The Akwa Ibom State Police commissioner, CP Imohimi Edgal had threatened to arrest and prosecute parents or guardians who engage their wards in street hawking.
He said the decision was taken following the spike in reported cases of rape and defilement in the State noting that some of the minors were sexually violated by their so-called spiritual fathers or persons in authority in the course of hawking.
In a press conference held at the command headquarters, Ikot Akpanabia on Wednesday, CP Edgal said the command would invoke the provision in section 30 (2C) of the Child’s Rights Act which prohibits the hiring of children for hawking and also prescribes a punishment upon conviction of up to 10 years in prison in section 30(3).
“The Command warns that any parent or guardian whose child or ward is sent out to hawk will be arrested and prosecuted in line with the provision of section 30 (2C) of the Child’s Rights Act which prohibits the hiring of children for hawking and also prescribes a punishment upon conviction for 10 years imprisonment in section 30(3).” The Statement read.
He added, ”the Command is not only poised to ensure justice but will also ensure that the victims will be given the needed protection, medical attention, psychological counselling, and other supports necessary for their wellbeing.”
He, therefore, enjoined residents of the State to report cases of rape and gender-based violence to the police.
Also, the Commissioner said the command arrested one pastor Inimfon Eyo Inyang for attempted rape of a 21-year-old girl.
He said investigations revealed that the said Pastor lived with eight ( other girls between the ages of 13yrs and 16yrs in his deliverance centre where he severally had unlawful carnal knowledge of one of the minors who is 15 years old.
The Statement reads in parts, “Consequent upon a distress call on 22/06/2020, Operatives of Oron Division apprehended one Emmanuel Okon Otu ‘m’, aged 30yrs old of Uko Nteghe, Mbo L.G.A. The suspect invaded a residence at No. 4 Secretariat Road, Oron at about 1:30am of the said date, where he had an unlawful carnal knowledge of a 28-yr-old lady at gunpoint, and thereafter robbed the victim of her Techno Spark 4 phone valued forty-two thousand naira (N42,000.00), one itel phone valued nine thousand naira (N9,000.00), one big towel valued five thousand naira (N5,000.00) and the sum of thirty-two thousand naira (N32,000.00).
“On 21/06/2020 at about 3:30pm, Operatives of Esit Eket Division arrested one Ime Sunday ‘m’ of Ekpene Obo, Esit Eket L.G.A. Investigation revealed that the suspect in November 2019 repeatedly raped his 16-yr-old daughter which culminated in her escaping from her father’s home to her friend’s abode in Etinan L.G.A. However, the father of the victim who persuaded her to return back home with the promise that she would no longer be sexually violated continued in the same act after she returned home.”
CP Edgal said on 13/6/2020 Operatives of ‘C’ Division arrested one Sampson Ndiana-Abasi ‘m’. Investigation revealed that the suspect conspired with one Blessed to gang rape an 11-year-old victim
He said one Gospel Timothy ‘m’ of Atai Essien, allegedly raped a 21-yr-old girl. Investigation revealed that the mother of the victim sent her on an errand, but she was waylaid by the suspect and forcefully taken to his house where he forcefully had unlawfully carnal knowledge of the victim.
“following a reliable intelligence on 9/06/2020 at about 5:00pm, Operatives of Nsit Atai Division apprehended one Udo Ekong Esau ‘m’, aged 55yrs old of Odot 1, Nsit Atai L.G.A. Investigation revealed that a 16-yr-old girl who took refuge in the suspect’s house since November 2019 due to mistreatment by her mother was defiled and impregnated by the suspect,” Edgal said.
He said following a tip-off on 21/06/2020 at about 1:00pm, Operatives of ‘A’ Division apprehended one Sunday Otema ‘m’ of Nelson Mandela Street, Uyo. Investigation revealed that the suspect lured a 10-yr-old girl to a bush and had unlawful carnal knowledge of her.