A Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday fixed July 2 to hear a suit filed by one Mrs. Ngozi Ugwu claiming N130 million as damages on behalf of her niece over alleged rape.
The suit, which was earlier slated for hearing yesterday, suffered another adjournment due to the absence of the judge, Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia, who is said to be away on official assignment.
A new date, July 2, was therefore fixed to hear the suit.
Ugwu filed the suit on April 23, 2013 seeking a declaration that the defilement of her seven-year-old niece amounted to a breach of her right to dignity of human person.
Joined as first to third respondents in the suit are: Kazeem Mohammed, 40, Tobi Daramola, 19, and James Anieskin, 19.
The fourth to sixth respondents are CSP Lucy Abimbola (Area Crime Officer, Idimu Police Command), Miss Antonia (Prosecutor of court 6, Ikeja Magistrates’ court) and the Commissioner of Police, Lagos state.
The applicant is claiming the sum of N100 million each against the first to third respondents as aggravated and exemplary damages for violating the infant’s right to dignity of human person and freedom as well as torture.
She is also claiming the sum of N20 million against the first respondent, five million naira against the second respondent and five million naira against the third respondent, as general damages.
In the originating motion, the applicant averred that the respondents were her neighbours at Greenland Estate, LASU-Isheri Road, Alimosho, Lagos, where she also resided with her husband, her two kids and her niece (the infant).
She averred that sometimes in January, 2013, she noticed blood stains on one of the infant’s under-pant and on interrogation, the infant confessed that the first to third respondents had been defying her.
According to Ugwu, the infant said that while she (Ugwu) was away in Abuja during the period, the first to third respondents paid frequent visits to their home whenever they discovered that her husband had gone to work.
She averred that the respondents would threaten the infant with a knife in order to have their way and would warn her never to reveal the incident to anyone.
After interrogating her niece, she said that the respondents come to put their “wee-wee” in her “bum-bum” each time my husband was away and would buy her Five Alive juice and Gala beef roll.
“I immediately reported the incident to the Ikotun police station, which swung into action and arrested the third respondent, but the first and second respondents had already absconded.
“To my surprise, while the Ikotun police were still making frantic efforts to arrest the other respondents who were at large, a signal came from the Area ‘M’ Idimu command, for the case to be transferred there.
“The respondents were later arraigned before an Ikeja Magistrates’ Court, after which the prosecutor, one Miss Antonia, applied that the infant be remanded at the Girls Correctional Centre, Idi-Araba.
“I was later informed that on their way to the centre, the prosecutor threatened the infant to change her story or be locked up in a room for five days, without seeing her family,” Ugwu said.
The applicant therefore sought an order directing the sixth respondent (Commissioner of police) to restrain the fifth respondent (prosecutor) from taking part in the prosecution of the first to third respondents.
She also is seeking an order of perpetual injunction restraining the fourth respondent (Idimu Area Crime Officer) from taking part in investigating the first to third respondents. (NAN)