November 10, 2012, will be a red letter day for Mrs. Maureen Anyalebechi, from Umukabi Autonomous Community, in Ngor Okpala Local Government Area, Imo State when she decided to pass the night at the Umuguma Police Station following her inability to locate the residence of her brother in the World Bank area of Owerri West Local Government Area.
Mrs. Anyalebechi had firmly believed that the police station was her safest option as it was already late in the night and she had with her, a seven-month-old baby. That move will be one she’ll later live to regret.
On getting to the station, Mrs. Anyalebechi met Corporal Chigozie Odenigbo who would later turn out to be her rapist and another female police officer. She narrates her ordeal: “When I discovered that it was late to continue searching for my brother’s place, I decided to go to the nearby police station, to beg them to accommodate me for the night because it was already late.
“As I went in there with my baby, I met two police officers, a lady and a young man, and after explaining my situation, the male officer asked me to follow him to one officer’s house, where he claimed mosquitoes would not bite my baby and I thanked him and followed him innocently, but to my greatest surprise, the policeman pounced on me. He hit me from behind and before I knew what was happening, he snatched my baby from me and flung him away. He was holding me by the throat to stop me from shouting for help and started raping me.”
She revealed that upon satisfying his sexual urges, he helped her to her feet and also picked up her baby and took them back to the station. According to the victim, when they came back to the police station, the female officer was alarmed to see that she was dishevelled and asked Corporal Odenigbo for explanations but he denied ever doing anything to her.
Mrs. Anyalebechi said that she had to report the matter to the Divisional Police Officer, when he arrived for duty in the morning, who promptly ordered the arrest and detention of Corporal Odenigbo but was later released. Sensing that the police wanted to cover up the crime, she had to contact a lawyer, who took her to the Imo State Police Commissioner, Bolanta Adisa, last Friday, who summoned the DPO of Umuguma Police Station.
Upon the confirmation of the rape assault on the nursing mother, CP Bolanta ordered the arrest of Corporal Odenigbo, promising that thorough investigation would be carried out.
He said that if found culpable, the policeman will be prosecuted and dismissed from the Force.
Meanwhile, the police spokesman, Mr. Vitalis Onugu, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), said that Corporal Odenigbo will face administrative trial.
It was also gathered that this is not Corporal Odenigbo’s first time of committing rape as he was alleged to have sexually assaulted a female officer some months back.