by Temitope Onitiju
A 16-year-old secondary school student, Gloria, has accused an uncle whom she lived with for years, of constantly raping her and eventually getting her pregnant.
Gloria, who now lives with her brother, recently gave birth to a baby on 30 September 2014.
After Gloria’s brother, Obi, had tried in vain to get from her the identity of the father of her child, a neighbour who’s also a family friend of theirs, eventually got the girl to tell the truth, and the revelation was least expected by Obi.
Apparently, Obi brought Gloria to Lagos seven years ago from their village in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, it was with the aim of giving her an opportunity to have a more decent life in Lagos, especially after the death of their mother and the financial problems of the father.
Obi said she was initially living with him and some of his friends, and due to the tough nature of things, his friend from Anambra State, a trader living in Mangoro area of Lagos, Ugochukwu Okparanta, offered to take over the care of Gloria to ease the financial burden of Obi, saying that the girl would help his wife with house chores.
But according to Gloria, she did a lot more than house chores for the Okparanta household. She revealed how he raped her repetedly to Punch. Below is her account of events:
“I was nine when I started living with Uncle (Okparanta). But two years after I got there, he started raping me,” Gloria began. “He started one day when I was washing plates and he started to touch me in the private part and breast. He started by petting me, telling me I would like it. I refused and became afraid. Then he threatened me. He would tell me that I would be in trouble if I did not do what he wanted. If I told Madam (Okparanta’s wife), she would say I lied against her husband.”
Gloria said one night, while Madam slept in the couple’s room, Okparanta sneaked out to the room Gloria shared with his own daughter, an older girl.
She said, “He told me to follow him to the sitting room. I obeyed. He raped me and while he did it, I was about to scream, but he covered my mouth with his hand very tightly. I was bleeding when he finished and I became more scared but he smiled and said the blood was normal. After that, he would rape me almost every night. Madam did not know anything.
“Anytime I refused, Uncle would threaten to deal with me. There was a day I refused and when I greeted him the following day, he did not answer me. He reported me to his wife that I had become pompous in his house and that I no longer greeted him.”
According to the girl, the sexual abuse continued for four years until 2013 when his brother got married and brought her back to help around the house. However, in January 2014, Okparanta’s wife suffered a miscarriage and Gloria was sent back to the house to help out.
“His wife had just had a miscarriage and I was sent to go and help her for a few days. But in the afternoon, when his children had gone to school, he dragged me to his children’s room and raped me.”
Meanwhile, her brother said he never imagined that Okparanta could defile his sister, adding that even when she was pregnant, there were no telling signs on her body.
He said, “I did not know in my wildest dream that the man I see as my friend would do such a terrible thing to my sister. She is one of those people who could be pregnant and her flat tummy would not make anyone suspicious. I thought that if she was pregnant, it would be in early stages and could be aborted. I had no idea that she would deliver in a few days,” the neighbour told our correspondent.”
On the day of her delivery, she was in labour for hours in her room and thought she was having a stomach ache. She only screamed when her water broke.
However, when Okparanta was confronted by Gloria’s brother and relatives, he initially denied raping her. Obi said, “He later admitted that he slept with her only once.”
Okparanta, in his defence says he only raped her once, and that she seduced him into sleeping with her.
“It is a lie that I started sleeping with her since she was 11. Even last year, I did not sleep with her,” Yes, I gave her brother a cheque because they were accusing me that I was responsible. I only slept with her once in January and she was not a virgin at the time. That was the last time I did it. I was not the first person to sleep with her.”
“I am not the one that deflowered her.I was sleeping in the sitting room at the time. I just felt someone touching me. I just did not know how I slept with her after that. I hated her since then. I did not know what came over me that made me sleep with her. I told his brother after the incident that he should take her to a church for deliverance.”
“I just hated the girl and felt she should not have made me to do such a bad thing. I am currently discussing with the family to see how we can take care of the baby if indeed I am responsible.”