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From CHARLES ADEGBITE, Ado-Ekiti
An Ado-Ekiti High Court has sentenced a 32-year-old man, Innocent Eze, to eight years imprisonment for defiling a 12-year-old girl. The convict was last Friday sentenced to a year imprisonment for indecent assault, while he bagged seven years jail term for defilement.
The eight years jail term would run concurrently. The court dismissed the plea by Eze’s lawyer for the court to temper justice with mercy. The presiding judge, Justice Adekanye Ogunmoye, who described the crime as barbaric, said: “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. The trauma suffered by the victim is definitely such as would take a longer time to forget.”
He said such act was not a thing that should be encouraged, saying “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 wife of Ekiti State Governor, Erelu Bisi Fayemi also condemned the act, describing it as abhorrent.
In a statement by her media aide, Mr. Akin Oyedele, she 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 paedophiles and perverts on the prowl that Ekiti State would not be a haven for sexual offenders.
The accused had on August 31, 2011, in Ijan-Ekiti, seized the young girl after assisting him to fetch water from a well and dragged her inside his room where he sexually violated 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.
Erelu Fayemi 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.