A 14-year-old girl, Daniella has narrated how her stepfather, Francis Okezie had been raping her since she was 10, PUNCH reports.
A neighbour had alerted child rights activitists to the plight of the teenage over a suspicious bleeding she once noticed on the girl.
The neighbour was said to have asked Okezie about it but he simply explained it away as nothing.
Her stepfather, lives in a one-bedroomed apartment at Pipeline area of Baruwa, Ipaja with Daniella and his own six-year-old biological daughter, a girl he had with Daniella’s mother. Ms. Udoh resides at Egbeda, both in the suburbs of Lagos.
Daniella who referred to Okezie as her father even though she knew that he was not her biological father.
She said, “My dad started sleeping with me in 2014. The day he started, my mother was not around that day. She was in church during a fasting and prayer programme. I was at home, so I was not in church with her.
“My mother was the one cooking for church members when they break their fast daily. I always told him I did not want to do that and he would leave me sometimes. Other times, he would still force me when I beg him to leave me alone. He said if I told anybody, I would die. I sleep on the bed while my dad and sister sleep on the floor.”
Asked if she thought her father was having the same sexual contact with her younger sister, she said no.
According to her, her mother, an Imo State indigene, has been away from home for about nine months even though she is not separated from her husband and neither are they divorced.
She was said to have left home for her village to take care of her mother.
Daniella said, “I don’t want to stay there anymore; I would like to go and live with my aunt in Ondo State. It is because of my mother that I am still living with him. I was afraid to tell my mother what he was doing.
“He forces me to do it when my mother is not around. If my mother goes out or is playing with her friends outside, he would do it.”
Daniella allegedly got pregnant in September 2016 and she explained that she did not know she was pregnant until her father took her to one Nurse Esther Udoh, whom was later found out to be Udoh, an auxiliary nurse who also works in a hairdressing salon.
Daniella said, “My dad just told me that day that he was taking me to Nurse Esther, who is a member of our church.
“When I got to Nurse Esther’s house, he went inside while I waited outside. When they were done talking, we left. When we got home, my dad gave me three white tablets at once.
“Some days after I took the tablet, we went for a Thursday service and I started having stomach pain. I told my mother about the pain. I told her I wanted to go to the toilet. I did but the pain was still there. Blood started coming out of me. My mother asked what happened and I told her I did not know why I was bleeding. My dad was with us in the church at the time.
“My mother then cleaned up the blood. My dad saw the blood but he did not say anything. Three days after the bleeding started in the church, I was still not feeling fine. He did not tell my mum that he had given me some tablets before. I could not stand up. He then took me back to the nurse’s house. When we got to the nurse’s house, she gave me drip.”
The anonymous neighbour, who reported what was happening in Okezie’s house, noticed Daniella’s bleeding nine months ago but she could not report the case to the authorities.
The neighbour said she blamed herself for keeping quiet every day until she summoned the courage to find child rights activists.
She said she was afraid of being labelled a bad person in case she reported the case and Daniella denied it ever happened.
When Okezie was confronted with the allegations of his step-daughter, he maintained a cool mien, simply shaking his head and denying every word.
“People are carrying these rumours because they don’t understand how my wife could travel for so long and the girls would be living with me. They are wondering if I am having affair with the girl,” he said.
The Esther Child Rights Foundation, which was handling Daniella’s case, said the man fled and that the organisation then started tracking him until he was nabbed in his place of work.
Shortly after Okezie’s arrest, ‘Nurse’ Esther was also apprehended. They were then both transferred to the sexual abuse unit of the Lagos State Police Command Headquarters.
The spokesperson for the Lagos State Police Command, Mr. Olarinde Famous-Cole, who confirmed the case, said that Okezie and Esther had been charged to court.
Daniella and her younger sister have been handed over to the Lagos State children’s home.