Twelve-year-old Juliet (not real name), was bent over, unable to walk straight as she was taken to the Mirabel Sexual Assault Referral Centre, Ikeja, Lagos on Wednesday.
She would occasionally hold her lower abdomen and grimace when she thought no one was looking.
Officials of the Child Protection Network said her situation was worse than that when she was first found, barely 24 hours after she was gang-raped at the Ojuwoye, Mushin area of Lagos by three men in the neighbourhood.
It was difficult for officials to get preliminary information out of her as her health had deteriorated.
But when Juliet finally opened up, she told her rescuers how the men who raped her were allegedly aided by a woman, she took as a mother.
The girl, who lived with her grandmother in Mushin following the death of her mother, said she would sometimes go to the shop of her mother’s closest friend.
The woman in question is a vendor of alcoholic herbal drink in the neighbourhood called Mrs. Salawa.
“I went to her house sometimes to play. On Wednesday, I was there when the three boys came. They bought drinks from her and drank it there. When they finished, they dragged me inside her shop. When I was struggling with them, she helped them to push me inside. Then they locked the door,” the girl said.
According to Juliet, as she screamed, she had hoped that the woman would come to her aid.
“She did not do anything and when they finished, they gave me N4,000 and opened the door. After they left, she collected the N4,000 from me,” Juliet said.
The girl said the next few hours would become a living hell for her as she started bleeding heavily. Then, she could no longer stand on her feet.
Saturday PUNCH learnt that the woman panicked as she would later called one of the alleged rapist, who took the girl to the hospital, where they reportedly paid N20,000 for the girl’s treatment.
But despite the treatment at the clinic she was rushed to, Juliet was not out of the woods yet. She continued to be in pain, until a resident of her neighbourhood, who had heard of what happened, alerted a non-governmental organisation, who reported the matter to the CPN.
The Coordinator of CPN for Oshodi and Isolo Local Government areas of Lagos, Mr. Ebenezer Omejalile, told Saturday PUNCH that the case was later reported at the Alakara Police Station, Mushin.
He said, “We directed that the child be taken to the Mirabel Sexual Assault Referral Centre, Ikeja for immediate consultation but when tests were carried out on her, it was discovered that her case was worse than expected.
“They discovered she was bleeding internally and had to be admitted at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital for intensive care.”
Saturday PUNCH learnt that one of the alleged rapists has been arrested.
However, as Juliet stabilised in the hospital, she gained the strength to reveal more information about her plight in the neighbourhood. She revealed that she had been a victim of several sexual assaults in the past.
Omejalile said, “We believe the girl has so much to tell us about what she has been going through. She said that four months ago, she was gang-raped by four men in the same Mushin. She does not know their names. The case was never investigated because nobody made any report about it.
“She has also revealed that an elderly man, whom she identified simply as Jimoh had been raping her long before the two cases of gang-rape.”
On Friday, a more dire diagnosis came from the hospital; a doctor said she required a surgery if she were to survive.
The police said the investigation was still at an early stage and that efforts were being made to visit the victim and get a full statement from her that would enable them to effect the arrests of those she had mentioned as having to do with the assault.
“The investigators at the Department of Criminal Investigation, Panti, are working with the organisation handling the case so they can visit the hospital and speak with the girl,” the spokesperson for the Lagos State Police Command, Mr. Chike Oti, said.