The defilement of a four-year-old girl by a 17-year-old is ample indication that depravity in the country has reached an unacceptable level. Even on a small scale, adults defiling small girls or minors is a bad case let alone when the moral aberration has assumed a daily trend with no shortage of such stories in the local media. It is worrying that the story under review unsurprisingly found airtime in a BBC news bulletin. We are afraid that we are on the verge of being classified among countries with unenviable rape and defilement statistics.
For the umpteenth time we have commented on the rate of depravity in the country each of the commentaries prompted by the latest bout of rape or defilement in a part of the country.
While some of the cases are reported to the law enforcement agencies and therefore find space in the media, others go unannounced because of the stigma victims tend to suffer as a result. Interferences from opinion leaders or even influential personalities in towns or neighbourhoods are also responsible for some cases not making it to the Police Stations – the defilement of the four-year-old being a case in point.
In the case of the forgone, a chief is said to have claimed that the gods had absolved the suspect. It was painful to digest the piece of nonsense from a traditional ruler who would in this day and age think he can get away with such serious aberration.
It would appear that laxity which appeared to have been noticed in the chain could have been triggered by the interference of the chief. We have said time without number that law enforcement officers must be able to do their work by disregarding such interferences from both chiefs and politicians.
When we have the laws of the land standing upright without other persons by virtue of their exalted positions in society undermining them, such depravities would be reduced to the barest minimum.
So many days after the crime was committed and justice delayed because the police did not put in the necessary effort is unacceptable under any circumstance.
As we compose this commentary we have learnt that the suspect has eventually been arrested and being held to assist in investigations. We ask that his correct age is ascertained so that his relatives do not confuse the courts with a fictitious age as happens when suspects’ ages fall within the threshold of adulthood.
We are worried at the thought that some cases can only attract the level of seriousness we are now witnessing in the case under the review only when they find media space or airtime.
That should not be the case. All cases must be subjected to the dictates of the law; media involvement notwithstanding.
We are nonetheless pleased that the IGP has stepped in suggesting the seriousness he attaches to a case which was slowing down in terms of police action. The invitation to the Divisional Commander by his superior to come and answer some queries is in order. We do hope that justice would not be delayed now that the subject has become a national affair or even international one with a possible BBC follow-up.