The suspect was arrested by the police following a petition by the State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development where an aunt to the victim lodged the complaint.
The 45 year old Ikechukwu Nwaji from Elugwu Ettam Okpuitumo in Ikwo Local Government Area of the State was arraigned on a 3 count charge of assault, having carnal knowledge of the 7 year old girl and intent to commit felony.
The offences, according to the charge, were punishable under section 34, sub section 2 of Ebonyi State Child Rights and Related Matters Law 2010 and section 352 of criminal code cap 33 volume one Laws of Ebonyi state 2009.
After reading the charge, the defendant pleaded not guilty and was subsequently remanded in prison custody by the Presiding Magistrate Stella Ogoke while the case was adjourned indefinitely.
Speaking to journalists, the aunt to the victim, Miss Esther Nwafor explained that she had been receiving death threats since she reported the matter to the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development.
Miss Nwafor who is in hiding alleged that she was openly threatened by some of the relations to the defendant and appealed to security agencies and human right groups to provide her with protection and ensure that justice was done on the matter.
Reacting to the development, the Head, Department of Child Development, Ministry of Women Affairs, Mr. Godwin Igwe described the alleged threat as unfortunate but emphasized that efforts were being made to give Miss Nwafor protection.
Mr. Igwe noted that the minor was receiving medical attention at Federal Teaching Hospital Abakaliki (FETHA) as medical examination showed that she was violated repeatedly for years.
Efforts to get the reaction of relations to the defendant over the alleged death threat were not successful.