… Court Remands Another for Rape of Girl, 14
… 2 Gang-Raped Girl, 15 in Nkelegu Ishieke
… Umahi to Treat Rape Cases As Terrible crimes
By Esther Nworie and Agnes Nworie
A 35 year old liaison officer in Ebonyi Local Government Area of Ebonyi state has allegedly raped a 19 year old female asthmatic patient on her father’s bed.
Briefing newsmen in her office, the chairperson of International federation of women lawyers in Ebonyi state, Barr Grace Chima regretted why the state government appointee, one Mr. Sunday Awoke would rape the SSS 3 student, one Miss Ejeh (first name withheld to avoid stigma) even in the course of his duty.
Narrating her ordeal to newsmen, Miss Ejeh said the male liaison officer Mr. Sunday Awoke alongside a female came to their family house at Ogbaga road axis of the state capital on 19th day of April 2020 for house-to-house sensitization against Covid-19 and also sharing of facemasks.
He borrowed her brother’s pair of sandals with a promise to return it the following day, but when he came back to return the sandals, he raped her, all her pleas fell on his deaf ears.
She said amidst tears, “On 19th April, 2020, two liaison officers, a man and a woman came to our house to share facemask. The man is Mr. Sunday Awoke, I’m yet to know the woman’s name. After sharing the facemask and sensitization, when they were about leaving, Mr. Awoke said he had injury on the leg and could no longer wear his shoe, so he asked for my brother’s sandal which was just within sight there with a promise to return it the following day. So we gave him the sandal and he left his shoe in our house.”
“The following day, being 20th April Monday, he came back to return the sandal and equally collect his shoe, by then my mother had gone to work. On arrival, instead of giving the sandal to my brother who opened the gate for him, he sent him on an errand and locked the gate.
Consequently, just the two of us were in the entire compound. Before I knew what was happening, he came into the living room, dragged me further into the room, pressing my breast so hard, tore my clothes, at that point, I managed to struggle my underwear with him but all to no avail. As I kept on struggling with him, I fell off the bed and hit my head on the floor. He picked me back to the bed, knelt on my thighs and started forcing his manhood into my vagina. When he did not succeed because I have not done that before, he started using his finger, despite my entire plea for mercy.”
“My shout for help was not heard because he had dragged me into the bedroom. He continued forcing his manhood into my vagina after using the finger for some time till he got tired. Then I managed to hit him with my leg, immediately he ran out of the house and our compound. I managed to come out and told my neighbours, they chased after him but could not apprehend him because I did not come out in time to inform them, he ran away very fast from the scène, knowing the gravity of his offence.”
“All I want is justice, how can someone come into my father’s house, attack and rape me on his bed in this manner just because he is dead. I need justice! I am supposed to be taking my senior secondary examinations now, but I’m at home in obedience to both federal and state government. What is my offence to deserve this? International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) facilitated his arrest, but the police have released him without trial! Without trial I said. I therefore call on the Federal, state government and all people of good will to assist me to get justice, my mother is just a poor widow”, Miss Ejeh pleaded.
More so, during interview with the State Attorney general and Commissioner for Justice, Hon Cletus Ofoke, he confirmed the incident and assured he shall ensure justice takes its course, because no one is above the law, he added that even if he despite his height in the society is found guilty of such offence by court of competent jurisdiction, he should be made to face the law.
“The sentence for rape according to Violence Against Persons Prohibition law (VAPP) is imprisonment, except the presiding judge or magistrate decides to use his or her discretion because of maybe some other factors discovered in the course of prosecution.
“Well, that very matter got to my knowledge and the police said they are still investigating. So, as it stands now,` we will say alleged until he is charged to court of competent jurisdiction and convicted. But we will ensure like I told FIDA executives last week, we will ensure that justice is done. I spoke with the Deputy Commissioner of police and he told me that they are still preparing their case files. I assure you that justice will be done at the end, anybody that commits offence must be brought to book, no matter how highly placed because I heard you say liaison officer. Liaison officer what? Even if I commit rape, I am also under the law. So we will ensure that he is brought to book and at the end if court says he did it, he will go in for it,” the state Attorney general assured.
The state Governor David Umahi has demanded for the records of ongoing rape cases from the security agencies, particularly, the Nigeria Police Force.
Umahi, who made the demand during this weekly statewide broadcast update the citizens on the fight against COVID-19, said “I want to get involved”.
The Governor directed the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Barr. Cletus Ofoke and his counterpart in the Ministry of Border Peace and Conflict Resolutions, Mr. Stanley Okoro Emegha to meet with security agencies in order to avail him of the records of the ongoing rape cases in the State.
He ordered the security agencies to keenly study the law on rape, saying, “It is not a bailable offence”.
He said, “We had a very serious discussion on the issue of rape in the various States in our recent meeting. I want security agencies to look inward and check the law, I’m not sure that rape case is bailable. It is not bailable. I want the Attorney general and the Commissioner for Border Peace to meet with the security people. I want to know the cases that are ongoing on rape. I want to get involved. It’s a very terrible crime and we have to ensure that we treat it as such.”
Also speaking with the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Loveth Odah at the time of filing this report, she promised to return the call and attend to Press questions later.
Meanwhile, a 25 year old Nweke Offornna, from Ndiechi Ndufu Echera in Ikwo Local Government Area of Ebonyi State was on Monday arraigned in the court by police for allegedly having carnal knowledge of a 14 year old girl, Precious (surname with held by us).
He was arraigned at the Chief Magistrate Court 1, in the magistrate court of Ebonyi State on one count charge of rape.
According to the charge No. MAB 284c/2020, the suspect committed the crime on 3rd June, 2020 at Ndiechi, back of Ebonyi State College of Education, Ikwo.
Police prosecuting counsel, inspector M Eze, told the court that the crime was a punishable offence under section 34 (2) of Ebonyi Child Rights Act law and Related matters 2010.
The charge “That you Nweke Offornna on Mon 3rd June, 2020 at Ndiechi Ndufu Echera Ikwo in the Abakaliki Magisterial District did had unlawful intercourse with one precious XYZ and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 34 (2) Ebonyi Child Rights Law and Related Matters 2010”.
The presiding magistrate, Nnenna Onuoha after listening to the prosecuting counsel directed the suspect be remanded in the Nigeria Correctional Facilities Abakaliki.
The matter was adjourned to 15 July, 2020 for report of Compliant.
In another development, a 15 year old girl, Mmesoma (surname withheld by us) was at the weekend gang raped by two suspects at Nkelegu Ishieke, Ebonyi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.
The two suspects, Chidiogu Okonkwo, 15, and Chidubem Onwe, 14, allegedly defiled the victim in her father’s house when he left her at home for his daily business in Ishieke market.
It was alleged that when the father returned from the market and observed what happened to his daughter, he reported to the Ishieke police division and the girl was taken to hospital for medical examination.
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer in Ebonyi, DSP Loveth Odah confirmed the report and said that the suspects have been arrested and they confessed to the crime.
The PPRO, said the suspects shall be remanded at the Juvenile Welfare Home, Ugwuachara if the court convicts them.
“On June 16th, 2020, at about 1:15pm one Fidelis (surname withheld by us) of Nkelegu in Ishieke community, in the company of her daughter, Mmesoma (surname withheld by us), 15yrs, came to the station and reported that at about 12pm June 14, one Chidiogu Okonkwo, 15yrs and one Chidubem Onwe, 14yrs, all of the same address went to his house while he was at his shop at Ishieke and tore his daughter’s cloth and raped her.”
“So, police in Ishieke quickly swung into action and arrested the suspects and all of them confessed to the crime.”
“I know that the only thing that can make children of that age do that kind of a thing is cultism and drugs.”
“Though they are minors, we have where we keep minors and they will be charged to court as soon as we are done with the doctor’s report.”