The spate of violent crimes and the recklessness with which criminals unleash terror on hapless residents of Imo state; especially those living in villages and suburbs, is assuming a frightening dimension. The state government and by extension, the police command seem helpless as these faceless terrorists of the state are effortlessly milking their victims and smiling to the banks.
Apart from the fear and trepidation the spate of insecurity has caused in the minds of residents of the entire state, social and commercial life in the city has been brought to its knees as fun seekers that hitherto troop into the state en masse at weekends, now avoid it like a plague. Unlike the trend in other states where the menace of kidnapping is rife, in Imo state, kidnappers take time to dine and wine in their victims’ residence, rape any woman on sight before taking their targeted victim.
This was the bizarre scenario that played out in Umunana village in Iti Ezinihitte, Mbaise local government area in the state recently during which a house wife and mother of five, Mrs. Ngozi (surname withheld) was callously and serially raped by a three- man gang of kidnapers before abducting her two children. Date was April 17, 2012 and time was 2.30am. As at the time of filing this report, the whereabouts of the innocent children, 11 months old Onyekachi and Olumachi, a two- year-old boy is yet to be known.
Unsuspectingly, the woman and her two children had left her husband’s Umunoria village to visit her aged mother in Umunama within the same local council with a view to assisting her harvest farm produce when the ugly incident occurred.
Deep into the night of that day, the mother of five was cruelly jolted from a deep sleep by three gun-wielding men and a woman who apparently led the squad as a later revelation showed. Reports say it was the woman who pointed a torchlight at the sleeping children, took them into custody amid cries for help that never came while the randy kidnappers led their panic -gripped mum into another room where her hands were tied, blind-folded and took time to forcefully have sexual intercourse with her.
In the mean time, Mrs Ngozi’s aged mother was equally tied down and gagged and that provided the sex-starved kidnappers ample opportunity to carry out their cruelty. After about 45 minutes, the kidnappers-cum-rapists who reportedly took their turns disappeared from the house with the two children to an unknown destination.
Narrating her ordeal in an emotion -laden voice, Mrs. Ngozi who wept like the biblical Rachael that refused to be consoled over the whereabouts of her children said,
“Raping me in succession was painful and traumatic but I am more pained and worried about the whereabout of my little innocent kids. What is the offense of an 11- month- baby, what is the offense of a two- year -old boy? What is my offense, who have I offended that has found it so hard to forgive me; so much so that it was extended to my innocent children?”
Continuing, she said,
“ Since this is harvesting season, I left my husband’s village, Umuoria Itu in Ezinihitte Mbaise Local government council of Imo state on April 14, to visit my mother at Umunama so that I could lend her a hand in her farm work.
On April 17, deep into the night, my children, mother and I were fast asleep when we were woken up by a very rude noise. Shortly after wards, I saw three gun men in my room with a woman who apparently was conducting them around. They slapped me, held my aged mother while the woman took custody of my children who were at the time crying aloud.
“My hands were tied with ropes, I was blindfolded and led to a corner of the room, stripped naked and raped in turns.
While the men were raping me, I could hear them uttering unprintable words about my husband while the woman who apparently could have been coming to peep at the men on top me laughed scornfully . That day would remain the worst day of my life. When it was clear that the men were done with me, they left with my children to unknown destination. It was sympathizers that later came at dawn to untie me and my mother.”
Calling on the state government and the police to find those in custody of her kids, a visibly traumatized Ngozi said, “When the incident happened, we reported it at the Itu Police station only for me to hear that there are several rape cases in the community; but my worry is the safety and wherabout of my children.
As I speak to you, the police have not been able to come out with anything even as the kidnappers have not placed any ransom on the innocent kids. What is their offense, where are they keeping them?” She broke down in tears.
A prominent indigene of Itu, Chief Nkemdirim Ameachi who expressed worries over incessant rape cases in the community said the state government and the police have been contacted over the issue adding that the government owe a duty to safeguard its citizenry.
“When this incident happened, the community met and through a letter by the President-general, Elder Eberechi Nwaogu, we expressed our shock and anger to the state commissioner of police . We indicated that the matter be transferred to the SCID so that it will be properly investigated. We, as a community, are not happy about this incident and we call on the acting IGP and the Imo state government to track these kidnapers and rescue the children”
Written by Albert Akpor
Dear God, please watch over those innocent children.