A painter, Paul Iwapele has been arrested by members of a vigilante group for allegedly defiling his three-year-old stepdaughter in the Ikorodu area of Lagos State.
Iwapele was arrested after being reported to authorities by the victim’s mother, identified only as Kemi, who came to Lagos from Benin Republic some years ago.
Kemi said she became suspicious after observing her child touch Iwapele in a strange way, but when she confronted Iwapele, he denied the allegation. She said:
“I was bathing my daughter when she started telling Iwapele to look at her private parts. I became curious and asked why she would be making such statements to him. She even went ahead to touch him in his private parts and told me that Iwapele usually put his hands in her private parts as well.
“She usually complained of pain when I bathed her and when I checked her private parts, I discovered that they had peeled. She was also running a temperature; she complained of stomach ache and her stomach was swollen.
“When I took her to a hospital, I was told that she would undergo an operation, but I refused to go back because I was scared. I went to meet my pastor and he told me that someone had been sexually molesting my daughter.
“I don’t go out; I am always indoor. So, I don’t know how someone would do such a thing without my knowledge. I asked him, but he denied until we went to a Muslim cleric’s place, where he was challenged until he confessed to the crime.
“I want the government to make him face the full wrath of the law because I have been told that people who sleep with minors do it for ritual purposes.”
While speaking with newsmen, Iwapele confessed to the crime, saying since January 2020, he had had carnal knowledge of the victim four times.
According to him, he stopped when he discovered that her private parts were peeling.
“I have been having sex with her since January and for only four times. I don’t know what used to make me do it; I just know that at midnight it just happens.
“When I discovered that her private parts were peeling, I had to stop and it was around that period that people got to know about it and started beating me.”
The Deputy Commander, Onyabo Vigilante Group, Olanrewaju Olabinjo, said Iwapele also confessed to the crime when his men interrogated him.
He, however, said Iwapele had been handed over to the police for further investigation.
“I was on the field when I received a call from one of my officers that a woman who reported a case of rape was at my office,” he said.
“I rushed down to the office and met the woman. When she explained how everything happened, I told my officers to apprehend the man and during interrogation, he confessed that he perpetrated the crime on four different occasions.
“We have taken them to the Divisional Police Officer. There is a human rights section at the station and some non-governmental organisations will be contacted to take appropriate care of the victim.
“The family of the suspect came to my office for the matter to be settled, but I drove them away because we don’t compromise.”
The state Police Public Relations Officer, Bala Elkana, said the suspect was in custody.
He added that the victim had been taken to the Mirabel Centre of the Lagos State Universty Teaching Hospital, Ikeja, for further tests and treatment.
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