-Delta State, Nigeria. Three months after she was gang-raped while in police custody at the Abraka Division of the Delta State Police Command, the victim and mother of five, Mrs. Ese Isaiah Ozegbe, has dragged the Nigeria Police to court.
In the suit filed by her counsel, Mr. Efe Ejomasuvwe, at the Federal High Court, Warri, she is claiming N750 million as damages from the police over the incident. Hearing in the case has been fixed for June 13.
THISDAY had reported on May 4, this year, how Mrs. Ozegbe was allegedly gang-raped by four men in police cell at the Abraka Division of the Delta State Police Command.
The victim was said to have been detained among men at the Station where she was allegedly raped in turn.
She had alleged in a petition to the AIG, Zone 5, Benin City, Mr. Hashimu Argungu, that she was serially raped by the men while in the custody of the police at Abraka.
In the petition, she accused the Divisional Police Officer (DPO), Abraka, and his men of negligence and failure to protect her.
Her counsel alleged that following a brawl his client had with one of her neighbours, one Mama Afoke, policemen from Abraka Police Station came to arrest her on February 26, this year, following a complaint by the woman with whom she had the altercation.
The petitioner said that an effort made by her husband, Mr. Isaiah Ozegbe, to secure her bail from the police custody was rebuffed by the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) and the Divisional Crime Office (DCO).
She alleged that apart from intimidating and abusing her husband, the duo also pushed him out of the station.
According to the petitioner, “shortly after Mr. Isaiah left the Abraka Police Station, the IPO instructed the policeman at the counter to put me into a cell where there were already two men.
“As soon as the Police locked the gate to the entrance of the cells, two younger boys came into the cell where Mrs. Ese and the other two mature men were kept, and immediately they started robbing her and she protested that she is a married woman and mother of five children.
“The boys asked her to keep quiet and immediately grabbed her by her neck and closed her mouth with their hands, the others held her two hands and threw her on the ground and started to rape her. In the process, she started shouting but the police refused to come to her aid until she went into a coma. She realised herself the following morning”.
She added that when she became conscious, she noticed that her husband was inside the cell opposite where she was held, adding that when she asked him what he was doing there, her husband replied that when he came that morning to perfect her bail, the police pushed him into the cell for seeking bail for her.
Mrs. Ozegbe further said that when her husband met the DPO and the DCO to complain to them that his wife was raped whilst kept in the same cell with men, the DCO ordered that he should be kept behind the counter.
Policemen on duty that fateful night allegedly ignored her cry for help.
It was also gathered that the men who allegedly raped Mrs. Ozegbe are currently standing trial at a Magistrate Court in Abraka.
Meanwhile, the police authority has axed two of its personnel attached to the Abraka Division of the Delta State Police Command for negligence in the gang-rape of Mrs. Ozegbe.
The axed officers, according to THISDAY investigation, are the Cell Guard attached to the Police Station (name withheld) and a female inspector, Mrs. Erebi Akporunor.
The cell guard, whose name was not given, was dismissed from service while the inspector was demoted to the rank of sergeant.
The dismissal and demotion were part of the report of an Orderly Room Trial of 11 policemen in connection with the rape saga carried out by the AIG, Zone 5, Benin City, Mr. Hashimu Argungu.
-culled from ThisDay Newspapers
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