In yet another case of defilement that seems to be spreading across board like a wildfire, it was the turn of an eight-year-old girl, identified simply as Nnena, penultimate weekend when she was violated by a man, Atipo Larry, whom she described as a customer in her mother’s shop.
As Nnena would tell Saturday PUNCH, the incident, which happened around Oparo Street in Fagba area of Lagos, on a Sunday afternoon, shortly after she and mum came back from church, was not the first time Larry would sleep with her, saying he had done ‘it’ with her on many occasions but that she was too scared to tell her mum, identified simply as Janet.
The little girl, whose father is no more, told our correspondent that Larry, who is said to be an ex-convict, used to come to buy things from her mum’s shop, which is outside Larry’s house. She recalled that her mum was not around the first time he did ‘it’ to her.
In the presence of her mother, who was visibly disturbed by the incident, Nnena said, “It started one afternoon when my mum was not around. I was the only one in the shop. When he came out of the house and saw me sitting in front of the shop, he gave me N50 to help him buy cigarette, pure water and Tom Tom and asked me to come and give him the items in his house.
“When I entered the sitting room, he told me not to tell anyone about what he wanted to do and that if I told anyone, he would kill me. He carried me and lay me on the floor, removed my dress and removed his. He lied on top of me and ‘did something.’ I was feeling pains in my body and I tried to shout but he covered my mouth.
“When he finished, he picked his cloth and cleaned the blood on my body and on his own body. He then told me to go and warned me not to tell anyone about it. I wanted to shout but he covered my mouth. I left the house crying but there was nobody around.”
Nnena, who seemed not to know what Larry was doing to her, said she felt serious pain when he penetrated her private part, saying she kept screaming because of the pain but that there was no one in the house and then he covered her mouth.
Too scared to ‘die’, she went about her normal activities and never said a word to her mother. She recalled that her mother had told her that if she allowed anyone to touch her private part, she would die, which was to alert her on the need to be protective, but Larry’s threat seemed to outweigh that. He didn’t stop there; he did the same thing the following day and allegedly continued in the act; sending her on errands anytime her mother was not around, luring her into the house, where he was allegedly squatting and sleeping with her.
On the day he was caught, she explained that she was with her mum when Larry signalled to her and told her to lie to her mum that she was going to use the toilet, which she did.
“When I left where my mum was, he dragged me into his house, carried me and took me to the back of the chair (sofa) and did it on the floor. He covered my mouth so I could not shout. He had just stood up and was about lying on top of me again when my mum came in. I quickly took my gown and ran away.”
Asked why she had to go back after repeated assaults, she said she was afraid to die and that she had to run away so her mum wouldn’t beat her.
Visibly angered by the development, Janet explained that she was outside her shop washing plates on the Sunday afternoon when her daughter told her she was going to use the restroom. “I told her to go and that was not the first time she would go to the toilet alone.
“I waited for her to return, but she didn’t. I went to check the toilet, she wasn’t there. Meanwhile, I had been seeing Larry walking around earlier, so I went inside his house and saw my daughter on the floor, naked. He was also naked but when he saw me, he ran away. It took the intervention of neighbours to track him and we handed him over to the police.
“I have always told him never to come to my shop again. He owes me some money but I told him to leave it so he could stop coming to my shop. I didn’t know he was doing such with my daughter.”
Even though Larry, who is allegedly an ex-convict, is currently helping the police with investigations at the State Criminal Investigation Department at Yaba, Nnena is left with some infections she might have to battle with for some time. “I just want him to die in prison because of what he did to me,” she said.
The Spokesperson for the Lagos State Police Command, Mr. Joe Offor, said the case was still under investigation, adding that the necessary action would be taken as soon as the investigation was completed.