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Court jails man 10 years for defiling nine-year-old daughter

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An Anambra State Children, Sexual and Gender-based Violence Court sitting in Awka, the state capital has sentenced a middle-aged man, Kenneth Nwangu, to 10 years imprisonment on Monday, for defiling his nine-year-old daughter and only child.

The court pronounced the judgment after the prosecution proved with compelling evidence that the defendant was guilty of the three-count charge levelled against him.

He was consequently sentenced to seven years imprisonment on count one of the charges – having sexual intercourse with a nine-year-old, an offence punishable under Section 34 of the Child Rights Law of Anambra State of Nigeria 2004.

The court also sentenced the defendant to two years imprisonment on count two – inflicting physical injuries on his victim and one-year imprisonment on count three – causing emotional and psychological abuse on the victim.

The two offences are punishable under Sections 4 and 16 of the Violence Against Persons, Prohibition and Protection, Laws of Anambra State of Nigeria 2017.

The Court in its ruling, relied on evidence presented by prosecution witnesses; including the victim and also took cognisance of evidence that the defendant had been taking care of the victim from about one year after the mother left them, among others.

The court gave the defendant opportunity to explain why he was raping his child, and should not be given the maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

Responding, the defendant initially denied defiling his child, claiming it was a woman he usually left the child with following the wife’s separation that got him arrested by the police over the allegation.

He, however, later admitted to the crime and pleaded for leniency, and his defence counsel also pleaded for mercy of the court on the premise that the defendant was a first-time offender and had the victim as his only child, among others.

The court ordered that the seven-, two– and one-year prison terms should run concurrently and that the victim should still remain in the care of the Anambra State Government.

Reacting to the judgment, the Anambra State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Prof. Sylvia Ifemeje, who led the prosecution team in the case, described the judgment as a welcome development, saying it would serve as a deterrent to other offenders.

Ifemeje stressed that the state government’s zero tolerance for sexual assaults is non-negotiable.

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