A 71-year-old physically-challenged man, Richard Odiwe, has been arrested for allegedly raping a primary six pupil, Bimbo (pseudonym).
PUNCH Metro learnt that Bimbo, who lives with her grandmother in Ago-Alagbede in the Agbado area of Ogun State, fled home last Tuesday around 5.30am after she was told that an uncle wanted to beat her for her unruly behaviour.
Odiwe was said to have harboured the 12-year- old girl in his residence at Atila, a neighbouring community, where he committed the alleged crime.
Our correspondent was told that the septuagenarian had been living with his younger brother, who is a tenant of Bimbo’s grandmother.
He was, however, sent packing in 2013 after he was suspected of sexually abusing female children in the community.
Bimbo, who spoke in Yoruba, told our correspondent that Odiwe had been having sex with her since 2013. She said he would give her money and warn her not to reveal the act to anybody. She added that they had sex twice during the two days she spent with him.
She said, “He has been having sex with me for a long time. My friends and I would go to beg him for money. He would give us N50 or N200 at times; have sex with us and warn us not to tell anybody.
“My sister told me that my uncle wanted to beat me. Out of fear, I fled home and headed for Baba’s (Odiwe’s) house. I met his daughter in the living room, mopping the floor. I went into the inner room. While the daughter was still busy with domestic chores, he had sex with me.
“When I was asleep on Tuesday night, he touched me. I woke up and told him that I was not interested, but he forced me and had sex with me again. I went out on Wednesday, and was returning to his house in the evening when my sister saw me and took me home.”
Our correspondent learnt that Odiwe was arrested by the police from the Agbado Police Division on Thursday; shortly after the incident was reported to a rights group called, CEE-HOPE – Centre for Children’s Health Education, Orientation and Protection.
Odiwe, who confessed to having sex with the girl, said he was tempted and “foolishly bought into her advances”.
He said he had planned to take her back home on Wednesday, adding that he only raped her once. He, however, denied having sex with Bimbo in the past, saying it was a lie cooked up to complicate his offence.
He said, “She (Bimbo) and other children in the area would come to me, begging for money. They helped me to wash my clothes because I am incapacitated.
“On Tuesday, I saw Bimbo in my house and she said her uncle wanted to beat her. I wanted to take her back home, but she refused. On Wednesday, I told my daughter that I would take her (Bimbo) home, but she did not come back.
“To be frank because I don’t want to tell lies, she started being funny and pestering me at night. I had sex with her once. The three of us slept on the same mattress, although my daughter was fast asleep then.”
The grandmother, identified simply as Mama Sure, said she suspected Bimbo’s privates parts had been tampered with because of her incessant bedwetting.
She said, “My neighbours told me that Richard (Odiwe) usually trick children, including Bimbo, with money and rape them. When I noticed that she was bedwetting, I suspected something must be wrong with her private parts, but she did not tell me then that the man was having sex with her.”
The head of Ago-Alagbede community, Chief Sunday Oyegun, said he was the one who sent Odiwe out of the neighbourhood when complaints about the immorality, to which he subjected minors, persisted.
He said, “In 2013, parents in the community reported to me that the man was luring their children with money and having sex with them. I told his younger brother to send him away or he would be given a notice to quit.
“I thought he had stopped such acts until this incident happened.”
The Director, CEE-HOPE, Mrs. Betty Abah, condemned the spate of rape in the country. She urged the government to strictly enforce anti-rape laws.
She said, “It is appalling that someone in his seventies would find a minor attractive for a sexual relationship. That shows the depravity to which our society is sinking by the day.
“It is time our government at all levels enforced anti-rape laws. It is not enough to have them on paper. They must be enforced to serve as a deterrence to others, or else these sad occurrences will continue.”
The Ogun State Police spokesperson, DSP Muyiwa Adejobi, confirmed Odiwe’s arrest.
“The man has been arrested, but we are still awaiting medical results so that we can properly ascertain whether the girl was raped or not.
“Meanwhile, the Commissioner of Police has ordered that the suspect should be transferred to the State Department for Criminal Investigation,” he said.