Okafor Ofiebor/ Port Harcourt
A 40- year- old father of three, Ifeanyi Ezeji, will spend seven years in prison for raping his 12- year – old house help.
Ezeji raped the house girl in 2019 at his residence in Eastern bypass area of Port Harcourt when he was at home alone with her.
He was arraigned on one- count bordering on rape, under the Child Rights Act domesticated in Rivers State.
Magistrate Amaka Amanze who sentenced Ifeanyi Ezeji to seven years in prison with hard labour without the options of fine warned parents and guardians to stop out of court settlement for rape and child defilement cases.
She noted that such violations could have a lifetime adverse emotional effects on the victims, who are mainly the girl child and could also affect their trust on members of the family and society if justice is just denied them.
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 defendant have shown remorse and having spent 3 years already in the correctional facility.
She said though she is standing for the convict, the evidences against him was overwhelming.
She noted that no one would be happy if his or her child is raped, as such, she could only beg the judge for reduced prison sentence for the convict who is also married with three children so that he can 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 mother of the girl wanted to settle the matter with the convicted rapist, by demanding N150,000 from him.
She also called on parents of victims of rape to stop negotiating with rapist and abusers to curtail the rise in sexual offences.