Peace corps officials fault rape charge against Bayelsa Commandant

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Police investigations will soon prove that there is no merit to a rape allegation recently leveled against the Bayelsa State Commandant of the Peace Corps of Nigeria, Patriot Michael Ogbomah, top officials of the organization have said.

They describe the allegation as totally false, unfounded and baseless.
In separate interviews with Morning Mail on Friday, the Deputy State Commandant, Administration, of the organization, Patriot Henry ThankGod; and the State Adjutant, Yaboh McLean, expressed shock at the allegation leveled by a 29-year-old sacked secretary in the organisation (names withheld).

According to the senior officers, the allegation is the handiwork of mischief makers within and outside the state command. They urged those “peddling falsehood” to desist from such “shameless and illegal act of tarnishing the image of the command.”

McLean said that it was very sad for people conniving with the former Secretary, based on some personal grudges to discredit the Command.

“It is sad, and our suspicion is on two persons who are currently being punished for fraud and acts of insubordination against the leadership of the state command. The disciplinary action is being taken and they should wait for the National Secretariat rather than going around tarnishing our image”, he said.

ThankGod emphatically described as false a report which accused the State Commandant of employing coercion, brutal force and dangerous weapons including pepper spray and hand cuffs to engage in unlawful sexual activities with female victims.
He said it was a blackmail to tarnish the image of the state command by some persons who had personal differences with the Command’s leadership.

The Commandant and the former Secretary were known to be lovers, he added.
ThankGod said that the publication should be dis-regarded because officers and men of the corps are law-abiding citizens and have respect for the constitution, adding that every personal issue should be settled without the involvement of the command.

ThankGod said since the Serious Crimes Unit of the State Police Command was already investigating the matter, everybody should await the result.

He noted that the victim, who claimed that she was raped in February but reported the matter in August, had issues with the state commandant recently.

“The police should be allowed to conclude with their investigations. We are very much aware of their relationship which we believe wouldn’t have warranted a rape, even in a hotel in Yenagoa. This is curious because she didn’t report it since February. This is an affront on the corps, it appears they have ulterior motives. It is to dent the image of the whole command”

The Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) had petitioned the Bayelsa State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Asuquo Amba and the National Commandant of the Peace Corps over the alleged involvement of Ogbomah in the case of sexual harassment.

According to the CLO, though the investigation into the development is being handled by the Serious Crimes Unit of the Nigerian Police Force, the alleged involvement of the most senior officer of the Peace Corps calls for concern.

If true, it must be regarded as criminal and a violation of the purpose for which the corps was established, the CLO added.
The foremost human rights organization, in a petition made available to newsmen in Yenagoa and signed by the Chairman, Chief Alabo Nengi James, drew the attention of the Police to the national body.

“The matter is currently under investigation by the Serious Crime Unit of the Nigeria Police Force and as such we humbly urge you to equally use your internal mechanism to further investigate the said allegation with the view to restoring the image of the Corps to its desired repute,” the CLO stated.

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