James Sowole in Akure
The Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko (AAUA), Ondo State, Thursday confirmed the alleged rape of a 300-level student of Department of Religious and African Studies of the institution by some soldiers of the 32 Artillery Brigade of the Nigerian Army in Akure, the state capital.
The soldiers were said to have allegedly raped the student last Wednesday evening at the military check point at Ikare in Akoko North East Local Government Area.
The Head of Media and Protocol Unit of AAUA, Mr. Victor Akinpelumi, confirmed that the management of the institution was aware of the incident, and had started investigation into it.
A source, who was on the same mini bus with the victim before she was asked to alight from the vehicle, said they were both returning to Ikare after leaving the school campus.
The source identified one of the soldiers as Lance Corporal Sunday, alleging that the victim was raped serially by the soldiers.
According to her, one of the soldiers, Sunday, at the checkpoint, ordered the victim to alight from the mini bus, and took her into a cubicle at the back of the checkpoint where they (soldiers) allegedly raped the victim.
The student, who craved anonymity, said the soldiers at the Ikare checkpoint were fond of molesting the female students who go through the checkpoint.
The source said: “We were coming from Akungba on a mini bus last Wednesday evening. On getting to the checkpoint, this soldier (Sunday) looked inside our vehicle and pointed to the lady, and ordered her to get down. We didn’t know why he did that. When the lady alighted, he took her to their mini-barracks and asked us to leave the scene.
“Out of fear, we left the place hoping that she would be released immediately but she was not released until after about one hour. After that, we discovered that she was serially raped by the soldiers at the checkpoint.
“Immediately, we went to Ikare Police Station to report the incident and rushed her to Ondo State Specialist Hospital at Ikare-Akoko for examination and treatment. As I am talking to you, she is at the hospital, and doctors confirmed that she was raped.”
A source at the Ikare Police Station, who confirmed that the incident was reported at the station at about 7.15 p.m. last Wednesday, said the police had stepped into the matter. The source confirmed that the name of Lance Corporal Sunday was mentioned in the statement written by the complainant.
“The matter was reported here, but I won’t say more on it. When we complete our investigation, it would be sent to the headquarters in Akure,” he stated.
When contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Femi Joseph, however, said he was not aware of the incident.
According to him, “I have not been briefed about the matter; I will have to call the Ikare Division, and I will call you back when I get the details.”
Reacting to the allegation, the Brigade Commander of the 32 Artillery, Brigadier General Z L Abubakar, said if there was such complaint, it should be presented at the Brigade Command in Akure for proper action.
Abubakar, who said it would be difficult for any of his men to be involved in such crime, added that anyone found guilty knows the penalty because the military authorities do not take such thing lightly.
He however appealed to the people of the state to assist them in ridding the state of kidnappers and other criminals.
Abubakar stressed that they have to change tactics in dealings with these kidnappers, and it may not be comfortable for the people at times, but it would turn out for the good of all at the end.