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Court acquits 76 – year – old man of rape

Moses Oyediran, Enugu

An Enugu High Court presided over by Justice C.C. Ani has discharged and acquitted a 76 – year – old man, Wilfred Ogbodo, accused of defiling a teenager, Blessing Chinedu (9), daughter of his tenant in 2015.

Ogbodo was alleged to have had carnal knowledge of the victim on June 1, 2015 at Akwuke Awkunanaw in Enugu South Local Government of the state.

The incident was said to have happened when the victim’s parents were living in Ogbodo’s compound.

The prosecution tendered four exhibits, including the defendant’s statement at the MTD Police Station, a medical report, Blessing’s statement and that of her mother.

According to Mrs. Ogechi Chinedu, the victim’s mother, on June 6, 2015 at about 6.00pm, while she was sitting outside their apartment with other neighbours, she noticed her daughter’s abnormal steps.

On enquiry, Blessing told her that “a few days ago the landlord (Ogbodo) took her to his room upstairs and inserted his fingers into her private part and thereafter, told her to go downstairs.

“At another occasion, she said that the landlord called her again and took her inside his room and laid her on the couch and inserted his male organ inside her vagina and her anus until blood started coming out.”

She further claimed that Ogbodo then wiped the blood with his handkerchief and his shirt and warned her daughter not to tell her mother or else he would kill her with a knife.

Another prosecution witness, Dr. Ohayi Robsam, a consultant at the Enugu state University Teaching Hospital told the court that his medical investigation of the victim revealed that she has had recurrent sexual defilement and the last episode seemed to have taken place a week before the day she was presented for investigation.

He said his findings showed that there was repeated passage of solid object through the opening of her vagina thereby leading to the widening of the hymen.

Also, under cross examination, Blessing admitted that a particular individual other than the defendant had in the past sexually defiled her number of times.

In his defense, Ogbodo told the court that he only flogged Blessing for dropping an empty sachet of pure water in his compound in spite of repeated warnings against littering the compound with dirt.

He denied the allegations of sexually molesting the defendant, insisting that before the incident he was not in good terms with her parents and gave instances of misunderstandings that occurred between him and the defendat’s parents.

The defense called four witnesses, including his wife, Mrs. Favour Ogbodo, who also testified in his favour. The case has been lingering since 2016.

In her ruling which lasted one and half hours, Justice C.C. Ani discharged and acquitted Ogbodo relying on the testimony of the medical consultant, contradictions and inconsistencies in some aspects of the evidence adduced by Blessing and her mother.