A Gudu Upper Area Court Abuja, on Monday, remanded a Catholic Parish priest in police custody for alleged r*pe of a 10-year-old girl.
The parish priest of Church of Assumption in the Asokoro area of FCT, Abuja, Rev. Fr. Anthony Ochigbo, was arraigned by the police today, August 29, at the Gudu Upper Area Court in the federal capital on a one-count charge of r*pe for allegedly r*ping a 10-year-old girl. The prosecutor, John Ijagbemi, told the court that Grace Ibong of Kuruduma village, Asokoro, Abuja, reported the matter at the Commissioner of Police, FCT Command, on Aug. 17, adding that after a church programme in the said church, the defendant (Rev. Fr. ochigbo) asked the complainant to leave her 10-year-old and 8-year-old daughters to spend the night with him, which she did. He further said when the complainant went back to the defendant’s house to pick her children, she discovered an unusual movement from her 10-year-old daughter on Aug. 15, adding that when the complainant asked her daughter why she was moving unusually, the victim said that the defendant forcefully had carnal knowledge of her without her consent during the night. He said the offence contravened Section 283 of the Penal Code. Justice Alhaji Umar Kagarko, however adjourned the case till Aug. 30, for ruling after the cleric's counsel, Godwin Chukwukere had applied for his bail pursuant to sections 158, 162, 163 and 164 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA). Chukwukere urged the court to grant the defendant bail because he was still innocent until proven otherwise, adding that even though the offence was not bailable, Section 162 gives the court wide powers to grant bail in cases like this. According to the News Agency of Nigeria, the counsel urged the court to exercise its discretion in favour his client, adding that the defendant was on administrative bail and would not jump bail if granted.
The priest pleaded not guilty.