John Ofuegbu, a 58-year-old man, was convicted and sentenced to a two year jail term by a High Court in Port Harcourt after he was found guilty of sexually abusing and exploiting his ten year old daughter, Ebubechukwu Ofuegbu.
The victim, Ebubechukwu, in her testimony, told the court that her father had perpetrated the act of incest on three different occasions; twice in his room at home and once at a hotel in Trans Amadi, Port Harcourt. She narrated that,
“My father asked if I like him. He said I should sit down on the bed. I asked him, Daddy what are you doing. My daddy removed his clothes and also asked me to remove my clothes. I was crying and now said I will report to my mother but he said I should not tell her.
Another time, my mother travelled, my daddy took me to a hotel at Trans Amadi where he paid 4 thousand naira for a room. At the hotel, we watched a film which they say is a corrupt film. My mother took us to the hospital and found out that I have been having sex. She asked me who did it, and I told her that it was my father.”
Justice Adolphus Enebeli, the trial judge, stated his conviction that the accused person actually carried out the said atrocious act and further pointed out that the said act contravened sections of the Rivers state Child Rights Law of 2009. As the Judge said,
“evidences were presented showing that the vagina of the victim had been ruptured as a result of frequent and heavy penetration.”
Drawing conclusions from tests that were carried out by the judge to really find out if Ebube knew and understood what actually happened to her, there was obvious proof that the child was truly violated. As the judge said, the 10-year old was unmoved and has a crystal clear understanding of the abuse she received from her father.
Expressing his pleasure at the girl’s honesty, Justice Enebeli disclosed that he also found out that there was bitterness in the matrimony between John Ofuegbu and his wife, which has led to the estrangement of the couple.
The Judge then concluded that “Ofuegbu took undue advantage of the natural love and bond of his daughter. He lured his child, Ebubechukwu by exploiting and manipulating his own daughter. He abandoned the duty of a father to protect his own daughter”, and also reprimanded the man for taking advantage of the bond between him and his daughter thereby exposing the child to long term psychological trauma.
The accused has reportedly spent five years in prison since the trial began in 2011. Whereas the offence is said to be punishable with 14 years in jail without option of fine, Ofuegbu was sentenced to two years only.
In his remarks Mr. John Ofuegbu said
“I don’t have anything to say but God in heaven will judge me. I have never abused Ebubechukwu in anyway. Where are other women? I know all these things happened because of the problem I have with my wife. But for whoever is behind this, God will judge.”
State prosecuting counsel, Cordelia Eke, expressed hope at the fact that the judgment should be a preventive measure to other irresponsible fathers. Hear her:
“We derive some solace in the fact that justice has been served. I know that it cannot compensate for the trauma that she will be going through but I know that this goes to show that the state could do something about what happened to the little girl.
“We also hope that those that are victims of sexual offences such as this will be encouraged to speak up and follow up their cases to a logical conclusion.”
However, John Ofuegbu’s counsel , Egesin Owana, said he may appeal the judgement.
Similar to this story is the case of a pastor of a popular Pentecostal church in Benin who also defiled his 7-year-old daughter.