A High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital, has sentenced a 39-year-old pastor, Justice Aniele, to life imprisonment for having unlawful sexual intercourse with a 14-year-old girl said to have been put in his care.
The convicted pastor was said to have raped the 14-year-old orphan put in his care and got her pregnant.
The incident occured at Amaji community in Omuma Local Government Area of Rivers State on the 11th of December, 2017.
The Presiding Judge, Justice Augusta Kingsley-Chuku, in her judgement, found the accused guilty of the crime for taking advantage of the minor under his care and having unlawful sexual intercourse with her which resulted to pregnancy and the birth of a little baby boy that later died.
She said Aniele did not show any remorse for his actions, by attempting to abort the pregnancy more than once and for threatening to kill the victim if she ever revealed the truth to anyone.
Justice Kingsley-Chuku, said his action was a punishable offence under section 32, sub 2 of Rivers State Child Right Law 2009 and sentenced him to life imprisonment.
Speaking to newsmen, the counsel representing the International Federation of Women Lawyers, Chisom Anyalebechi, expressed happiness that the accused was convicted for the crime.
“We filed this matter under child rights law, not criminal code and once you are found guilty, it is for life. We are happy and immensely grateful for this judgement. It will serve as a deterrent to others because many people are getting away with it and the victims and their families are complacent sometimes,” she added.
On her part, the State prosecution Counsel, Lilian Franklin said the judgement was a maximum sentence and expressed happiness that justice have been served for the victim and the state.
“The police concluded investigation and the case file was sent to Ministry of Justice. We immediately took it up and called witnesses.
"The victim testified, we called the Investigating Police officer testify and we also got the doctor that attempted an abortion for the defendant, though the doctor refused. So, it strengthened our case that the defendant actually took the victim for an abortion and she had the baby, although the boy died.
“It should serve as a deterrent to others that have children in their care and would want to molest and use them for other things, than allowing them to be children that they are,” she stated.