A High Court sitting in Port Harcourt on Thursday sentenced a 58-year-old man, Mr. John Ufoegbu, to two years in prison for sexually abusing his ten-year-old daughter.
The man, who has been on trial for about five years now, was convicted of incest, a punishable offence, which attracts 14 years in prison without an option of fine.
Ufoegbu was on the January 10, 2011 charged to court for sexually abusing his biological daughter, Miss Ebubechukwu Ufoegbu.
The court presided over by Justice Adolphus Enebeli, sent the convict to serve two years in prison, having already spent five years before the verdict.
Delivering his judgment, Justice Enebeli stated that the act was a pathetic case of sexual act between father and daughter, adding that it was not just only a case of molestation.
The judge explained that the pitiable aspect of the case was that it involved a child, describing it as disgraceful.
Enebeli emphasized that the society needed to protect the child’s vulnerability to sexual abuse and noted that such act of abuse was punishable under Rivers State Child Act, 2010.
The judge stated that Mr. Ofoegbu had violated natural law by luring his own daughter into a hotel room and having canal knowledge of the little girl, stressing that the act had thrown the little girl into long term psychological trauma.
The convict when given opportunity for comments maintained, “The girl in question is my daughter. I have never had any sexual experience with her even if I have problem with her mother. God is my witness and the greatest judge,” he said.
Speaking to The PUNCH at the premises of Rivers State High Court after the judgment, counsel for the victim, who is also the Assistant Director Ministry of Justice, Cordelia Eke, said, “Due to the pathetic nature of the case, I would not say we won, rather, I only hope that the victim derives solace from the fact that justice has been served.
“I know it cannot compensate for the trauma that she is going through, but I believe this is going to show that at least the state has been able to do something about what happened to her.
“Also I hope that this would encourage those that are victims of sexual offences such as this to speak up and to follow their cases to a logical conclusion.”
Meanwhile the counsel for the convicted, Mr. Eginson Unwene, said he would appeal the judgment if his client desired.
Unwene had told the court that the convict did not have any past criminal record and added that he (convict) had maintained high level of dignity for over five years he had been on trial.
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