SOLDIER RAPES, BATTERS LADY AT GRAVEYARD
Miss Jane Adams, a 23-year-old student of the Lagos State Polytechnic (LASPOTECH) is crying for justice. She is seeking help after a soldier serving at Bonny Camp, Lagos allegedly abducted and raped her at a dreaded cemetery within the Ojo Military Cantonment in Lagos.
The victim, who hails from Gboko Local Government Area of Benue State, alleged that Lance Corporal Akparuku Clever, in the night of Saturday, January 22, abducted her in his danfo bus, marked LAGOS XY 230 EKY, and forcefully took her to a graveyard inside the Ojo Military Cantonment. There, she recalled, he allegedly pulled a dagger, threatened to injure or kill her and then raped her. It was during her intense struggle with him that she suffered a serious injury on her left eye, she said.
Aside from the alleged rape, Jane also accused the soldier of other diabolical intentions, saying he attempted to insert a charmed ring inside her private part.
In an interview with Daily Sun, the victim who still nurses the gruesome wounds allegedly inflicted on her by the soldier, described the incident as the worst experience of her life.
Narrating her ordeal, she said some hoodlums at Boundary area of Apapa had snatched her handbag while she was returning from work the previous day. But unknown to her, the loss of her bag was just a harbinger of some evil that was waiting to happen.
The lady worked with Halogen Security firm from where she was deployed to Oando Oil, Apapa terminal 2. It was on her way home after the day’s work that some hoodlums, popularly known as ‘Area Boys’ in Lagos, attacked her and snatched her bag containing her mobile phone and other valuables.
It was on that same ill-fated day that she coincidentally ran into an old friend of her elder brother, Goodnews, who later assisted her with N200.00. They later exchanged phone numbers and she went home.
According to Jane, her family formerly lived in the Ojo Barracks because her father, Mr Anakaun Ujon Adams, was a soldier until his death on January 9, 2009. It was after her father’s death that the bereaved family relocated from the area. Her mother, Eunice, went to live in Benue while she stayed back in Lagos with her elder sister at a private residence opposite the military barracks.
It was from her residence that she went to work in Apapa, and Goodnews, the Good Samaritan, later introduced her to Mr. Akparuku, a soldier serving at the DAOP Unit of the Army Headquarters, Bonny Camp.
Jane said the soldier never asked her for love, but they related only as casual friends until Saturday, January 22, when it dawned on her that friends could be deceitful.
According to her, she was returning from work late in the evening when she saw Goodnews and Akparuku drinking in a bar located opposite the barracks with some of their friends. Jane said she joined them on invitation and was offered a bottle of malt. But, according to her, hardly had she taken a sip of the chilled drink when some boys from their neighbourhood invaded the bar to make trouble.
Goodnews, she recalled, engaged the boys in a fight and efforts made to separate them failed. She said she considered running away from the scene but when she considered it as a betrayal to a friend that invited her for a free drink, she stayed behind. In her words, when the owner of the bar requested for her money, the soldier, Akparuku, pleaded with her to accompany him to a new generation bank located inside the military barracks to collected some money from the ATM machine to offset their bill. The victim said she didn’t suspect anything and entered the bus.
The first year student of Business Administration said the fog of excitement cleared from her eyes when the soldier refused to stop at the bank. And when she confronted him to stop the vehicle, he allegedly persuaded her to follow him to his house to collect his ATM card.
“I told him to stop the vehicle, so that I would get down but he refused. He kept on speeding. But when he got to the School of Music, there was a mound of sand there. I used that opportunity to jump down from the bus. But he came down and pursued me.
I started screaming for help but he caught up with me and started kicking, hitting and dragging me back to the bus. It was at that point that he hit me on my eye and I fell down in severe pains. Some soldiers intervened at that point but he told them that I stole his N10, 000. He didn’t allow me to explain to them because he knew he was lying. He rained blows on my face, slapping me on both sides. Even those that came to help me turned around and abused me for stealing his money and ordered me to follow him,” she said.
While the beating continued, the victim said other vehicles drove past them without bothering to stop. But one man, whom she suspected to be a senior officer, stopped and ordered Mr. Akparuku to immediately take her out of the barracks.
“I told that senior officer that I wouldn’t follow him any more because he might kill me. But the man encouraged me to follow him into the bus. At that point, tears were flowing uncontrollably from my wounded eye which began swelling rapidly. It was getting darker and I could hardly see. When we entered the bus, I didn’t know what happened next until he dragged me down. He told me that we were in a burial ground, a no-go area. He pulled a dagger and threatened to stab me dead if I ever resist him. Everywhere was dark. He tore off my clothes. I refused to open my legs for him, and we started struggling again. But he was much stronger. The dagger slashed my neck. There were wounds all over my body. Then he raped me,” she said.
Jane said the furious soldier throttled her so hard that she could hardly scream. “I lay helplessly on the ground,” she recalled. She said the soldier also threatened to kidnap and keep her out of sight forever, for daring to insult him.
Jane, who said the incident left her thoroughly humiliated and debased, recalled that her alleged rapist used no condom.
“Apart from the fear of HIV/AIDS, I was even more afraid because I was in my ovulation period,” she said. “After raping me, he took me back to the bus and told me he was from the Niger/Delta and that he had kidnapped me. He said my family would never see me again. I was so afraid that I couldn’t utter a word. But when we got to a place in the barracks called Fin Niger, I saw somebody with a torch. I jumped out of the vehicle and started calling on the man to save me. At that time, I was naked but I didn’t mind. Other people came, some of them were soldiers, and they took us to the military police. They locked him up in the guardroom and took me to the military hospital. I spent three days in the hospital before the doctor referred me to a specialist hospital for the treatment of my eye,” she explained.
A medical report issued by the military hospital and made available to Daily Sun, described the incident as an assault occasioning bodily harm. But the victim is accusing the army authorities of trying to water down the rape charge so that the victim would receive light punishment.
“He raped me. He penetrated me and released his semen inside me. How can I lie and expose myself to this shame if it is not true? Even the man confessed that he did it. The doctor that examined me that night knows the truth. All I want is justice,” she said.
Jane said another lady also suffered a similar fate in the same location and was brought to the same military hospital. According to her, the lady, presumably in her early 20s, equally claimed to have been raped by unknown men at the same graveyard. Aside from having several rounds of unprotected sex, the perverts added a gory dimension to their crime by forcing an empty bottle into her private part. She spent the night unconscious in the cemetery until some passers-by took her to the military hospital. She was referred to an undisclosed specialist hospital when doctors at the barracks could do nothing to save her life, she said.
Although Jane said she was certified negative when she went for a pregnancy test, perpetual fear still gnaws at her mind, as she feels she might have contracted the dreaded HIV. She said her HIV status could only be properly diagnosed after six months.
Since the incident happened, Jane said she has been seeking legal aid, but lacks the required financial power and counsel.
Aside her financial constraints, the young lady said she is also facing constant threats from unknown persons who have vowed to deal with her for rejecting conciliatory steps engineered by the accused. According to her, a member of the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC), warned her recently to be more careful because some people are out to silence her forever.
Daily Sun undercover reporter visited Ojo Barracks on Friday, February 12 to get more details of the sex crime. At the military duty room where the accused was detained, the detainee chart spelt out the offence of assault and rape against Lance Corporal Akparuku Clever, who was the third on the chart. The chart also had seven other soldiers charged and detained for other misdemeanours.
The reporter, in an attempt to get the details of the offence, claimed to be a relation of the victim, who has come to broker a peace deal. Looking suspiciously at the reporter, the officer on duty ordered the visitors to wait outside the office for his colleague that has the keys to the guardroom. It took some couple of minutes before the accused was brought out from his cell.
On seeing Jane, the soldier’s eyes fell as he sat down on the wooden bench in front of the office. The journalist was able to convince him that the family of the victim had finally agreed to settle the case. The bait caught the suspect. He sounded remorseful as he reeled out his confession. He pleaded with the victim to name her price in order to save his career. He argued that his detention in cell had done either party no good, moreso as his commercial bus had been impounded by the authorities. It was while the soldier was pleading with the victim to withdraw the case that the reporter stealthily took his photograph, a Herculean task because of the presence of other soldiers.
Akparuku, with Force Number 03NA/63/197, disclosed that he was a native of Bayelsa State, a married man with five children. His pregnant wife, he said, was almost due and had travelled home with the children shortly after the incident for the burial of her grandmother.
Looking downcast and unkempt, Akparuku said misfortunes had been trailing him from his village since he took his danfo bus home. The army authorities, he noted, had since confiscated the bus which the victim alleged was used to abduct her.
Akparuku claimed it was not in a graveyard that the incident happened and denied any plan to use the victim for rituals. But the victim, who had been playing along to enable the reporter get details of the case, lost her temper and shouted him down for being economical with the truth. To keep the accused in high spirits, the journalist promised to prevail on the victim to withdraw her case entirely from the military police so that he would be released from the guardroom.
At the Ojo Military Police office, the reporter also met the Officer-in-Charge, Lieutenant Colonel, W.F. David, who assured the victim that investigations were on-going. Although he declined giving details of the action the military would take against the accused, one of the investigators said the accused would never go unpunished.
Efforts made to get official comments of the Nigerian Army failed. When the reporter contacted one of the commanding officers at the cantonment, one Captain Sanni, he said he was not aware of the incident since it happened outside his unit. According to him, there were about 14 units in the Army, which makes it difficult for him to know what happened in other units.
Also, the spokesman for Brigade 9 of the Nigerian Army, Lagos, Captain Olaolu Daudu, said he was not aware of the incident but assured that since the accused was still in military custody, the matter would be properly investigated.
However, the victim said her wounds would continue to fester unless the Army authorities heed her cry for justice. She said her tears would continue to flow until the man who subjected her to such physical, psychological and emotional torture earns his deserved punishment.
Will Miss Jane Adams ever receive justice? The whole world waits.