Journalists, CSOs immortalise rape victim with “Tears from the Grave”

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By Femi Ogunshola

Some journalists, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), parents and others gathered in Abuja on Wednesday to honour Miss Karen-Happuch Akpagher, who allegedly died from rape.

The occasion was the launch of a book “Tears from the Grave,” aimed  to immortalise Karen-Happuch.

The book was written by Mr Lemmy Ughegbe, a journalist and gender activist.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Karen-Happuch was a boarding student at Premiere Academy, Abuja.

She died on June 22, 2021, as a result of sepsis infection she allegedly contracted from rape.

The rapist also allegedly left condom inside the late student.

Ughegbe promised to do his best to  get justice for the deceased, saying that he would continue to remind the nation of the case until justice would be served.

He said that writing “Tears from the Grave” was challenging, as talking with the deceased’s mother was traumatic.

“I get traumatised each time I have  discussions with her.

“She said she was even afraid of loving her boys because she loved Karen and the world took her away.

“She said if she would love the remaining children, the world might  also take them away,” the writer said.

Ughegbe said that after three years of Karen-Happuch’s alleged rape, the police had yet to tell her mother what happened to her.

He urged that the fight to rid the society of sexual and gender-based violence should be collective.

Dr Kelechi Ofoegbu, Chairman of the occasion and Executive Commissioner, Corporate Services and Administration, Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, urged victims of rape to speak up.

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Ofoegbu, however, said that if the victims could not speak up, the society must be sensitive enough to be their voices.

“We should be human, aware and sensitive to the fact that people are crying around us, we must  be sensitive enough to intervene,” he said.

Grace Ike, an aspirant for the post of the Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists, Abuja Chapter, said that the book launch demonstrated collective resolve to confront and eradicate rape.

According to her, it is heartbreaking when individuals, regardless of age or gender, fall victims of rape or defilement.

She said that rape and defilement always left their victims in physical and psychological anguish.

She said that Nigerians were  confronted daily with distressing accounts of girls and women enduring unspeakable trauma due to sexual violence.

The mother of the deceased, Mrs Vivian Akpagher, while narrating her ordeal, said: “I was hurt and pained when I lost Karen.

“I have struggled through the years but I believe God is with me.

“At some points, I found it really hard.

“Nineteen years ago, I gave birth to her. She returned to me shattered in 2021.  She was my confidant, my friend.”

Vivian described her ordeal as two years of an unending storm.

“The grief may be unending but I am happy you are all here to hold my hands,” she said.

NAN reports that some others at the event also spoke against rape, urging the police to conclude investigation on Karen-Happuch’s case and bring the culprit to book. (NAN) (

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Edited by Chioma Ugboma/Ijeoma Popoola

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