Determined to end violence of all kinds and degree against children, the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Nigeria, Rivers State, Child Protection Network (CPN) alongside 19 Non-Governmental Organisations have partnered to call for the re-arrest of Ifeanyi Maxwell Dike for murder.
Tagged, “Violence against Children Must Stop, Re-Arrest Ifeanyi Dike”, these NGOs and other relevant bodies gathered on August 31 to speak against the incessant, unconscionable and undeserved violence against children with particular reference to the gruesome violence, assault and murder of eight years old Chikamso Victory Ernest Mezuwuba by a relative, Ifeanyi (her father’s brother) for rituals.
The story so far has it that the victim was molested, drugged, raped, mutilated and her remains was disposed of by 23 years old Ifeanyi, an undergraduate from the University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
In a media release the NGOs issued, the suspect was said to have been apprehended by the vigilante group at 1: 20am or thereabouts and handed over to the Okporo Police Division and later transferred to the State C.I.D, Port Harcourt on August 19.
Sadly, FIDA expressed that the Police had claimed that the suspect escaped from its custody after making a confessional statement. “It is so unfortunate that the destiny, future as well as the desires and dreams of young Chikamso and her parents have been intentionally shattered.”
It stated: “The fact remains that children are, indeed, at the mercy of whoever they find themselves with.”
One can only imagine the pain and agony Chikamso would have passed through, in the hands of her killer. Her death goes to show that every day, an innocent child is being abused and /or murdered without any trace to the perpetrators.
With this, CPN maintained: “No! This violence and injustice must stop! Ifeanyi must be found by the Police. Their act of gross negligence cannot be condoled or tolerated. Every Person who violates the law must be prosecuted and punished accordingly. The issuing of a statement urging the public to report any useful information for the re-arrest of Dike for a reward is one way to the re-arrest of the culprit, but should not be solely relied upon or cause the Police to sleep.”
The NGO noted, however, that it is more than two weeks after the untimely death of Chikamso. “And the culprit is still out there without any trace.”
Therefore, they unanimously demand that more proactive measures be adopted for the search of the perpetrator to ensure that the victim and other unknown victims of Ifeanyi get Justice and other dastardly act against children could be prevented.
Now, the Child Rights Law of Rivers State provides for a violence-free life for every child. “We cannot allow these acts of violence against our children to continue. Our hopes and dreams are being truncated with each passing day and the relevant authorities saddled with the task of enforcement and implementation of the laws protecting the children take a lackadaisical approach to it. This is definitely unacceptable. We Demand Justice.”
• We call for a full-time Police protection of the victim’s family and witnesses by the Police. We further call on the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Rivers State to take over the prosecution of the dismissed Police officer.
• We demand an immediate re-arrest of the said Ifeanyi and apprehension of every other Police officer involved in this act. We demand quick action by the Police authorities to redress the awkward attitude of some Police officers in Rivers State who dump national interest for their selfish interest in such unprofessional manner.
• We also call on the Commissioner of Police to create Functional Specialized Children Police Protection Units in all the Divisional Police stations in the State.
• Ifeanyi has violated the Right to life of Chikamso and must be punished. There is no hiding place for him. He must be found.
NGOs involved included: CPN, FIDA, NAWOJ, CEHRD, NBA, AWLA, BEWS Foundation, CADEC, MWAN, Our Lady of Perpetual Help I, AONN, Mother of Good Counsel, LUTHER W, CISHAN, BIG GLO, OLPHI, LWI, Centre for Social/Eco Dev and Care & Dev Centre.