The Nigeria Police Force has frowned at reports that it is shielding the officer who allegedly raped a two-year-old girl, insisting that he had been dismissed from the force.
Anthony Onoja, a police corporal, allegedly raped the toddler at Kabayi, Mararaba in Nasarawa State, a few months ago.
During a Senate plenary, last week, the House expressed disappointment over the inability of the police to provide information on the cause of action it took since the incident was reported.
The Senate also accused the police of failing to charge the suspect to court.
But in a statement on Tuesday, the police said that it found it “rather preposterous,” that Nigerians would insinuate that the Force concealed and condoned Mr. Onoja’s action.
After an orderly room trial – an in-house administrative disciplinary panel – the officer was dismissed on September 13 and charged to court two days later for the offence of rape, under charge sheet No. NSD/77C/2013, the police said.
The police, noting that it was a self-cleansing institution, said it discovered that the Mr. Onoja’s action was unbecoming of a police officer.
“A full scale criminal investigation of the alleged offence of rape was conducted by the Anti-Human Rights Section of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Nasarawa State Police Command,” the police said in a statement signed by Frank Mba, the Police Public Relations Officer.
“The Case Diary was subsequently forwarded to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution, DPP, Nasarawa State Ministry of Justice, for legal advice. Based on the advice of the DPP, Anthony Onoja was charged to High Court 3 in Nasarawa State.
“The prosecution of the ex-Police Corporal is being conducted by the Office of the DPP and is on-going. These facts can be verified by any Nigerian or group who wishes to so do.”
Mr. Mba, a Chief Superintendent of Police, appealed to Nigerians not to use the “singular” misdeed to render a blanket judgment against its officers.
“Without fear of contradiction, the Nigeria Police Force remains one of the most self cleansing institutions in the country and has always disciplined its erring personnel without any prompting from any quarter,” Mr. Mba said.
“While the present Police Administration is determined to pursue the Reformation agenda of the Force, with the objective of bequeathing a People friendly Police for Nigerians, it will be necessary to remind all that this task demands a collective effort.”