REPORTER: CHRISTIAN NWANGENE
The Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs. Uju Ohanenye, has filed a suit before the Enugu State High Court against a couple for alleged defilement of their nine-year-old daughter.
Counsel to the Minister, Mr. Chuma Oguejiofor, told Radio Nigeria in Enugu, that the suit was filed to enforce the fundamental rights of the minor as well as stand as a public interest matter meant to instill decency and morality.
According to the suit, the father of the girl has had several unlawful carnal knowledge of his daughter between January one, 2022 and June ten, 2023 at his 13/15 Onoh Crescent, GRA Enugu residence in Enugu North Local Government Area.
“… a declaration of the court that the minor, who is but about nine-years-old as a citizen of Nigeria is entitled to respect for the dignity of her person and should not be subjected to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment by the Respondents whether acting by themselves or by their agents/privies as enshrined in section 34(1) of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (As Amended).
“A declaration of court that the first respondent(minor’s father) having carnal knowledge of the minor for a period of more than one year, i.e. between Jan. 2022 and June 2023 constitutes an infringement of her right to the dignity of her person as enshrined in section 34(1) of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (As Amended).
“Damages amounting to N10 million jointly and severally from the Respondents,” the Minister insists.
Also, the suit accused the minor’s biological mother of negligence as she did not protect her daughter from repeated sexual abuse by her husband.
A bail earlier granted the respondents by an Enugu Magistrate Court caused public outcry, making the Minister to query the rationale behind it.
The Minister is asking the Enugu State High Court for a declaration that taking of the minor to their residence, at Number 13/15 Onoh Crescent GRA, Enugu, to live with them as if nothing had happened constituted mental, emotional or psychological torture for the minor.
Mrs. Ohanenye is equally seeking an order of the court that the Ministry take immediate custody of the minor and cater for her needs henceforth.
“An order of the Court restraining the Respondents by themselves or through their agents/privies from having anything whatsoever to do with the minor till she reaches the age of 21 years,” the Minister demands.
She said her Ministry would ensure that the minor gets justice to serve as deterrent to others who might want to toe the same line.
EDITED BY CHUKWUBUIKE MADU