When the man she had always called Uncle Joe, invited her to his room, four-year-old Ngozi was not worried.
They lived in the same compound at 38, Eletu Edibu Street, Abule Ijesha, Yaba, Lagos and he was always nice to her and other children, buying them sweets or biscuits whenever he was around from his security job at the University of Lagos.
So, when Uncle Joe asked Ngozi to come into his room on Sunday, August 26, 2012, there was nothing unusual about it
Typical of most four-year-olds, she looked forward to a treat of probably, biscuits or sweets or soft drinks from Uncle Joe.
When she went in, he gave her a bottle of soft drink quite all right but heartlessly, also had unlawful carnal knowledge of her and robbed the little girl, not much more than a baby, of her virginity.
Following the little girl’s disclosure of what he did to her, first to her parents, Innocent and Benedicta Akanugwo and to doctors at Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, (LASUTECH) Ikeja, ‘Uncle’ Joe Ishanq has gone missing and the police are looking for him.
The girl’s distressed father, Innocent, told The Guardian that his daughter took him by surprise when she came to him and kept repeating: ‘Daddy, Daddy, Uncle Joe took me to his room, bought me Pepsi, put cream on his bom-bom and my bom-bom, and put his bom-bom into my bom-bom.’
“I knew something had gone wrong with my daughter and I became confused. I didn’t know what action to take or who to consult for advice”.
He said he took his daughter to three women who were their neighbours and before whom the little girl repeated what she had told him, that ‘Uncle Joe took me to his room, bought me Pepsi, put cream on his bom-bom and my bom-bom, and put his bom-bom into my bom-bom’.
“After the women confirmed that my daughter had been sexually assaulted, I was advised to also confirm from the hospital before proceeding to the police station to avoid false accusation,” he said.
He said he reported the sexual abuse of his daughter to Yaba Divisional Police Station, but not before the suspect, Ishanq had run away.
“ The Police have not been able to arrest him but he has not shown up at his apartment or at his place of work since the day he assaulted my daughter.
“Each time police officers get there, his colleagues hide him or protect his identity, he told The Guardian
He said findings from three private hospitals showed the little girl was raped even before police referred them to Lagos State University Teaching Hospital for comprehensive confirmation.
Little Ngozi’s mother, Benedicta, said people like the suspect “should not be living among human beings.”
She told The Guardian it was when what happened to their daughter came to light that they heard that Joe Ishanq had, in the past, been accused of several rape cases and that his wife ran away with their six-month-old baby because of that.
She said: “Though we know that nothing can revert the damage done to our daughter, we want the culprit brought to book and stopped from further committing such evil act.”
She noted that there were other similar cases of rape of little girls and minors by adults the day they went for confirmatory test of their daughter at LASUTH’
“Such cases need thorough investigation so that the culprits are made to face the law”, she said.
The Lagos State Government, recently put cases of rape committed in 2011 in the state at 283, out of which 11 suspects were prosecuted and convicted.
The Special Adviser on Youth Social Development, Dr. Dolapo Badru, who called for collateral action against rape said one of the cases, involved a father who impregnated his daughter and was prosecuted and convicted.
He expressed profound concern of the state government to bring the trend to the barest minimum, assuring residents of commitment to fight the crime.