Paedophile On Rampage: Elderly Men Preying On Younger Girls

by Duke Magazine

For 13 years, Evelyn Johnson (not real name) bottled up rage and hatred in her mind. The emotions hurt her and affected her self-esteem and identity for a long time, but she did not know where and how to pour out the fury in her. No one, not even her mother, believed her when she tried to divulge the secret. She did not even bother to tell her father, a disciplinarian feared by her and her two brothers.

With no support from anywhere, Evelyn decided to live with the pain which lasted for over a decade, until she got married to a man who supported her and by whose caring she managed to survive the trauma.

Evelyn was 15 at the time she was raped by her maternal uncle who visited the family in Ibadan, Oyo State, sometime in 2000. Prior to this devastated event, they did speak on the phone anytime the uncle called from the United States where he was working at the time. He was almost 60 then.

While on leave at work, he decided to visit home in Nigeria, making the Johnson’s home his first stop after arriving in the country. It was understandable; Evelyn’s parents had played a huge role in sponsoring his trip out of the country. Paying them a visit first, and remitting to them the goodies he brought before visiting other family members was the proper thing to do, he possibly thought.

“He brought large boxes full of wear, chocolates, perfume and other nice things. He gave me many nice stuff,” Evelyn recalled. 

On a cold night on the third day of his arrival, when Evelyn’s parents had gone to bed, the-then teenager narrated how her uncle barged into her room, gave her some money and told her to not mention it to her parents.

Evelyn said, “He told me he knew my mother, his sister, could get jealous if she knew he gave me money. I was shocked but I promised not to. I thought he was just being an uncle who wanted to pamper his niece. He called me all sorts of nice names; he said I was more beautiful than my mother. He said I should not allow boys to destroy my life. But I was utterly amazed when he kissed my forehead as he left my room that night.

“He promised to look after me afterwards, saying he would sponsor my education in the US when I graduated from secondary school. I was ecstatic. But on the following night around 11p.m, he came into my room again and engaged me in another discussion, telling me I was more beautiful than I was the previous day. Then he started rubbing my cheeks and thighs, and then my breasts. I jumped out of bed but he pulled me back and the next thing I felt was that I couldn’t breathe properly.

“He pulled off my nightgown and forcefully had sex with me. Unfortunately, my brothers had gone to school and my parents slept upstairs; they couldn’t have heard my little scream. I felt devastated after the act. He started pleading with me after the act and asked me not to tell my parents. He even said that no one would believe me if I tried to.”

Evelyn said the following morning, she felt like hitting her uncle with a club, because of the fuming anger in her. Because of her lingering sad mood, her parents asked her what was wrong but she couldn’t utter any word.

She said, “I couldn’t find the courage to tell anyone what happened until a month after when my uncle returned to the U.S. I called my mum into the room one day when dad was not around and told her what happened during my uncle’s stay. She was shocked, but at the end of it said she didn’t believe her brother could do such a thing. I was left more devastated,”

Evelyn said the incident strained her relationship with her mother for some years, as she could not understand why she would not believe her own daughter.

“I lived with the anger and bitterness towards everybody for 13 years until in 2013 when I married. I hated men for many years, maybe that was why I married at 28. But, when I met my husband, I saw love in him. I confided in him all that happened and he didn’t stigmatize me. He even loved me more. I think it was his love that healed me of the trauma,” she stated.

However, Evelyn was not the only person raped by a person old enough to be her father.

Another rape victim, Precious Rowland (not real name), also shared how she was raped by an aged neighbor when she was 14.

She said her mother died when she was seven years old, while her father travelled to Lagos to work. She then lived with her relatives in Benin City, Edo State.

She said, “There was a man in the neighborhood that my aunt used to send me to sell fufu (processed cassava flour) that she used to make to. He had grey hair, a baritone voice, and a protruded belly. I used to go there every evening to sell fufu. The man liked touching me anytime I went to his house, and anytime I told my aunt, she would scold me and tell me to just make sure I sell her fufu.

“At a point, I didn’t bother telling my aunt again since she saw nothing wrong with it. I expected her to warn her customer against touching my body but she didn’t. I started feeling scarier each time I went to sell fufu to the man. At the time, I heard the story that the man and his wife had separated and their children lived with the wife.”

Precious said it was one of those evenings that she took fufu to the man’s house that she was sexually molested.

She added, “I observed that the neighborhood was quiet that day. He told me to come inside when I approached his door, and said he would buy all the fufu I was meant to sell that day. I was happy. He told me to go inside his kitchen to bring a tray where he would put the fufu. As I went in, he grabbed me by my waist and carried me to his bed. He had sex with me. He said if I told anyone what he did, my aunt would send me to the streets and I would be homeless.

“I cried and cried until I got back home, but my aunt did not bother to ask me what went wrong. Her concern was that I sold all the fufu I hawked that day. She even wanted me to go on another hawking, but she was out of stock. She praised me for being ‘a good girl.’ I wished my mother was alive. She would have protected me.”

Furthermore, another rape victim, Blessing, recalled with tears how she was raped by her 55-year-old uncle who she once stayed with when she wanted to write the West African Senior School Certificate Examination in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.

She was 16 at the time. Her father had died, and her mother had no financial means to register her for the exam. So, her uncle, a businessman, who lived in Uyo, offered to register her for the exam.

On the night after the exam, she said her uncle stretched out a gesture of taking her to a bar in the city to celebrate her success in anticipation.

Blessing said, “He told me to drink some alcohol but I refused. He insisted that I should take it, that I was no more a kid. He also promised to sponsor my university education. In that mood of excitement, I took some alcohol. I later found myself in a hotel room where I was raped. I cried and asked why he did that to me. He said he thought I wanted him to sponsor my education since my father had passed. I was helpless, couldn’t even tell my mother.”

Now a graduate and married with two children, Blessing reiterates how she had a contempt ‘passionately’ for her uncle until he passed away.

“He only paid my tuition fees in 100-Level. My mother did lots of menial jobs to see me through my university years. I was only able to put the incident behind me when my uncle died, and with the help of my loving husband,” she added.

Rape in the hands of ‘custodians of morality’

On an ideal slate, older persons in the society are looked up to for protection by the younger ones. However, many aged people have committed despicable acts that they ought to be in the position of  warning the younger ones to desist from.

Most recently in Nigeria, rape has been gracing headlines of topical news when on May 27, a 100-level Microbiology student of the University of Benin, Uwaila Omozuwa, was allegedly raped and murdered inside a church where she went to study in Benin City, Edo State.

Barely a week after Uwa’s rape and murder, Barakat Bello, an 18-year-old student of the Federal College of Animal and Production Technology, Moore Plantation, Apata, Ibadan, Oyo State, also suffered a similar fate behind her house at the Akinyele area of Ibadan.

On the same day, armed men allegedly gang-raped a 17-year-old street hawker at the Oja-Oba Market, Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State.

A few days later, a 12-year-old girl was allegedly gang-raped by four masked men at her residence in the Abijo area of Ajah, Lagos State.

Nonetheless, aged persons usually regarded as the ‘wise ones of society’ have been culpable of raping younger people who could pass for their children.

For instance, in February 2020, a former lecturer at the University of Lagos, Azeez Baruwa, was sentenced to 21 years imprisonment by a High Court in Lagos State for raping an 18-year-old admission seeker.

Baruwa, 45, was charged with one count of rape and sentenced by Justice Josephine Oyefeso.

The victim, who had scored 211 in the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), and wanted to study Mass Communication at UNILAG. But because she failed to meet the institution’s cut-off mark, her father approached Baruwa for assistance.

Baruwa, a former part-time lecturer at the Department of Accounting at UNILAG, reportedly agreed to help, and took the victim to the school on July 23, 2015. He, however, raped her in the morning of the said day in Room 8 at the Faculty of Business Administration Annex.

Baruwa was later arrested and charged to court after the victim reported the incident to her parents.

Delivering the judgement, Justice Oyefeso held that the convict understood the gravity of the offense and the consequences of his action and that in line with Section 258(1) of the Criminal Law of Lagos, 2011, the culprit should be sentenced to 21 years’ imprisonment.

Also in February 2020, an Ekiti State High Court sitting in Ado-Ekiti sentenced a 55-year-old man, Bashiru Adeyanju, to 14 years’ imprisonment for the attempted rape of his daughter.

Justice Monisola Abodunde sentenced the convict without an option of fine.

The prosecution counsel, Mr Wale Fapohunda, had during the trial said the convict committed the offenses on September 10, 2017, at No. 30, Irona Street, Ado-Ekiti.

Fapohunda, who is the state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, said Adeyanju unlawfully attempted to have sexual intercourse with his 17-year-old daughter.

Fapohunda explained that Adeyanju, whose wife left him when the victim was 10 years old, confessed that he always beat the victim whenever she refused to have sex with him.

Also in Ekiti State, 45-year-old Ajibade Olaoluwa was convicted for raping a 14-year-old girl, and is currently serving a 10-year prison sentence in the Nigerian Correctional Centre, Ado Ekiti.

In August 2016, an Egor Magistrates’ Court in Benin, Edo State capital, sentenced one Eric Lelekuma to 12 years’ imprisonment for defiling a nine-year-old girl.

Lelekuma, aged 57, had been arraigned on two counts cutting through unlawful carnal knowledge and assault of the victim. The state counsel, Mrs O. Ewemade, told the court that the accused committed the crime between November 20 and November 28, 2013.

In furtherance, in September 2019, Justice Muslim Hassan of a Federal High Court in Lagos sentenced a 58-year old farmer, Yesiru Onajobi, to a jail term of 10 years for raping his 13-year-old daughter in the Lekki area of Lagos.

Also, in July 2016, an Egor Chief Magistrates’ Court in Benin, Edo State, sentenced one Lucky Idahosa to 14 years’ imprisonment for raping his 17-year-old daughter for alleged money ritual.

The police prosecutor, Osaretin Ogiehon, told the court that the 40-year-old committed the offense sometime in June 2016.

On June 2, 2020, Justice Adedayo Akintoye of the Lagos State High Court in Igbosere, also sentenced a former ExxonMobil engineer, James Onuoha, to 15 years’ imprisonment for raping his tenant’s 14-year-old niece.

Onuoha, 45, was alleged to have on January 4, 2016, around 11.30am at No. 25 Samuel Amoore Street, Idowu Estate, Oke-Ira Nla, Ajah, Lagos, engaged in an unlawful sexual act with the victim without her consent.

With findings, it can be inferred that the bulk of rape cases in Nigeria were not reported, because of the fear of the victims being stigmatized. Hence, there is a handful data on rape cases.

However, in December 2019, several reports quoted the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Dame Pauline Tallen, as saying an estimated two million Nigerian women and girls were sexually assaulted annually.

Africa Unite, an arm of the United Nations Women campaigning against gender-based violence, in a 2019 report stated that anywhere between 13 per cent and 45 per cent of women in sub-Saharan Africa experienced assault by an “intimate partner during their lifetime.”

Similarly, the Women At Risk Foundation in a 2018 report said the statistics at its disposal revealed that over 10,000 girls were being raped in Nigeria daily.

Parents should be more vigilant-Activist

A child rights activist and founder of the Esther Child Rights Foundation, Mrs Esther Ogwu, described as pathetic a situation where aged people had become perpetrators of heinous rape acts, instead of being at the frontline of   cautioning young ones committing the crime.

She said, “The raping of minors by elderly people has become rampant and we are dealing with some right now. Most of the victims are minors. We have also seen cases of fathers attempting to rape or raping their daughters. I think why we are having more cases is because awareness is massive now, and victims are beginning to speak out.”

Ogwu noted that parents were at fault in most rape cases, stating that those who committed rape were well-known to parents.

She said, “At times, parents are to blame for this act because some of them don’t have time for their children. I wouldn’t know why a parent, especially a mother, would leave their daughter alone and go out. In most cases, people who rape are close to the family–uncles, home tutors, drivers, gatemen, security men, neighbours, and so on.

“We are to take care of our children, and nobody can take care of them as we do; when we leave them alone, they become preys in the hands of rapists. Nowhere is safe now. Even the creches. We need to try as much as possible to watch over our young ones.’’

Ogwu also said more awareness should be created on protecting children at schools and other places.

“We also have some elderly females who abuse young boys. The authorities in schools, churches, mosques, etc must take more steps to protect our children,” she said.

She further opined that the law was not strict enough to deter rapists.

She said, “We need stricter laws on rape. Our laws have not been strong enough and that is why rapists think they can commit such acts and still walk freely on the streets. When a scapegoat is made of one of them, the rest will not do it again. If I were to make a law for rapists, I would say their manhood should be cut off. Rapists sometimes make the excuse that it is because of the way a lady dresses. What about babies being raped? Our laws should be reviewed concerning sexual assault in Nigeria.”

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