The rape of a schoolgirl in Ilesa (Guardian Editorial)

This is Osun State Politics:

THE recent report of the abduction and rape of a young schoolgirl by suspected thugs of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ilesa, Osun State, conveys the extent of barbarism and criminality that characterises partisan politics in our land. The young girl was reportedly ravaged by a gang of party thugs. The act is condemnable. Weeks after the incident, it is scandalous that nothing has been done to bring the assailants to book.

The victim, Miss Tosin Ajakaye, a senior secondary school student, apparently a relation of a supporter of the Action Congress (AC), was allegedly abducted and raped in the course of her ordeal because she refused to give false evidence against an opponent of the incumbent PDP government in the state. The girl and other members of the AC in Ilesa were abducted and allegedly taken to the house of a certain PDP chieftain where they were severely tortured and brutalised.

According to Miss Ajakaye who narrated her horrible ordeal to the police on her sickbed at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), where she was being treated, a member of the PDP in Ilesa forcefully entered her residence located in the Isokun area and gagged her. The man subsequently subjected her to torture and rape. She said she could neither resist nor shout because the rapist completely overpowered her.

After debasing her, he blew a whistle and his accomplices emerged from their hideout around the residence and quickly bundled her into a waiting vehicle outside the house. She was then taken to the residence of a PDP chieftain where she met three other AC members who were said to have been tied to the stakes!

 There and then she was stripped naked and her pubic hairs forcefully shaved and forced down her throat. She said that the psychopaths made jest of her and poured dry gin into her private part. When she attempted to shout, they were infuriated and decided to poke her private part with sticks and broken bottle while laughing her to scorn. She said she was released the following day.

There is no doubt that the act as narrated by the victim is odious, shocking and horrifying. It amounts to pathological sadism for supposed human beings to conduct themselves in such savage manner. Certainly, the girl has been traumatised for life and only a methodically administered psychological counseling process would help her recover from the trauma.

When the incident occurred, the State police command quickly swung into action to apprehend the culprits. The police have also declared five other suspects now on the run wanted. We call on the police to spread its dragnet to apprehend all the fleeing rapists. The so-called PDP chieftain in whose house the act was perpetrated should also be arrested and tried.

A situation where party stalwarts run a private police and cells in their homes where their opponents are tortured is detestable. The practice makes nonsense of the principle of democracy and the rule of law. The police should pay extra attention to the activities of party stalwarts and take decisive steps to curtail their excesses.

It is scandalous that PDP supporters are being accused of perpetrating the nefarious act. The PDP supporters in Osun State are apparently taking the laws into their own hands. But this is not really politics; it is madness. The political conflict in Osun State has clearly become dangerous. Life has become brutish in the face of intolerance and bitterness. People are afraid to hold contrary political opinion.

Since the April general elections, Osun State has been turned into a theatre of brigandage. Lives have been lost and property worth millions of naira destroyed. Killing, assassinations and arson have become the order of the day. The situation is unending and is getting out of hand.

The various political parties should call their members to order. The state will not develop in the face of unending political feud. The destruction in the state so far should prick the conscience of all the players so that peace can be given a chance.

 Culled from the Guardian Editorial on Saturday October 27 2007.