“Go and bring the money you stole from my purse. If you do not get it, I will teach you a lesson today”. With this threat, 12-year-old Nofi(other names withheld) said she bolted from her grandmother’s apartment in Aiyenero, under Ajeromi local government area of Lagos State, two weeks ago.
She left the house around 4pm, Unsure of where to go to get the money, Nofi reportedly boarded a bus, heading for her aunt’s place in Omokomaiko.
But trouble, as gathered, started for the girl on reaching Okokomaiko, as she found she had no idea of the exact area her aunt was living. By then, it was already 9pm, as she was delayed in the unending gridlock along Lagos/Badagry expressway.
Looking confused, Nofi, who was left without a dime, reportedly demanded for money from passers-by, most of whom shunned her.
At that point, it became glaring that Nofi was in serious trouble. “ At that instant, I broke into tears, as negative thoughts ran through my mind. I stood at the bus-stop; and not knowing what to do at that point, I slept on a table in front of a supermarket that had closed for the day”.
While asleep, she said, someone tapped her at about 11.30pm. And when she opened her eyes, a young man, who showed concern about her predicament, invited her to spend the night in his house.
Apparently seeing the visitor as her messiah, Nofi followed him home where, to her dismay, the visitor, later identified as Salawu Waheed, turned out to be a rapist.
The victim narrated: “He said he would like to see if I had hair in my private part and I pulled my pants for him. Before I knew it, he applied some lotion in my private part and forced his way into me and, even when I attempted to shout, he held my mouth.
“By 6am, he gave me N20 for transport and asked me to go back to where he picked me”.
But as she left Salawu’s house, some members of a vigilante group in Okokomaiko accosted her, suspecting she could be in need of help. She was, thereafter, taken to the traditional ruler of Shibiri where she claimed her aunt lived, and attempt to get the said aunt failed.
The community leader was said to have advised that she be taken to the police station from where she disclosed all that had happened to her.
A source at the Human Rights section of Ilemba Hausa Division told Sunday Vanguard: “Immediately she was brought here, we saw some dry substance later discovered to be semen on her laps. Even when we asked what it was, she said it could be pap.
But, on further investigation, she told us how she was raped. To confirm her claim, we took her to the the Badagry General Hospital where a test conducted on her confirmed forceful penetration and broken hymen”.
Following the confirmation, 22-year-old Salawu was arrested. But, in his statement, he denied having carnal knowledge of Nofi, maintaining he only offered her a place to sleep until the next day.
However, when asked about her parents, Nofi told the police they were dead. “ She told us she was an only child and that she ran away from her grandmother’s house whom she accused of maltreating her”, the source said.
To confirm her claim, security operatives reportedly took Nofi to her grandmother’s place, only for them to discover she had told a lie concerning the 80-year-old woman.
“On sighting Nofi, the grandmother rushed towards her and hugged her, thanking God at the same time for seeing her. When we asked about her parents, the old woman told us her mother was dead but that her father, a bricklayer, was alive.
To confirm her claim, we asked her to send for the father, who later showed up at the station. We also discovered that Nofi was the fourth child”.
Meanwhile, Salawu, as gathered, could be charged to court.