UMUAHIA – A 49-year-old farmer, Lawrence Ohaeri, who allegedly raped a nine-year-old Primary 3 pupil at Ndume, Ibeku, an outskirt of Umuahia metropolis, was on Tuesday remanded in prison custody by an Umuahia Chief Magistrate presided over by Mrs, Linda Ugboaja.
The little girl whose name is concealed because she is a minor was alleged to have been forcefully defiled by the accused in her Ndume family house when the accused reportedly visited their family house asking the victim and her siblings for a cutlass to clear the grass in his (suspect’s) compound which is nearby.
It was gathered that on arrival to the victim’s home, the suspect reportedly sent the elder brother of the victim and another relation of theirs to buy bread, leaving the victim alone in the compound with him. Witnesses said no sooner her 11-year-old brother and the other boy left the house that the accused pounced on the victim and raped her in the process.
It was also learnt that when the victim’s brother returned and saw the accused on top of his sister, he rained blows on her attacker but the accused reported continued the illicit act, prompting the boy to raise the alarm which led to the arrest of the suspect by some youths in the village.
At the magistrate court on Wednesday , Ohaeri was accused of raping a nine-year-old girl on September 18, 2019.
The charge sheet NO.U/ 681c/2019 read, “That you Lawrence Ohaeri ‘M’ on the 18th of September, 2019 at Ndume in Umuahia North Magisterial District unlawfully had sexual intercourse with a child named (names withheld) aged nine years and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 32(2) of the Abia state Child’s Right Law, 2006.
During cross examination by the Chief Magistrate Linda Ugbaja, the victim, said she was at home with her elder brother Chimaobi and another relation Chigoziri of same age when the suspect Ohaeri called them to help him sweep his house and compound, adding that it was while she was sweeping the compound that Ohaeri gave Chigoziri and Chimaobi five hundred naira to buy bread.
She said she was still sweeping when Ohaeri came, grabbed her from the back removed her pant and forced himself on her, pointing out that her screaming made her brother Chimaobi raise to raise alarm.
During cross-examination by the magistrate the elder brother to the victim, Chimaobi, said he heard her sister screaming and “I rushed inside the house and saw brother on top of my sister before I ran to call my father.”
The presiding magistrate therefore adjourned the matter to the 17th and 18th of October for further hearing and ordered that the accused be remanded in Umuahia Prisons, Afara.
She transferred the case to the Director of Public Prosecution for onward prosecution at the High Court.
Speaking to journalists shortly after the court session, the father of the victim, Mr. Onyekwere Nmeregini, a tricycle driver, called for justice.
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