Inspector Sola Samuel left his duty post, a federal legislator’s house, around 11:30 pm. His wife had called to inform him she would be spending the night with her ailing mother at her sister’s place. The police inspector went home with his rifle. He would use it to drive some chills into Funbi, his 15 year-old step-daughter.
With a gun on the table, Funbi hurriedly obeyed all of Samuel’s orders. She undressed. He undressed too: his shirt, trousers and now his pants. And then, as if possessed by a honey badger, Funbi raised an alarm. Someone threw a foot at the door and it flung open. It was Funbi’s mother. Her sister stood behind her. This was what she meant when she said they needed to hold him on the wrist.The incident of rape wasn’t the first.
The day Inspector Samuel first raped Funbi, he had banged the gate of Mrs Precious Mobolanle, her mother’s friend, waking up everyone in the house. He requested the girl to help him look for something. Mobolanle then told Funbi to go with him and return quickly. She had been responsible for the teen since her mother went to the hospital. When Funbi’s mother was going to the hospital where her own sick mother had been admitted, she had asked her daughter to stay in her friend’s house.
The one-bedroom apartment Inspector Samuel had been sharing with Funbi’s mother was just a little distance from Mobolanle’s house. He told Funbi to check the bedroom, but there were no chances what he was looking for could be there. Before she left, Funbi’s mother gave her instructions to prepare Samuel’s food every day. Funbi would leave Mobolanle’s house early in the morning, prepare breakfast and drop her stepdad’s portion at his duty post on her way to school. It was the plastic bowl in which she dished his food in the morning that Samuel said he was looking for.
Since Funbi would not check the bedroom, Sola ordered her to stop the search and go take her bath. Didn’t she know she needed a shower for a good night rest? After a few moments of hesitation, Funbi obliged the man she had come to know as ‘my daddy.’ And while she was taking off her clothes, Samuel lifted her from behind and threw her on the bed. He was going to have sex with her, and if she resisted, he would kill her with this rifle, this police rifle.
While speaking with FIJ, Adura Abosede, Funbi’s mother, said she met the over-60-year-old police officer during the COVID-19 lockdown. The burden of her only daughter had been hers alone, and she had borne it for over 13 years. Funbi’s father left when their child was less than two. The little winnings she got from her hairdressing venture went into feeding and rent, and she got loans to keep her daughter in school. So, Samuel’s marriage proposal was tempting at the time. At the very least, he would help take care of Funbi, who was growing older and with more pressing financial needs.
That night, Inspector Samuel locked Funbi in the house and went back to his duty post. It was during the junior WAEC examination, and Funbi who had a paper to write had fully prepared for school when he returned the following morning. He drove her to school in his Toyota Camry 2.2, all along reminding her of yesterday’s deal. If she told anyone that he raped her, he would kill her, her mother and whoever she told.
It took the sensitivity of Funbi’s mother’s sister to unearth the secret. She felt something was wrong with the way the 15-year-old related with her stepfather. Sometimes she snapped, other times she called him names. Funbi’s mother once pounced on her daughter, beating her blue black for disrespecting her husband. When she eventually learnt of her daughter’s experience, she was ready to squeeze the Inspector. But her sister advised some restraints. What if he denied? What if he meant his threats? They needed a plan to hold him on the wrist.
The neighbours, alerted by Funbi’s shout, had gathered. It was in their presence that Samuel wore his pants, entered his car clothes-in-hand and drove off. They saw his back splotched with blood from the wound Funbi’s mother had just used her teeth to inscribe. One of the neighbours, Joseph Fola, drove the girl and her mother to the Lugbe Divisional Police Station at about 12:30am. In her statement, Funbi’s mother told the police how her husband almost raped her daughter the second time.
Funbi’s mother left the police station at 5am, after the police promised to do justice to her daughter’s case. But she would return two days later to tell the same police officers that the rapist had been roaming the streets freely. There and then one of the officers told Samuel on phone that his attention was needed. “Attention needed? What happened to bundling him into the back of a police truck like the criminal that he was?” Funbi’s mother thought. More infuriating, however, was Samuels’ explanation, for which one of the officers listening to him slapped him across the face. He said Funbi was the one who tried to rape him. She was the one who took off his clothes and trousers. She wanted to have sex with him, that young girl, either he liked it or not.
The police detained Samuel and ordered that a series of tests be conducted on the victim. At the Abuja Municipal Area Council Hospital popularly called AMAC, a nurse revealed that Funbi had an infection. Mucus was coming out of her private parts. The test results were handed over to the female IPO who went to the hospital with the victim and her mother. She fumed. The DPO, a woman, also fumed. Inspector Samuel was going to court. One of his friends, a female inspector, told Funbi’s mother that Samuel had once dipped his finger in the private parts of her seven-year-old, and that her older daughter slapped him in the face when he tried to rape her. The same woman, however, would advise Funbi’s mother to withdraw the case from the police station and not let it get to court.
“She said I should have mercy on him,” Funbi’s mother told FIJ. “Many of his police friends also pleaded with me. They said jailing him would not return my daughter’s hymen.”
Samuel sent words from the police cell. He had been detained for over a week now. He said he would give Funbi’s mother N200,000 to treat her infected daughter. But when Funbi’s mother insisted the case would go to court, the pleas hardened into threats. If their son ended up in jail, Funbi’s mother, her daughter, and all her family members would pay with their lives, Samuel’s relatives warned. The unschooled woman was becoming jittery, and then finally she got a call from the man her husband worked for, Hon. Innocent Oguche. He promised to give her enough money to purge her daughter of whatever infection, but she had to release her husband, his security aide, first.
Back at the police station, officers said the initial statement would have to change to perfect Samuel’s release. They brought a written document and asked Funbi and her mother to sign. That was the new statement. It didn’t matter that the signees had no idea what was in it.
Inspector Sola became a free man again.
The legislator said Funbi’s mother had done well and then he stopped picking her calls. Samuel refused to fulfill his promise to foot Funbi’s treatment, and when her wife said she would revisit the case, he dared her to make an attempt. Officers at the Lugbe Divisional Police Station also threatened to turn the case against her if she wouldn’t let the sleeping dog lie. Her husband’s female inspector-friend said she would so deal with her if she took a step. The DPO asked her to either shut up or see her consuming side. And then calls started meeting calls on her phone, of people who said her life, and that of her daughter, was just a passing time. They would kill her. They would kill her daughter.
“At that point, I advised her to flee,” the neighbour who first took her to the police station said. “She had to leave Abuja or she might be killed.”
Funbi’s mother was already in her Kogi State village with her daughter when she narrated their ordeal to FIJ. She had been there for over two months.
“It has not been any easy to survive, here,” she said in Yoruba. “I struggle to feed my daughter who has not been to school since we fled Abuja. My shop and only source of income has been under lock and key.”
Inspector Samuel refused to speak with FIJ when a call was put across to him. An SMS sent to his phone was also not replied.
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