A 48-year-old man, Emmanuel Ezemodhe, has bagged life imprisonment for defiling an eight-year-old girl in Benin in Benin, Edo State.
Ezemodhe was found guilty of charges of child defilement and was consequently convicted by Justice Mary Itsueli of an Edo High Court.
The arrest of the culprit, according to a statement issued in Benin was a collaboration between Edo State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) and law enforcement agencies
In a statement on Sunday, the Public Relations Officer of the board, Mr Ejiro Obodo said the convict was arrested and tried due to the collaborative efforts of the Edo SUBEB, the community where the crime was perpetrated, the Nigeria Police, State Ministry of Justice as well as the state Ministry of Social Development and Gender Issues.
He noted that the mother of the victim, subsequent to the successful prosecution of the case, visited the board secretariat alongside the daughter to thank the State Government for taking up the case and ensuring that the rapist was brought to book.
“I will like to thank the management of the SUBEB and the Edo State Government for ensuring justice, I did not spend one naira in the case” the Edo SUBEB spokesman quoted the woman, who could not hold back her tears, as saying.
He said the Edo SUBEB, through its “Protect Me” campaign, had continued to champion child protection in primary, junior secondary schools and communities.
The campaign, he added, focused on awareness creation, prevention of abuse and community support.
“In December 2021, Mrs. Betsy Obaseki, wife of the Edo Governor and Chairperson of the Edo State Gender Based Violence (GBV) management committee, inaugurated Students Against Gender Based Violence Clubs in all the primary and secondary schools in Edo, charging students to be vigilant.
“Mrs Obaseki assured pupils, teachers and students of the support of the State Government and the GBV Committee,” he said.
Quoting the Executive Chairman of the Edo SUBEB, Mrs. Ozavize Salami, on the court case, she said “our goal is to protect children from all forms of abuse.
SUBEB takes cases of rape and defilement very seriously. That is also part of our as the best interest of the Child is our guiding principle.
“We hope that this case serves as a deterrent to those who think they can act with impunity against children and get away with it.
“We will continue to ensure that all offenders face the full wrath of the law as no stone will be left unturned in the fight to get justice.
“We have made progress as the survivor now has a voice and is no longer stigmatised but supported by all to shame the culprit.
“Edo SUBEB has remained committed to preventing and eliminating all forms of child abuse as the Child Right Act and the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act, signed into law, are the statutes upon which Ezemodhe was convicted,” Obodo said.