This is Why They Don’t Scream

A guy and a girl are in a cab together leaving campus. They take a course together, ECN101. She needs a textbook to study and asks if he has the textbook. He says he does but the book is in his room outside campus. She needs it that night so she follows him back to the hostel complex. She doesn’t go in to the room but stays outside. After 30 minutes he doesn’t come out. She goes to the hostel and knocks on a random door to ask for his room. She is told his room number so she locates his room. She knocks on his door and he asks her to come in. He pretends to frantically look for the book while she sits by the door. He finally brings out the book after she has sat for a few minutes. She wants to leave but he tells to just wait a bit so he can see her off to the bus stop.

While waiting he tells her how he has always liked her and wants to date her. She says she likes him but only as a friend. He makes a move which she rebuffs. He pulls out a kitchen knife and tells her that if she screams he will stab her. He orders her to lie down and take off her undies. He rapes her while she just lies down there. She doesn’t utter a word but just cries in silence. After he is done, he apologises and says it was his love for her that made him do it.

She leaves his room and goes back to campus. She cries all night and confides in her best friend who asks her what she was doing in his room. She explains the story and her friend concludes that while he is a bastard for what he did to her it was partly her fault. If this reaction is any sign of what people will say, then she had better keep it to herself she reasons. She doesn’t tell her parents because they may call her a wayward girl. So she tries to put it behind her and keeps silent.

This happens regularly on our campuses. This is why they don’t scream. This is why they keep silent.

Based on a true story.

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ABSU Rapists – Information Wanted

We all heard about the heinous rape of a young girl purportedly by 5 students of Abia State University. The supposed students made a video of the crime which eventually made its way to the Internet. People expressed outrage at the rape but few could do anything about it. So I thought about offering a financial reward to anyone who could provide information that would lead to the arrest of the suspects. With my limited resources I knew I couldn’t do much so I reached out to others. A few other friends online and offline who were as incensed as I am are contributing most of it.

So if you have any information that can lead to the arrest and prosecution of all five suspects please send an email to info@eienigeria.org The identity of anyone who provides such information will be protected. The reward for providing this information is N200,000 (two hundred thousand Naira). Any donations in excess of this amount will be given to the victim.

For a detailed reading about the actual rape itself please read this blog post by @sugabelly God bless all those who have spread the message on Twitter and who are contributing towards this cause. Together we can make a difference.

Developing A National Crime Database

Recent security incidents in Nigeria have exposed a fundamental weakness in the ability of our security forces to identify and classify criminals and their activities. When you have to make a statement at a Police Station, you are given a sheet of foolscap paper and a biro. Many Police Stations operate without a functioning computer even at the Divisional level. Our entire security apparatus is manual, fragmented and archaic. Individuals can commit crimes in one state and move to another state to join the Police Force.

I once joked to a friend that you can murder someone in Nigeria and leave your hair sample, finger prints and even your clothing and the Police would be none the wiser for it. An essential part of criminology is data gathering and management. The US operates several criminal databases at the Local, State and Federal levels. Before 1966, this information was not readily available to individuals. This changed with the promulgation of the Freedom of Information Act. Anybody with an internet connection can search for an individual’s name and recall their criminal history.

It is time for Nigeria to begin to work towards a National Crime Database (NCD). This may seem far-fetched but the tools to make this happen are already available. Most Nigerians have some data with at least one level of Government. Between the Register of births and deaths, census data, vehicle registration, income tax filing and voter registration most people have been photographed and fingerprinted by the Government. This data can be the starting point for an integrated NCD. The NCD can be hosted in a central sever at the Force HQ in Abuja with mirror servers hosted in every geographical zone or state. A few terabytes of server space should be able to store data on 80-90% of Nigerians. Additional data can be obtained from the Immigration authorities and from the recent SIM card registration undertaken by GSM operators.

Collating, analysing and storing this data will take a few years and the cooperation of the State Security Service, Nigeria Immigration Service, National Bureau of StatisticsNational Population Commission and the Nigerian Police Force. The previous attempt at National ID card which was fraught with irregularities and corruption allegations will need to be revisited. Perhaps some data can be obtained from here as well.

If an individual commits a crime or is accused but acquitted, these details should be recorded against the individual’s name. Retrieval of criminal records from the NCD could be via specialised terminals/PCs at major police commands and Stations, SMS or web based. The SMS or web based option will also enable Policemen crosscheck an individual’s criminal record at the point of arrest. The Police will need to be trained to use computers and any specialised terminals.

A pilot programme covering major cosmopolitan areas could be undertaken to test the storage and retrieval capabilities of the NCD. This idea may seem outlandish for a developing nation like Nigeria but great ideas start as a flicker and metamorphose into workable solutions through a firm commitment and the cooperation of all.

This project is within the purview of the new Ministry of Information and Communications Technology, so I will attempt to sell the idea to the Honourable Minister, Omobola Johnson.