The Police Command in Akwa Ibom has arrested a pastor and 11 others over cases of alleged rape and defilement in the state.
The Commissioner of Police, CP Imohimi Edgal, disclosed this during a press conference in Uyo on Wednesday.
Edgal said that the 33-year-old ‘pastor’ repeatedly raped a 15-year-old girl at his deliverance centre.
The pastor, who lives with eight other girls aged 13 to 16 years, according to the CP also attempted to rape a 21-year-old woman.
Edgal said that another suspect, 30, an indigene of Uko Nteghe in Mbo Local Government Area, also allegedly raped a 28 year old lady at gunpoint and robbed her of two phones valued at N51,000 and N32,000.
According to the CP, men of the command also arrested a native of Ekpene Obo, Esit Eket LGA, who allegedly repeatedly raped his 16 year old daughter, forcing her to abscond from the house.
He said that the father later persuaded his daughter to return home with a promise not to sexually assault her again, but continued raping the victim after she had returned home.
“This press briefing aims at showcasing an appreciable milestone in the fight against rape, defilement and other gender based violence.
“The Police Command has arrested another pastor and 11 others for rape and defilement.
“Following a complaint on June 18, operatives of SCIID, Uyo, arrested one pastor aged 33 years old of Nung Atim Road, Off Idoro Road, Uyo, for attempting to rape a 21-year-old girl.
“Investigation further revealed that the said pastor, who lives with eight other girls between the ages of 13 years and 16 years in his so-called deliverance centre at the said address, severally had unlawful carnal knowledge of one of the minors who is 15 year’s old.
“On June 22, operatives of Oron Division apprehended a 30–yea-old man 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-year-old lady at gunpoint.
“Following a tip-off, operatives of ‘C’ Division apprehended a 29-year-old man of No. 35, Abak Road, Uyo, who repeatedly defiled his 14-year-old daughter,” Edgal said.
The commissioner of police urged parents and guardians to be more careful to whom they entrust their children to.
According to him, some of the minors were sexually violated by their spiritual fathers or persons in authority in the course of hawking.
He warned that any parent whose child or ward was found hawking and was within the stipulated age in the Child’s Rights Act, would be arrested and prosecuted and if found liable, risks 10 years imprisonment as prescribed by the law.
Edgal urged parents and victims not to be dissuaded by stigmatization or threats from reporting Gender Based Violence and other sexual related offences to the police.
He promised that the Command would ensure justice and the needed protection, medical attention, psychological counseling, and other supports necessary for the victims.
He said that a Family Support unit desk has been established in every Police station in Akwa Ibom to handle cases of rape and gender based violence.
He said that all the suspects would be charged to court after investigation.