December 2, 2014 was a sad day for Mrs. Bilikis Balogun. That day, she learnt that her innocent nine-year-old girl, Nofisat, had been sexually assaulted by their 30-year-old neighbour, Ikechukwu Obasi, while she was in the market.
“He has fled his apartment since the incident. But I just want him to face justice and get punishment for what he did to my daughter,” she said.
“I have never thought that the man could do that to my daughter. He was such a friendly person in our compound. All I know about him is that he is a ‘Yahoo-Yahoo guy’ (a description for young men who specialise in internet fraud).
According to Bilikis, she was in the market when her daughter came crying, and told her the story about how their neighbour took advantage of her at their 83, Aina Street, Pako Aguda home, in Surulere, Lagos.
Nofisat, a quiet and shy girl, whose eyes showed the painful memory of the experience she had gone through, said she did not suspect anything when Ikechukwu came into the room where she was reading in their apartment and gave her a N1,000 note to go and buy food for him.
She said, “I bought the food and took it to him. But because the food vendor did not give me back N850 change, he said I should go back and collect it. When I brought the change back to him, he locked the door.
“He then used a cloth to cover my mouth and I could not shout. He then carried me to the bed and did it. When he finished and I was bleeding, he said I should not tell anybody.”
Later that afternoon, the girl narrated what Ikechukwu did to her to another resident of the compound, who spotted her crying in front of Ikechukwu’s room.
The neighbour told her to go and report the incident to her mother in the market.
But by the time they got back, Ikechukwu had locked his room and fled. He has not been seen since then.
Ikechukwu’s phone number has not been available as well.
Ikechukwu’s Facebook page states that he attended the University of Lagos and studied Psychology even though this could not be verified as a result of the fact that he did not state when he graduated.
The case was reported at the Aguda Police Division, Surulere, but the police said they had been unable to take any action because the culprit had fled.
However, Ikechukwu’s family had approached Nofisat’s family, pleading to pay monetary compensation to settle the matter.
“How can they tell me they want to pay N40,000 so that I would forget my daughter was raped? All I want is justice for my daughter. They have refused to produce the man,” Nofisat’s mother said.
The investigating police officer in charge of the case explained that he was still on the trail of Ikechukwu.
“We cannot refer to the case as a rape, it is defilement. But in the meantime, the two families are trying to settle. I have asked the family of the victim to come to my office but they have not come,” the IPO, who pleaded anonymity, said.
Child Rights Activist, Mrs. Esther Ogwu, has called upon the police to do more than just tell the family of the suspect to produce him.
She said, “The police should do a thorough job of tracking down the young man. Who knows the kind of fetish thing he might have done to the girl?
“This is a lesson to parents to be wary of neighbours they leave their children alone with.”