A magistrate court in Igarra, Akoko-Edo local government area of Edo state, has sentenced two persons to four years in prison for raping a 16-year old secondary school girl.
The convicts, Monday Ogedengbe and Dauda Iyamah, were convicted for sexually violating their victim without her consent, with the assistance of a third party (now at large), who was said to have gagged her and held her down.
They pleaded guilty to the offence in the case with charge No. MIG/16C/2017.
The victim was said to have been dragged out of her school compound (Ososo Grammar School) and gang raped her, after which they threatened to kill her if she disclosed the act.
The culprits were apprehended by men of Ososo Vigilante outfit who later handed them over to the Nigeria Police, Igarra Division.
Chief Magistrate A. Abhulimen-Iyoha, who pronounced them guilty, sentenced them to four years imprisonment, with an option of N400,000 fine.
Commenting on the judgment, the Executive Director of Brave Heart Initiative for Youth and Women (BHI), Priscilla Usiobaifo, who acted for the victim, expressed reservation on the option of fines given to the convicts by the court for a serious offence like rape.
“BHI strongly condemns the option of fine because no amount can justify such violently traumatic crime, but we see this as a victory anyway. The rapists are now convicts and their names will appear on the Edo State Sexual Offenders Register.
Usiobaifo lamented that the victim’s parents insisted on not prosecuting the suspects, but BHI stood in as guardian with support from the girl’s uncle and cousins.
“Sadly, no relative of the girl was at the court hearing. BHI staff, representatives of the social department of Akoko-Edo local government council were present in court in solidarity with the victim.
“BraveHeart Initiative calls for a decentralised Family Unit of the Edo State Police Command to ease the investigative process. BHI strongly advocates for the establishment of family courts at all senatorial zones in Edo State.
“BHI’s clarion call is for all to join BraveHeart in the fight against all forms of gender-based violence,” she said.