Paedophilia is increasingly becoming a major challenge for residents of Borno State, Northeast Nigeria. Police in the state recently said it constitutes at least 10 per cent of crimes committed in the state.
According to them, most of the perpetrators were adults whose ages are between 22 and 60 years old.
Out of the 76 criminal suspects paraded by the police, nine of them are linked to different cases of rape involving minors.
Borno State has been battling with the management of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) who were forced to flee their homes to camps due to attacks by Boko Haram terrorists, where under-aged girls are exposed to all kinds of violence.
The trend of child-rape has in the past few years become a common occurrence as even those who avoided IDP camps for the safety of their kids are not spared by the marauding paedophiles.
Though many cases of rape including the ones involving underaged girls are hardly reported, the police said they were able to make arrests of some culprits after their courageous family stepped up to report them.
Abdu Umar, Borno State Commissioner of Police said most of the culprits used various means to lure or force their innocent victims into having illicit carnal knowledge of them.
Umar had, in a press conference, informed journalists that 10 rape cases involving survivors who were within five to 16 years of age have been committed in less than two weeks.
One of the cases reported to the police happened on Aug. 25, 2021, when one 50-year-old Suleiman of Mbalala village in Chibok Local Government Area, “lured one Adama Yahaya, an 11-year-old girl into his room and forcefully had carnal knowledge of her.”
“The suspect has been arrested, and the state CID Maiduguri is investigating,” the Commissioner of Police said.
Another case of child violation happened within the Maiduguri metropolis on Aug. 28, when a 22-year-old man, Abba Ali connived with another male adult, known as Adam, to lure a 13-year-old girl, Aisha Umar into their shop at Gwange, forcefully taking turns raping her.
“One of the suspects, Abba Ali has been arrested, while Adam who is now at large is currently being tracked as the State CID continues the investigation.”
Still within the Maiduguri metropolis, a five-year-old child named Hauwa Mohammed on Sept. 7, complained to her parents of pains in her private part.
She later informed them that one 30-year-old Umar Usman had raped her.
The CP said the case was reported to State CID, Maiduguri for investigation and subsequent prosecution.
Similarly, on Sept. 23, one Shettima Saje, aged 38 years, who lives in the Budum area of Maiduguri “was arrested by Policemen of Bulabulin Division who used N500 to lure one Aisha Usman, a 12-year-old girl of Bulabulin Kotoko area, to have sexual intercourse with her. The case is still being investigated by the CID.
The police said they have received a report from Bayo local government area that a 35-year-old man, Umar Nagandu had on Aug. 31, lured one Naja’atu Yusuf (age 13) of Fikahyel village, Bayo LGA “and forcefully had carnal knowledge of her at Fikahyel Primary School.
Barrister Abdulwasiu Alfa, a Maiduguri-based legal practitioner, said though there are extant penal laws that punish offenders with up to life imprisonment.
The penal code of Borno State is still being reviewed to address grey areas around the of concept violence against women.
He also said with the process of domesticating the Violence Against Persons (VAPP) Act now at the advanced stage of legislation at the Borno state House of Assembly.
It is hoped that stiffer laws would emerge to curtail the prevalence of child sexual abuses in the state.
Some of the suspects who spoke to journalists at Borno State Police command owned up to the crime even as they blamed the “devil” for misleading them into committing the crime.
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