Five persons, including a stepfather, a pastor and a school teacher, has been arraigned by operatives of the Rivers State Police Command before a Magistrate Court sitting in Port Harcourt for allegedly raping an 11-year-old girl.
According to The PUNCH, the crime was said to have been committed in Buguma in the Asari Toru local government area of the state.
The names of the suspects are arraigned are Ebi Jack, 23, Fubara George, 22, Precious Wokoma, 20, Dennis Lugard, 53 and Alalibo Harry, 32.
Before the case went to trial, the victim had told reporters that her stepfather, a teacher from her elementary school, the pastor of a new generation church in Buguma, Rivers State, and two young men she referred to as “area boys” were among the suspects.
She claimed that since the age of six, she had been sexually abused by all five people at various points.
The Chief Magistrate, Menenen Poromon, after listening to the counsels in the matter, directed for an amendment of the charge and adjourned the case for the suspects to take their plea and for bail consideration.
Reacting to the incident, the publicity secretary of the International Federation of Women Lawyers, Rivers State branch, Sophia Afoloyan, said the organisation would follow the matter to a logical conclusion to ensure that the suspects were prosecuted.
Afoloyan expressed disappointment that even those who should have protected the girl had abdicated their duties.
“It is sad, it is degrading and it shows the level that the society has become, that you cannot even trust anybody.
“This little girl (was) raped by a teacher who is supposed to be a caregiver, defiled by a pastor of a church in Buguma and also raped by her so called stepfather.
“This little girl has gone through a lot, also raped by two different hoodlums at different times. FIDA Rivers we are so bitter.
“This little girl, who is an orphan, has been made to go through all of these torture in the hands of men who are much older than her (sic) and who are supposed to be her father.
“A 53-year-old man is amongst these people. And the church where she worships, in the name of a pastor, also did this to this girl.
“The girl looks sick, tiny and malnourished. FIDA is calling on parents, please don’t bring forth children you cannot cater for, not to be made vulnerable to all sorts of ills in society.
“We want to appreciate the police that took up this matter. They didn’t compromise in this matter. They made sure all of these persons were arrested and arraigned before the court. We hope that the court will do justice on this matter.
“It is cry for justice and FIDA will not relent in seeking and fighting for justice for the less-privileged, for the children and women in the society,” the state FIDA spokesperson said.