REPORTER: AMECHI ODO
Police in Ebonyi State have arraigned one Friday Okoro before an Nkwagu Magistrate Court for an alleged assault on a minor at her residence in Abakaliki.
The accused was arraigned on a two count charge of conspiracy to commit felony and assault by beating the minor with sticks and gun butt, which caused her harm on the buttocks, hand and face.
According to the charge sheet obtained by Radio Nigeria, the offence is punishable under sections 316 and 335 of the criminal code law of Ebonyi State.
The accused, Friday Okoro, who pleaded not guilty to the offence, was remanded in the National Correctional Facility Abakaliki by the trial Magistrate, Sandra Okorie, who also adjourned the matter till December 7, 2022 for bail application.
Radio Nigeria had gathered that the 15 year old minor at the centre of the litigation lives at No 12 Nwankwo Street Abakaliki where she was physically assaulted alongside her mother by the accused, who claimed to be an operative of Ebubeagu Security Outfit and had been contracted to collect electricity bill from the family.
The victim’s mother, Nnenna Ogbonna, alleged that she was later hand cuffed with her daughter and taken to Ebubeagu office at Government House Abakaliki where the teenager was tied to a tree and tortured over false accusation that she fought the said Ebubeagu operative when he came to collect the electricity bill.
‘’They tied her to a tree and flogged her mercilessly, at a point they hit her with gun butt and she became weak and one of them said they would torture my son, Daniel, as punishment for others who ran away when they came to arrest them.
“It was while i was crying loud that the Commander of Ebubeagu, they call him ‘Power’ came and asked what offence we committed and they said we fought Ebubeagu operative who went to collect electricity bill.
“At that point, the Commander said they were foolish as the case should not have been brought to the office but to the Police,’’ she narrated.
Mrs. Ogbonna further alleged that after the Commander of Ebubeagu released them, the same Friday Okoro dragged them to Central Police Station Abakaliki where police observed that her daughter had already been brutalized, a development, which prompted them to arrest and detain him.
‘’The personnel called police who came and dragged us to Central Police Station Abakaliki but on reaching there, the police detained us, only for my daughter to tell them that she was brutalised, she was asked to remove her clothe and what the police saw made them to detain the complainant and asked us to go and treat ourselves,’’ the mother narrated.
The Coordinator, State Taskforce on Gender Based Violence, Mrs. Faithvin Nwanchor, said despite attempts by the operative to deceive the police into miscarrying justice on the matter, the Taskforce swung into action to ensure that the perpetrator was arraigned.
Mrs. Nwanchor explained that the minor had been treated at Gender Based Taskforce Clinic at National Obstetrics and Fistula Centre Abakaliki while her siblings had been released by the police.
When contacted, the Commander of Ebubeagu, Mr. Friday Nnanna, said he would check whether the accused was a member of Ebubeagu Outfit, noting that he was working to ensure that his Outfit jettisoned the use of torture as a means to punish suspects.
EDITED BY CHUKWUBUIKE MADU