Two weeks after a 14-year-old girl, identified only as Rosemary, was rescued from the apartment of her alleged lover, 40-year-old Chukwu Nkenna, the teenager has gone missing again in the Agege area of Lagos.
PUNCH Metro learnt that Rosemary, who hails from Jos, Plateau State, had been taken away from Nkenna’s apartment at Obelle Junction, Surulere, on Monday, September 8, by officials of the Lagos State Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation.
Our correspondent gathered that Rosemary, who reportedly came to Lagos State in January 2014, had been in the care of a non-governmental organisation interested in girl education, before she left in December 2014, due to financial challenges.
The teenager was said to have met Nkenna, more commonly known as Kema, in the Surulere area around January 2015. She was reportedly staying in Nkenna’s house, who hails from Delta State.
PUNCH Metro learnt that in July, neighbours reported to the police in Surulere that Rosemary was being $exually abused and was suspected to be pregnant.
It was gathered that the Surulere Police Division on Friday, August 21, arrested Nkenna, for allegedly raping the teenager.
The matter was said to have been transferred to the State Department of Criminal Investigation, Yaba, on Monday, August 24.
The police at SDCI were said to have later released Nkenna, while the victim was asked to seek medical attention.
Our correspondent gathered that Rosemary thereafter went back to Nkenna to continue to stay with him.
The matter was said to have also been brought to the attention of MWAPA, which sent its officials to take the girl from the suspect’s house on September 8.
It was learnt that Rosemary was billed to go to a government rehabilitation centre, but she opted to stay in the Agege area with her uncle.
Our correspondent learnt that on Sunday, October 13, Rosemary reportedly sneaked out of her uncle’s apartment in Agege, and had since not been found.
When our correspondent visited Nkenna’s apartment in Surulere on the trail of the teenager, she was not found. Nkenna was also said to have travelled out of Lagos State, and was unavailable for comment.
Speaking with PUNCH Metro, Rosemary’s uncle, who identified himself simply as Benjamin, said, “When Nkenna was initially arrested by the police and taken to SDCI, the police failed to follow up the matter. They released him, and said we should allow the girl to marry the man since they were both lovers.
“I was not happy with the way they treated that case. When they asked the two of them to go home, she returned to Nkenna’s house until she was taken from the apartment by government officials.
“Days later, she fled, and since that time, we have been looking for her. She called one of my brothers two days ago, but she did not tell us where she was staying. We asumed that she is with the suspect. We do not have Nkenna’s number. So, we cannot reach him.
“We want the state government to arrest Nkenna and bring our daughter back. There was a time that Nkenna called the family with Rosemary’s number, and we asked him to show up, but he refused. We are still looking for her.”
When our correspondent got to MWAPA in Alausa, an official, who confirmed that the ministry was handling the case, said the director of the Child Protection Unit was unavailable for comment.
“The case was reported to the unit by an NGO, and we are working on it. The director is not around to talk on it,” she added.
The Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Joe Offor, said investigation was ongoing on the matter.
He said, “We have the case at the SDCI, and what we are investigating is alleged r*pe. The police do not get involved in cases of relationships and marriages. If the girl is a minor, the police know she cannot give a valid consent.
“The family of the girl should find out where their daughter is, and let the police know so we can a$$ist in recovering her. If the suspect is given an administrative bail, he will come back on the day he is asked to report. If he does not show up, then we know what to do.”