A chieftain of the All Progressive Congress, APC, Chief Atanoma Odhowo, Augustina (aka Burger) and another person were last Wednesday arrested by men of Delta State Police Command for alleged conspiracy and rape of a 17-year-old girl (name withheld) at Atanowe Farms, Omorose Street, Irri, Isoko South Local Government Area of the state.
According to a close family source, the suspects were arrested at a clinic where the victim was taken for medical attention following a call placed to the police in Oleh Divisional Police headquarters by a man who was working in the vicinity that saw the victim staggered out of the scene of the action.
Narrating her ordeal, the victim, who returned from Lagos with her younger sister three days prior to the date of the alleged incident to spend the holidays with their father, stated that one Augustina (aka Burger) who they just met and chatted with the previous day at a store in the front of their compound, came to their house where they live with their father on 24th of May, 2023 and invited them to follow her to Chief Atanoma’s farm in the ‘guise’ of engaging them for a menial job.
She added that having no reason to suspect any foul play as the said Augustina (aka Burger) claimed to be their ‘aunty’, they followed her.
According to her, “on arrival at the compound where the farm is located, they met the suspect who was eating. He offered to entertain them by asking for their choices of drink and offered them alcoholic drinks (Captain Jack) against their request for Fanta and were prevailed upon by the Augustina (aka Burger) to drink it since their choice was not available, that it was not harmful”.
She stated further that “after the intake of the drink, she became dizzy, weak and the prime suspect offered her a drug which he claimed could cure the dizziness and give her strength. Despite her resistance, she said that the suspect, Chief Atanoma insisted that she takes the ‘antidote’. Meanwhile, her younger sister went out to buy some snacks for her since the victim had complained of hunger amidst her dizzy state.
According to the victim, “as she was getting weaker despite the administered alleged ‘antidote’ Augustina, offered and supported her into an inner room to rest a while, but to her dismay, Augustina closed the door and heard her call the rape suspect, Chief Atanoma who entered the room where she was laid and raped her.
She added that she recognised him as she could still see, despite her dizziness and weakness.
After according to her, she managed to stagger out of the house in a bid find her way out having not seen her younger sister.
Stating her part of the story, the younger sister to the victim simply called Rita, stated that on her arrival from the search for snacks, she could not find her elder sister, the victim and upon her inquiry from the said Augustina (aka Burger) she met inside the house, told her that she do not know her whereabout as her sister has ran away from the house.
According to her, in reaction to the response of the Augustina, she became curious to locate her sister by searching round the vicinity and her sister staggered out from somewhere within the compound, fell on her arms, crying of abdominal pains, that Chief Atanoma raped her and adding that she rushed her immediately to a nearby clinic.
The police in Oleh confirmed that such a case was reported to them in their station, but the matter has been transferred to Police headquarters, Asaba because of the heavy nature of the alleged crime.
When contacted, the spokesperson for the Delta State Police Command, DSP Bright Edafe, said that the DPO will revert.
At the time of filing this report, a dependable source revealed that the suspect, Chief Atanoma and his two accomplices have been released on bail Thursday, June 1, 2023, by the State CID, Asaba, to proceed for settlement by the parties, based on a reported affidavit of withdrawal of the matter signed by the father of the victim, with a reported caveat of return should settlement breaks down.
However, when our reporter spoke with the victim in the presence of her brothers and uncles at their residence along College road, Irri, the victim expressed dissatisfaction with the action of the father who went to swear an affidavit to discontinue the prosecution.
Also, one of the victim’s uncles (name withheld) who spoke with our reporter, expressed dismay at why their brother, the victim’s father, take such a unilateral decision allowing the matter to get to its logical conclusion due to alleged financial inducement.