By Lope Dada
The Special Anti Corruption and Domestic Violence court sitting in Ikeja on Thursday convicted a 58 year old man, Obinna Izegbe for defiling a 12 year old primary school pupil.
Justice Sybil Nwaka of the court pronounced the conviction after Izegbe pleaded guilty to the charges preferred against him. The law prescribes a life sentence for such sexual offences.
Justice Nwaka said: “In view of the plea of guilty by the 3rd defendant, he is hereby convicted accordingly.”
His conviction is the first since the inauguration of the special court on February 1, 2018.
According to the prosecutor Mr. B.T Boye, the convict was arraigned on February 12, 2018 alongside two others, Raimi Jimoh (1st defendant) and Kazeem Arowolo Olohunwa (2nd defendant) on a three count charge bothering on defilement. He pleaded guilty while the two others denied the charge.
Boye said the convict, on several occasion had sexual intercourse with a 12-year old primary school pupil referred to as Child X.
“On June 17, 2017, it was observed by the school authority that Child X, a pupil at a town in Orimedu, Ibeju Lekki, Lagos was in the habit of returning late to the class after lunch hour and upon enquiry, the child admitted that the 1st, 2nd and 3rd defendants have been having sexual intercourse with her during the break time.
“The matter was reported at the police station in Ibeju-Lekki and Child X identified the defendants and the convict as the persons that often defile her during her break period.
The prosecution further said that five witnesses have been listed for the matter and a medical report obtained as exhibit but the 3rd defendant pleaded guilty to the charge, thereby relieving the prosecution of the burden of his trial.
“Section 137 of the criminal law of Lagos State, 2016 states that anyone who have intercourse with a child should be convicted to life imprisonment.
“My Lord, in line with the criminal law of Lagos 2016, we pray that the court convict the defendant accordingly.”
The convict’s lawyer, A.I Bobby however pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy considering the defendant’s age. He urged the court to grant him a lesser sentence.
In his response, state counsel, Mr. Boye urge the court to sentence the convict as deserved. “The defendant is the first convict of the special offences court and this type of offences is becoming rampant in the society as our girl child can no longer move freely again.
“The state want a safe environment for our children and this judgement will send a clear signal to people that the state has Zero tolerance for such offences. It is also a reassurance to people that the state is with them in the fight against sexual offenders.
He said that conviction will also assure the survivors (victims) that the state will adequately protect them. While he urge the victims to speak out because it is the only way to arrest the ugly situation.
Justice Nwaka adjourned the matter till February 21, 2018 for sentencing.