A suspected rapist, identified only as Tomiwa, akaTommy, has escaped from the custody of the Sango-Ota Police Division, Ogun State.
The whereabouts of the suspected rapist, who was said to have escaped from the police custody on March 12, was still unknown as of Thursday, April 7.
Tomiwa and his gang members were reportedly notorious for rape and stealing in the Igbala Community of Sango-Ota.
PUNCH Metro learnt that Tomiwa, who had been on the run after he and his members gang-raped a girl in the area, was brought to the station by some youths on March 12.
He was said to have escaped from the police station on the same day while he was being taken to a cell.
Our correspondent, however, gathered that Tomiwa’s accomplices – Dekunle Lawal, Wale Alore, Sunday Salako, Peters Apata, Oyetunde Tolulope and one Ojere – were with the police, while one Rafiu and Umoru were at large.
A resident of the community, who did not want his name in print for fear of being hunted, said some policemen at the divison had frustrated efforts to rid the area of miscreants by releasing suspects whenever they were arrested.
He said, “The gang usually ambushed residents going to work at 5am, snatched their bags and raped them. A lot of girls have moved out of this community. We have arrested the suspects more than seven times and took them to the station, but the officers would collect money and release them.
“They are so confident that whenever we threaten them with police, they will say they will come back if they are arrested. They have been threatening our lives. Three weeks ago, they waylaid another 18-year-old girl while returning from work in the evening and raped her. We took Dekunle (Lawal), Tomiwa and Owolabi to the station two weeks ago as regards the incident. Tomiwa fled the station, while the two others were later released.”
It was learnt that the Area Commander of the Sango Area Command ordered that the miscreants be rearrested after the community petitioned the state Commissioner of Police, Abdulmajid Ali.
The petition, signed by a community elder, Pastor Ajayi Ibikunle, read in part, “They (suspects) always challenge ladies residing in the community and visitors coming into and going out of the community without any cause, be it early in the morning when people are going to work or at night when people are coming back from work.
“They snatch bags, rob people of their valuables and at the same time they rape ladies. These young men have gangs around the Alishiba, School 3 and Joju areas. They smoke and sell hemps.”
A victim, Joy, said she was returning home from a factory, where she worked when the gang attacked her. She said they collected her phone and salary before three of them took turns to rape her.
She said a policewoman assigned to investigate the case at the division demanded N20,000, adding that she let go of the case when she was insulted by the officer.
She said, “The IPO was one Martinda, and she told me to report back whenever I saw those guys. Around 1pm one day, I rushed back to the station and informed her, but she told us to raise N20,000 for their arrest.
“We later met with some other policemen there and they collected N2,000 after much pleading. We left the station around 3pm, but by the time we got to where I saw them, they had fled. I had forgone the matter until yesterday (Wednesday) when some of the men that raped me were arrested.”
A youth leader in the community, who spoke on condition of anonymity, urged the police to ensure that the suspects were prosecuted and the fleeing members arrested.
He said, “I want the police to charge them to court and ensure that they are duly prosecuted. They have been influencing younger ones negatively.”
The Ogun State Police Command Public Relations Officer, DSP Muyiwa Adejobi, said the suspects would be transferred to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the command for further investigation and assured the residents that the community would be “sanitised.”
He said, “The suspects were arrested for different offences, including rape, stealing and breach of the peace. But no suspect escaped from the station. The residents should rest assured that the community and others would be sanitised from hoodlums terrorising the areas. The suspects will be charged to court after investigation.”
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