Okafor Ofiebor, Port Harcourt
A 40-year-old man, Ifeanyi Ezeji, has been sentenced to seven years in prison by a Magistrate court sitting in Port Harcourt for raping his 12-year-old house help.
Ezeji was found guilty of raping the housegirl in 2019 at Eastern bypass in Port Harcourt when there was nobody at home.
He was charged with a one-count offence bordering on rape, under the Child Rights Act domesticated in Rivers State.
Magistrate, Amaka Amanze, sentenced Ifeanyi Ezeji to seven years in prison with hard labour without the option of fine and warned parents and guardians to stop out-of-court settlement for rape cases and child defilements because it could have a lifetime of adverse emotional effects on the victims, who are mainly the girl child.
This could affect their trust in members of the family and society if justice is just denied her.
Reacting to the judgement while speaking to journalists outside the courtroom, the counsel to the defendant, Lucy Effiong, thanked the judge for her magnanimity in reducing the prison sentence from the maximum 14 years to 7 years.
She noted that under the Child Rights Acts the maximum sentence for rape and defilement is 14 years, but the judge in her wisdom decided to reduce the sentence because the accused rapist has shown remorse and having spent 3 years already in the correctional facility.
She said though she is standing in for the convict, the evidence against him was overwhelming.
She noted that no one would be happy if his or her child is raped as such could only beg the judge for a reduced prison sentence since the convict is also married with three children to be able to come out and still be useful to his family.
The prosecuting counsel and Lawyer to international Federation of Female Lawyers,FIDA, Esther Achor-Korienta, expressed joy that justice was finally served with the judgment.
She said at first, the girl’s mother wanted to settle the matter with the convicted rapist, by demanding N150,000 from the rapist.
Achor-Korienta also called on parents of victims of rape to stop negotiating with rapists and abusers to curtail the rise in sexual offences.