A suspect, identified as Oku Ekanem, has been apprehended in Bayelsa State for alleged defilement of a 15-month-old baby.
The incident, which caused outrage among residents of Yenagoa, the state capital, occurred in Swali area of the metropolis.
According to Punch, 50-year-old Ekanem, said to be an indigene of Akwa Ibom State, was arrested by men of the state’s security outfit, code named Operation ‘Doo Akpo’.
It was learnt that the incident, which occurred at about 1 a.m on Monday, provoked anger among residents, particularly women lawyers under the auspices of the International Federation of Women Lawyers.
The suspect, who is said to be a lover of the mother of the child, Blessing Joshua, was allegedly caught red-handed in the act.
Joshua, the 40-year-old mother of the victim, said she was shocked when she caught Ekanem defiling her daughter.
“It happened on Monday at about 1 a.m. I was watching the television with my neighbour till late and retired to bed at about 1 a.m. It was not quite long, I heard the scream of my child and ran to where the cry was coming from. But I was shocked when I saw him (Ekanem) defiling my child.
He claimed it was the work of the devil and I told him that this would be last time the devil would use him and that I would take the matter seriously. He pleaded and closed the door to prevent me from calling neighbours. But I tricked him and ran outside with my child to call police patrol team at our junction.
He was arrested but he denied the act. But a test carried out at the hospital showed that the minor was defiled.”
Reacting to the development, the Chairperson of FIDA in Bayelsa State, Dise Ogbise Erhisere, confirmed the development, describing it as “barbaric and wicked act to impede the healthy development of the child.”
”It is barbaric and inhuman. We condemn it and call on mothers to be vigilant and careful with their girl child,” she said.
Calls to the spokesman for the Bayelsa State Police Command, Asinim Butswat, to confirm if the matter had been reported to the police proved abortive as his mobile phone failed to connect.