According to a statement by Chidinma Ikeanyionwu, a media aide to the Commissioner for Women and Social Welfare in Anambra State, Ify Obinabo, it has been alleged that a group of six individuals, aged between 16 and 27, committed a gang rape against a 19-year-old girl in Anam, a community located in the Anambra West Local Government Area of Anambra State, which is situated in Nigeria’s South-east region.
Additionally, it was reported that during the assault, one of the suspects recorded the incident. The statement, however, did not provide specific details regarding the date of the occurrence.
According to a statement by Ms. Ikeanyionwu, the arrested suspects in the case have been taken into custody by the commissioner and subsequently handed over to the police in the state. The names of the apprehended individuals were provided as Afam Ezenwa, Chijioke Ifeanyi, Collins Obadom, Abuchi Okechukwu, Chima Obiekezie, and Sunday Okafor. The statement revealed that the case has been transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department of Police for further investigation and prosecution.
The commissioner’s intervention in this matter was prompted by the emergence of an online video clip showing the victim being subjected to rape by the suspects, as stated by Ms. Ikeanyionwu.
In an account shared with Mrs. Obinabo, the victim, whose identity has been withheld, recounted how she was ambushed by the suspects along the road and forcibly taken to a room where they took turns assaulting her. Despite her pleas, the suspects persisted in their actions, with one of them even recording the incident.
Initially, the victim was rescued by concerned neighbors who heard her cries for help, but as she made her way home, she was intercepted and attacked by some of the suspects. They forced her to undress and subjected her to another round of rape, threatening to kill her if she resisted. Eventually, a passerby found her in a vulnerable state along the road and took her to her family’s house.
During interactions with the parents, Mrs. Obinabo expressed her deep concern over the increasing rate of crimes committed against women and girls in the state. The commissioner called on parents and guardians to refrain from neglecting their duty to properly raise and educate their children. She emphasized that the Anambra State Government, under Governor Charles Soludo’s administration, maintains a zero-tolerance stance against crime and assured the parents that the ministry would ensure the arrested suspects face the full weight of the law.
The parents of the victim, whose identities were not disclosed, revealed that their daughter was the third victim to suffer at the hands of these suspects. They noted that the individuals were known for perpetrating acts of rape against young girls and stealing their undergarments, which often resulted in the death of the victims after some time. The victim’s parents appealed to the government to ensure the prosecution of the suspects, as their daughter’s life is now at risk.
It is important to note that Nigeria enacted the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act in 2015, which criminalizes all forms of violence against women and girls, including rape and female circumcision. Offenders, upon conviction, can face life imprisonment or a maximum jail term of 14 years, depending on the age of the perpetrator and the type of violence committed.