Judex Okoro, Calabar

Women from Okuni community in Ikom Local Government Area of Cross River State have protested against the rape of a woman in the presence of her husband at gun point.

The women numbering over 1000, on Tuesday, took to the streets of Okuni to demand for justice for their colleague, describing the incident as ‘barbaric’.

Investigations by Daily Sun revealed their protest was as a result of the arrest of one of the culprits, who was later released on bail without adequate sanction by the police, in Ikom.

It was learnt that some unidentified gunmen attacked a cocoa plantation and after stealing about 12 bags of cocoa, they went ahead to beat up the farmer and gang-raped one of his wives to the point of unconsciousness on November 6, 2017.

The protesting women, who went to the Police Station at Ikom, appealed to the state’s Commissioner of Police, Mr. Hafiz Inuwa, and other relevant authorities to wade into the matter by ensuring that the victim got justice to avoid a reoccurrence.

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One of the protesters, who identified herself as Grace Tam said, “A group of men went into our bush and raped our daughter. We took the matter to the police and left it in the hands of the Special Anti Robbery Squad but along the line they said the case was that of robbery and it was not rape.

“But we, the women of Olulumoh community in Okuni, are angry and that is why you we are on black and black to tell the world that we are not happy with what they (police) did. Rape is not fun and it is not known in the land of Olulumoh. Therefore, we want to put a stop to it.

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“We want government to produce and provide that person that went into our bush and raped our daughter. That is why we are here because they have turned the case to be a robbery case but we know of a truth it was a case of rape.”

The women later proceeded to the palace of the traditional ruler, where the spokesman to the Okwa Traditional Rulers Council in Okuni, Okin Akpet, confirmed the incident.

“The woman upon regaining consciousness was brought in that state to the community. The case was reported to the police, which led to the arrest of one of the rapists who was identified by the victim to have been the first to rape her.

“Sadly, the major culprit who was meant to fish out other perpetrators was released on bail and the matter was charged to court. When the matter appeared in court, early March this year, the rape case was absent in the charge sheet and the medical report missing from the file.

“This is the reason the women have decided to take to the streets of Ikom to demand that the case be revisited and that justice prevails,” he said.

Reacting, the state’s Police Public Relations Officer, Irene Ugbo said, “The case of reported to us. We all know that rape is a grievous offence. When it was initially reported to the police, the suspect was arrested and medical report was carried out on the woman in question which showed that it was a case.

According to her, it was discovered that the suspect was released and this has led to the removal of the Divisional Police Officer by the Commissioner of Police.

She added that since then there series of allegations that the police had collected money, which is not true.