Angwa Rimi, a slum settlement at Mpapa area of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), is a mixture of all tribes clearly living below poverty line.
Among the dwellers is Hosea Lazarus, a security guard, living with his two daughters (Favour 13, Dorcas 10) and nine-year-old son even before he lost his wife in 2013. Although Lazarus, has managed to provide for them within his less than minimum wage salary, the peaceful and contented life they enjoyed was punctured in December 2017, when he found out that his landlord, Eddie (not real name), (Anthony Ossai) had separately raped his teenage daughters.
Depressed by his wife’s death and rape of his daughters to the point of even considering suicide, he vowed not to keep mum, especially as the landlord, who has evaded the police since the incident, suddenly noticed that the landlord is trying to sell the house by proxy.
He is not sure when his daughters were raped as he sometimes, left the children alone for a week and only returned to spend few days with them before going back to work. But Favour claimed that the landlord allegedly invited her to help warm soup for him without knowing that he had sinister intention.
She said Eddie took advantage of her vulnerability, forcefully had carnal knowledge of her and threatened after the dastardly act to not only invoke a powerful juju in his village Kwale, Delta State, to kill her if she tells anyone of the rape, but also eject them from the house because her father owed house rent.
She added that he however gave her N500 to buy anything of her choice before leaving the room.
Lazarus recounted his ordeal: “I work with AEDC as security guard assigned from Heroes private security outfit. In my former place of work, I used to have a week off and a week on. Unfortunately, I lost my wife in 2013 after a brief illness. Since their mother’s death, it has been difficult taking care of them and working. I had thought of taking them to live with my mother, but that was when there was crisis in my community with Fulani herdsmen, I am from Eggon in Nasarawa.
“In fact, on the day my wife was to be buried, another crisis broke out and those that dared to stay back for her burial were just a handful. So, whenever I was going to be away for one week, I ensured the home was stock up with foodstuffs. Because I noticed before now, if I give them money they would buy things that do not make sense. I do drop money as well just in case they want to buy something else.
“On December 19, 2017, my elder sister who lives around us called while I was at work. She asked if I had given my kids some money and I said no because as at that time I was yet to be paid. But I told her I had bought everything they needed before leaving for work. She said she saw them with some things and when she asked where they got them from, they said it was the landlord that gave them money to get them.
“I told her before I left for work that the landlord had confronted me to pay the three months outstanding rent because he wanted to send money home to his family in the village. I had assured him that I would call him to come for it at my place of work once I am paid.
“So, I wondered where he got the money to give them. I asked my sister to find out what led to him giving my daughters money. When she wanted to take them to her house, my landlord curiously tried to prevent them from going. But my sister insisted and dragged them to her house. “He followed them and eavesdropped through the window. She became more suspicious and came outside and confronted him. He was startled and exclaimed in local parlance ‘kassala don burst.’ When I got home, I called my two daughters and confronted them but they couldn’t say anything. I had to drag them to their aunt’s house to confide in her being a mother.
“After much persuasion, the younger sister confessed that the landlord has been sleeping with her. I was shocked, it was unbelievable. The elder sister remained adamant. My sister prevented me from confronting the landlord. She advised that we go to an elderly man who happens to come from the same state with him to report him. We took them to a pharmacist who confirmed they were raped.
“Despite my threat to my eldest daughter to head to the police station from the pharmacy, she still didn’t bulge. At Police Division, Mpapa, she finally opened up to my sister that he also raped her and gaged with juju threat. I insisted she tell the DCO herself since we were already in police station.
“The DPO interrogated them and directed us to Maitama General Hospital with a policeman assigned to us for proper medical test which equally confirmed their rape. We took the result back to the police station but the case has lingered till date.
“I have gone to NAPTIP, Human Rights Commission with the medical report to seek justice. I am not doing this for publicity sake but because their rights have been violated. My eldest daughter was 13 years when it happened while the younger one was nine. My son was eight.
“I recall sometime when my landlord told me that since our wives were no longer with us, my daughter should replace them. But I stopped him, reminding him that my daughter cannot be my wife. He quickly apologised but I never knew something was indeed happening between them for real.”
He noted that instead of paying for his dastard acts against his children the landlord is rather busy trying to sell the house secretly: “In fact, he has already sold two rooms out.
“I was at work when I was told some people came to look at the house. I asked the agent who confirmed it. He even told me in Hausa language that in their place, I would have been paid off for such incident to bury the case.
“He asked why I was still insisting on getting justice for my daughters two years after. He told me that since the deed has been done there is nothing that cannot be redressed. I told him that was possible in their place not mine.
“All I want is justice for my daughters because they are minor. After this incident he left the house and had not been seen. I don’t know who took the case to a radio station where I was invited.
“Before now the sister had organised some of their tribal persons who said they wanted to make peace. I said we should go to the chief representing us in Mpapa. On getting there, the chief said he could not say anything without seeing the culprit.
“Further attempts failed when my landlord’s friend, Musa, heard us treating the case on the radio station. He was shocked the case was already on radio despite his plans to mediate. All attempts by his friend to drag him to the radio station failed because he refused to honour the invitation. He rather connived with the sister and left Abuja that same night.
“It was the same thing the sister did when my chief invited him to Mpapa. She said he could not come because he was afraid of being killed. While on air, the FCT PPRO, Mamza, called in and said she should be detained there until his brother arrived to pick her up.
“She was detained after writing statement but was granted bail after four days, when she promised to produce him in two weeks’ time. At the end of the weeks she requested for another three weeks, claiming that she went to the village but he was nowhere to be found. She was ordered to produce her brother in another one week but I pleaded for two weeks.
“Since then I have not heard anything again. Each time I went there, my IPO would say he would get back to me. At a point, I was asked if she should be charged to court and I said the police should be in the best position to decide that.
“I should mention that when I went to the Human Rights Commission (HRC), they petitioned the IGP. The case was forwarded to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and handed over to CIIG Wuse Zone 2. But I am yet to hear anything. When I heard of plans to sell the house, I informed the police and I was told anybody that buys the house would be buying trouble for himself.
“If my wife was alive, this would not have happened, she was a caring mother. I am so depressed and felt like committing suicide at some point. I have lost sleep because I never imagined this could happen to me. This is what I hear from other places, on radio, it sounds like folklore.
“Right now, I am being accused of wanting to claim the man’s house forcefully even when my daughters have been sleeping around before the incident. How do I know that? As far as I am concerned, the culprit I know is my landlord. In fact, one Hausa lady, our neighbour, accused my daughters of sleeping around. I asked her, as a mother did she draw my attention to it since their mother is late? But she kept quiet.”
Unfortunately for him, the case is not the only thing tormenting him as the Maiduguri woman he brought home, a mother of two, to take care of my children is maltreating them: “There was a day I got home and met my eldest daughter sleeping outside and I was heartbroken.
“She had earlier called to report my daughter but I told her to wait until I return. I am not saying it is wrong to discipline my daughter, but making her sleep outside was totally uncalled for. I am very unhappy.”
Favour recounted her encounter with landlord: “Before now, if anybody gave us money we did not use to inform my daddy, we just spent it. On that day, my dad had gone to work. I was about to take my bath when our landlord invited me to come help him warm soup. He was already dressed up as if he was going out, so I said okay.
“As I was in his kitchen preparing to warm the soup, I didn’t know he was behind me and the next thing I knew was that he used his hand to close my mouth. I had only wrapper tied around my body since I was about to go take my bath. It was while I was trying to remove his hand from my mouth that my wrapper fell and I was naked.
“He threw me on the bed, I was not sure if it was his pillow case or bed sheets but he used it to cover my face, so I couldn’t shout because he had already covered my face and he raped me. He then told me that if I should tell anyone he will take me to his juju in his village and that it will kill me and my dad will not see me again.
“He also said that if my dad doesn’t pay him his rent, he will do it again for the second time. As I made to leave his room, he gave me N500 to buy anything I want and to make sure I didn’t tell anybody. I collected my sister’s own and I told her that we should not tell our dad or anybody since we have been spending the money people dashed us before the incident without telling him. We should use it to buy something people will see. So I used it to buy shoes for her and my brother and the balance for the Brazilian wool I used to plait her hair.
“It was when my aunt saw the shoes that she started asking questions but I was afraid to tell her anything because of the threat. I also refused to tell my dad until we went to the police station.”
Her younger sister, Dorcas, raped when she was just nine in 2017 by the same landlord narrated her encounter in tears: “He called me while I was playing with my brother and took me into the room. He told me to remove my clothes, lie on his bed and then lay on my body and raped me.”