By Osa Okhomina
Armed Policemen on Monday arrested a Beauty Pageant Organiser, Ambassador Richard Franklin over alleged rape of a 16-year-old model in Azikoro area of Yenagoa Local Government Council of Bayelsa.
Franklin was alleged to be a serial rapists and known to police divisions in the state capital.
LEADERSHIP gathered from investigative officers of the state command of the police in Yenagoa that though the accused has pleaded guilty and made confessional statement to various cases of rape and alleged sexual assault of potential models and beauty contestants, the police are investigating more petitions and cover-ups involving some police officers.
According to police sources, the suspected rapist was arrested following a petition filed by the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) led by Barr. Dise Ogbise Erhisere.
According to police investigations, it was gathered that the alleged rape victim, identified as Ebi Gesiere, an indigene of Ammassoma community in Southern Ijaw Local Government area of the state, was alleged assaulted and raped by the accused on the 25th september,2016.
According to the victim, she had secured a form to contest on the Miss Bayelsa Teen pageant and the Miss Tourism Pageant and during the audition she met the manager of the event and accused, Richard Franklin.
“Franklin asked me to meet him at the Opili Plaza near the NUJ press centre for a photo shoot. Despite my scheduled church service attendance, I went. On getting to the place, he locked the door and asked me to pull my clothes and put on another for the photo shoot. When I pulled, he asked to pull my undies. But I declined.
He hit me with iron rod and threatened to throw me from the three story building. He threatened to lock me in and hand me over to boys to defile. He later had his way with the iron rod point close to my eyes.”
Investigation by the FIDA further showed that though the police divisions in the state had received series of petitions bothering on rape and assault against Richard Franklin,” some senior police officers have covered up the investigation and allowed him walk free.
The parents of the accused are desperately mounting pressure for his release and it is clear he has many link within the police force.”