At last the Nigerian Police Force has responded to public outcry as it has instituted a criminal case against the Kogi State Commissioner for Water Resources, Abdulmumuni Danga, at a Federal High Court in Abuja on a seven-count charge of rape and brutality.
This was happening agaisnt the background that the commissioner allegedly assaulted one Elizabeth Oyeniyi earlier this year.
Recall that Civil Society organisations and Human Rights groups had continued to mount pressure the police top hierarchy to launch a thorough investigation into the allegations.
The Police however responded with a directive ordering Mr Danga to appear in the police headquarters in Abuja on June 2 and July 5 for interrogation, where he made statements on the two visits.
At the new twist, the Commissioner was charged on seven counts, bothering on rape, brutality, coercion and torture at the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja Judicial Division.
According to a charge sheet signed by ACP Effiong Asuquo, Esq, Prosecuting Counsel for the police, the case which was filed on September 4, 2020 would be prosecuted by the police on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Danga would be arraigned alongside one Success Omadivi, 35, who was also found culpable in the course of investigation.
The offences leveled against Mr Danga include falsification of documents and threatening medical officer to forge test result, having carnal knowledge of Ms Onyeniyi without her consent, inflicting physical injury and torture by flogging. All the offences are contrary to multiple sections of the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act, 2015.
The charge sheet reads in parts: “That you ABDULMUMI_JNI DANGA ‘M’ with other persons now at large; on or about the 29th day of March, 2020 at Lokoja; within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did falsify an audio recording purporting same to be the audio of Dr. Chinonyerem Welle, Medical Director, Police Hospital, Area 1, Garki, Abuja saying that she issued medical report for the rape and assault of Elizabeth Onyeniyi ‘F’ unlawfully; and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 7 of the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act, 2015.
“That you ABDULMUMINI DANGA ‘M’, SUCCESS OMADIVI ‘F’ with other persons now at large; on or about the 29th day of March, 2020 at Lokoja; within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did falsify an audio recording purporting same to be a lady talking to another female saying that Elizabeth Onyeniyi ‘F’ confessed to her that she was not raped by the Defendant, ABDULMUMINI DANGA ‘M’ but that it was Natasha that asked her to say she was raped; and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 7 Of the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act, 2015”.
While justifying the transfer of the case to Abuja, the police officer who conducted the investigation, Amaka Okoh, stated that if the case was tried in Lokoja or anywhere in Kogi State, there was a probability that Ms Oyeniyi and other witnesses could be victimised by Mr Danga, who is a politician.
“That in view of the above security concern, it is desirable that this matter be tried in the Federal Capital Territory High Court, Abuja,” Mrs Okoh said in an affidavit she signed and submitted to the court. Recall that Ms Oyeniyi had accused Mr Danga of brutalising her after he allegedly raped her severally on March 29. She explained further that the commissioner humiliated and raped her severally with a threat to kill her but for the presence of her child. In a swift reaction, the state commissioner for information, Kingsley Fanwo, disclosed that governor Yahaya Bello had ordered an investigation so the truth could be uncovered.
“Accordingly, the Governor has ordered accelerated investigation into the matter and hereby assures both accuser and accused, as well as the general public, that the whole truth will be uncovered and justice served as appropriate.