A former youth leader of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Ward 3, Calabar South local government area of Cross River State, Mr. Augustine Sunday Bassey, popularly referred to as ‘Kufre’ who was arrested on July 10, 2017, for allegedly raping an 11 year old girl around the Lagos Street axis of Calabar South Local Government Area was recently released from police detention under very suspicious circumstances.
Mr. Bassey who was detained at the State Criminal Investigation Department, Calabar, was alleged to have raped the child in his shop under the pretext of running an errand for him.
While narrating her horrible experience to the office of Basic Rights Counsel Initiative (BRCI) a Calabar-based child protection NGO, the victim who requested that her identity should not be revealed recounted how the suspect, who is their neighbour, had sent her to buy fermented cassava (popularly known as Fufu).
“When I got back and gave him the Fufu, he insisted I drop it inside the shop. When I dropped it and wanted to come out, he pushed me inside the shop, covered my mouth and threatened to beat me if I didn’t keep quiet.”
Augustine then went on to forcefully remove her pants and raped her.
For fear of what her mother might do to her, the victim confided in her cousin who then disclosed the matter to her mother who went ahead to report the matter to the Police Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
BRCI immediately stepped into the matter and asked the police to charge the matter to court soon after facilitating medical treatment for the child and obtaining medical report.
However, it was gathered that the family of the victim has been under pressure to drop the case with the promise of receiving compensation from the family of the suspect.
The Program Manager of Basic Rights Counsel Initiative, Theresa Okpa, however, said that the father of the victim, Peter Udo had visited their office in company of the victim’s mother and another relative, appealing to them to drop the matter as they were no longer interested in charging it to court.
Udo said they will rather settle amicably with the suspect and his family who had offered N300, 000 in return for dropping the charge, “All efforts to counsel the victim’s parents on the need to press for justice for their child and other alleged victims proved abortive as the family insisted on settling out of court and receiving the said amount,” She said.
“If this is allowed to fly, then we have a disaster on our hands, as perpetrators of rape against our children will continue to walk free, and that means our children are not safe,” BRCI’s Program Manager decried.
She called on the Commissioner of Police and other relevant stakeholders in the State to do all within their powers to ensure that the suspect is made to face the full weight of the law.