condemned by all sane people. She was brutalized several times over and they had the audacity to spread their very vile behaviour by releasing the video and spreading it. The arrogance of it all is very annoying. They exposed themselves through the singular act of spreading their vile behaviour. Such behaviour exposes them as criminals who can maim and kill. They tormented and brutalized their victim and i can hazard a guess that it was not their first time.
The internet as a tool of mass communication can also be a tool of mass exposure. The rape incident has been given wide exposure through the internet and a lot of people have become Sherlock Holmes overnight.
Some who have seen and others who have not but only read about the graphic details of the incident have become so irate up to the point of advocating for an investigation of the incident. A lot of Human Rights organizations and Advocacy Groups are making use of all the tools at their disposal to see to it that this incident is not swept under the carpet.
It's not too surprising to read that the Governor of the state is now trying to save face by now doing an about turn about the incident. His office has now given the VC and the DPO a marching order to fish out the culprits. Just because it's an incident that won't just go away. What with FIDA..Federacion Internacional Dos Abocados (International Federation of Women Lawyers), Project Alert, Zahara Women Foundation, SOTHAWACA, ACTS Generation Org and a host of others already running with the story and doing the needful by engaging even other International Advocacy groups.
The incident has gone viral and International and the fear of it being a focus at an international meeting is now making the people that didn't want to do the needful to be scurrying around to try to save face.
Must it get to that point before those who swore to Protect And Serve do something?
We've not heard directly from the lady in the eye of the storm. Her parents are shielding her from public view. And from what i heard they did not report the incident and i wont be too surprised that she was not examined immediately by a competent doctor. The fear of stigmatization might be part of the reason why this was not done, coupled with the fact that she just went through a very traumatizing incident.
She at the moment needs our prayers, words of encouraging and real counselling to heal. There's also need for real re-orientation and sensitizing of all our security agencies on how to handle rape incidences. Reported or not, any talk about such should be investigated in an orderly and timely humane manner.
I read of recent of a Pry 1 girl that was raped by a neighbour and the parents took her to the police station to report the incident. The officer on duty who happens to be a woman started interviewing her in the full view of others in the waiting area. The young girl was subjected to the most humiliating type of questioning that left a very bad taste in the mouth and shows that we have a long way to go as people. She asked if the young girl enjoyed it. Also asked why she collected 20naira from the rapist. She failed to see that the young girl was lured and manipulated.
I just heard that some of the Abia 5 Alleged rapists have been arrested. Am very much interested in how this will all play out in court and hope that other cases that are pending will be handled with urgent dispatch, and not manipulated by security agents whose mantra is...settle out of court.