CENTRAL NIGERIA: At least 11 women and girls have been raped this year in Mushere District, the native village of former Plateau State Governor, Joshua Dariye.
The assaults usually in broad daylight along lonely paths are said to have been carried out by familiar Fulani herdsmen.
MK gathers that the assaults started first week of March 2019 with a knife attack on a Prince’s wife in Kaban village.
Halima Ishaku (real name withheld) was brutally injured and raped while gathering firewood to sell and pay her daughter’s school fee.
The incident was loosely handled and dismissed by local Police authorities, it was learnt.
Later on March 17, a 15year old girl was robed of her money and cellphone on her way to school in Panka village.
Another 15year-old schoolgirl was raped toward the end of the month in Kwapnung village, findings reveal.
The following month, two girls were reportedly raped in Jemut village by a gang of armed herders.
A declaration of a “state of emergency” on armed robbery, kidnapping and rape by the Chairman of Bokkos Local Government, Yusuf Machen in May, and the subsequent arrest of eight suspected robbers in June somewhat birthed a break in the assaults.
In September however, two fresh cases were reported in Koghomdet and Ikghingwaghap villages within a week.
October the following month witnessed a disturbing rape of four girls on their way from school.
The girls including two siblings were waylaid along a long feeder road in Horop-Kadim at about 3pm on October 18, 2019.
Two of them aged 15 and 16 were bedridden for days due to severe genital injuries from the assault.
All four are final year students of Government Secondary School Ikghwaghap, located 15kms south of Plateau State University, Bokkos.
Their assaulters, a gang of four, armed with deadly sticks and knives reportedly threatened to give them and their families “no peace” should they report the incident.
The case was however reported and the suspects were arrested.
The suspects identified as Rayyanu Mohammed, Hamisu Mohammed, Mustapha Yunusa and Abbas Salisu have confessed to the crime.
All four were detained at the Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department of the Nigerian Police Force Headquarters Jos, Plateau State but were later released on bail by a local court, it was learnt.
The Mushere rape cases, MK records show are few among many reported in the last three years.
In February, 22year-old Miss Salome Mallan survived a knife attack with deadly injuries after refusing to yield to a herder rapist in Mangor village.
Later on, March 11, 2019, 61-year-old Mrs. Asawan Margaret Zakka was brutally raped and murdered in an isolated suburb in Bokkos town, also by suspected herdsmen.
A month later, a local gospel singer, Miss Celina Wet was brutally assaulted with a knife in Kop-Mandarken village on April 23, 2019.
None of the crimes has been prosecuted, forcing many girls to drop out of school for fear of being attacked.
This might be an even greater threat to socioeconomic development.
THREAT TO ECONOMY
Bokkos Local Government Area has a population of 178,454 (Males – 88,560 and females 90,990) according to the 2006 census.
This population expected to have reached 235,200 by 2016 comprises mainly peasant farmers.
More than 50% of the farming population are women, according to unofficial sources.
Many of them, due to local traditions limiting educational access to male children have hardly gone beyond Junior Secondary school.
The Universal Basic Education, UBE, which came as a replacement of the Universal Primary Education, to enhance the success of the first nine years of schooling is thought to have contributed to this shortfall.
But looking holistically at the opportunity cost of not investing in girls, as Wikipedia puts it, the total missed GDP growth is between 1.2% and 1.5%.
This therefore suggests that the LGA, and by extension, Nigeria is already losing much economically by having a high number of less or uneducated women.
With over 5000 people, mainly women and children displaced by violent attacks in the locality, the effect might even be more catastrophic.
Authorities exploring options to raise the economic profile of the country therefore have no choice but to solve all security threats, and provide a safe environment for women and girls to attain their full potentials.