James Onuoha, the 42-year-old staff of Mobil Producing Nigeria (ExxonMobil), who allegedly raped a 14-year-old girl in the Ajah area of Lagos State, has been arraigned at an Igbosere Magistrate’s Court.
It is recalled that the engineer, who is also the landlord of the house where the victim’s guardians live, gave the girl N1, 000 to pacify her after he allegedly had canal knowledge of her and cautioned her against revealing what transpired between them.
But a three-year-old daughter of the tenant, who witnessed the rape, was said to have exposed the suspect and the case was subsequently reported at the Langbasa Police Division and later transferred to the Zone 2 Police Command.
The Zone 2 Police Command, Thursday, arraigned James on four counts of rape and indecent assault.
The Investigating Police Officer, Stephen Agbonedeso, said the incident happened on Samuel Amoore Street, Idowu Estate, Oke-Ira Nla, Ajah.
The charges read in part, “That you, Onuoha James, on January 4, 2016, at about 11.30am, on Samuel Amoore Street, Idowu Estate, Oke-Ira Nla, Ajah, Lagos, in the Lagos Magisterial District, willfully did an indecent act to one (name withheld), thereby committing an offence.
“That you did have unlawful sexual intercourse with one (name withheld) without her consent, thereby committing an offence.”
The police prosecutor, Inspector Asu Feddy, said the offences were punishable under sections 134, 258, 135 and 137 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, Nigeria, 2011.
However, the defendant pleaded not guilty to the charges.
His defence counsel asked for his bail in liberal terms, arguing that the offence was bailable.
The Chief Magistrate, O.A. Ogunbowale, however, admitted him to bail in the sum of N2m with two sureties in like sum, adding that he should be remanded in the Kirikiri Prison pending the perfection of his bail.
Ogunbowale adjourned the case till February 23 for the release of advice from the Directorate of Public Prosecutions, DPP, adding that he should be remanded in the Kirikiri Prison pending the perfection of his bail terms.
The Director of the Office of the Public Defender, Mrs. Omotola Rotimi, who expressed displeasure at the bail, said the magistrate should not have heard the matter in the first place.
According to her, the Lagos State Government had taken up the case and would ensure that justice was served.
“The Attorney General of Justice has taken up the case and we will follow it to the end.
“We have been involved in this case from the onset and it is very inappropriate for the magistrate, who acknowledged that the case was not within her purview, to grant bail.
“You said something is not within your jurisdiction, and you still granted bail. Why hear it at all?” the Director stated.