He goes by the name Innocent Eze, but he could not prove his innocence before an Ado-Ekiti High Court, which found him guilty of defiling a 12-year-old girl and consequently sentenced him to eight years imprisonment.
The convict was sentenced to one year imprisonment for indecent assault, while he bagged seven years jail term for defilement, under a two count charge. The eight years will run concurrently.
The plea by Eze’s lawyer for the court to temper justice with mercy drew flak from the presiding judge, Justice Adekanye Ogunmoye, who described the crime as barbaric.
His words, “It’s unfortunate that a 12-year-old girl would have been sexually defiled as was done to the victim in this case. It is more unfortunate that the matter came to the public domain.
“The convict by his act had succeeded in placing a stigma on the person of the victim, which may take a long time to erase. Then trauma suffered by the victim is definitely such as would take a longer time to forget.
“The act of the convict is not such as should be encouraged. This is definitely a barbaric act and the sentence must be such as would serve as deterrent to the convict and others who still harbour similar tendencies.”
The judge was not alone in condemning the crime committed by Eze, which the Wife of the Governor, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, described as “abhorrent.”
Until he found another abode behind bars, Eze, an indigene of Nsukka, in Enugu State, resided in Ayegunle Street, Ijan-Ekiti, Ekiti State, where his perverted libido landed him in trouble.
Reacting to the judgment in a statement by her Special Assistant on Media, Akin Oyedele, the governor’s wife said it was a major victory for her crusade against sexual and child abuse.
She expressed the hope that it would serve as deterrent to other pedophiles and perverts on the prowl that Ekiti State would not be a haven for sexual offenders.
The First Lady said, “Although it’s not capable of eliminating the scars, but it will at least heal the wound of the victim with tender heart and others like her that have been sexually violated and traumatised.
“It’s victory for all caring parents, individuals, groups and civil society organisations that have joined me in campaigning against every form of child abuse. I salute the courage of the trial judge for the decision.
“The judgment will further promote the Child Right Act and the Gender-based Violence (Prohibition) Law, which are very dear to this administration. Let me reiterate that we will not allow our children to become preys in the hands of people who don’t have moral scruples.”
The governor’s wife also advised parents to be wary of the kind of errands they send their young girls, stressing that experience had shown that young girls fall prey to predatory people when running errands.
She urged parents to protect their young daughters against abuse by monitoring their relationship with so-called family friends, uncles, neighbours, teachers, school proprietors and guardians.
Women who are separated from their husbands were also advised to think twice before entrusting their young girls in care of their fathers, judging by several reported cases of incest involving unscrupulous fathers and their vulnerable teenage daughters.
She said, “The government has played its part by putting necessary laws in place to enforce the rights of women and children and to protect them from abuse. It is incumbent upon the citizens to rally behind the government to stamp this social malaise out of our land.”
Erelu Bisi Fayemi used the opportunity to encourage children and women to speak out and seek lawful redress anytime their rights were violated, while she admonished perpetrators to turn a new leaf.
According to the court, the convict had on August 31, 2011, in Ijan-Ekiti, pounced on the young girl after assisting him to fetch water from a neighbourhood well and dragged her inside his apartment where he sexually violated her.
The victim was said to have earlier rejected love advances from Eze, while he also turned down his plea to assist him to take his filled bucket inside his room before he seized her.
He had stuffed a handkerchief in the traumatised girl’s private part when blood started oozing out after the act and later gave her N100 to “buy drugs.”
Testifying before the court, a doctor attached to the General Hospital, Ijan Ekiti, confirmed that the otherwise innocent girl’s hymen had been “traumatized, with laceration along the vaginal wall.”
Last modified: July 28, 2013