One of the laws of the Roman Catholic church is that the priests, often called Reverend Fathers, must be celibate. But a priest in Nigeria, Anthony Ochigbo, was alleged to have raped a 10-year-old girl, whose name is being protected. A priest of the Roman Catholic Church, who was arraigned for allegedly raping a 10-year-old girl, has been discharged by the court.
The priest of the Church of Assumption in the Asokoro area of Abuja, whose name was given as Anthony Ochigbo, was charged with a count of rape of a 10-year-old girl on August 29, 2016 before a Gudu Upper Area court, Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city. While the court discharged him, the Nigerian Pilot said it also struck out the first information report on the case for lack of jurisdiction. The presiding judge in the case, Alhaji Umar Kagarko, explained that the priest was arraigned under section 282 of the penal code and not under the child rights act.
He noted that the court has the jurisdiction to try the defendant under the penal code and not under the child rights act as submitted by the prosecutor, James Idachaba. He said, however, that the case was discharged because the court had to consider issues of jurisdiction as they affected the case. “I, therefore, terminated the FIR and discharged the defendant,” the judge said while reacting to the application by Idachaba to withdraw the first information report.
Idachaba had argued that only the high court has jurisdiction to try cases involving the child rights act which provides appropriate penalties for offenders. He wants the priest to be tried at the FCT High Court, but the defence counsel, Godwin Chukwukere, argued against this. Cases of violence against minors are on the increase in Nigeria with analysts revealing that between 50 and 80 incidents are reported daily.
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