From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
A Bayelsa State High Court sitting in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State on Wednesday sentenced to five years in imprisonment a 50-year-old man, Preye Ojoko for the serial rape of his sister-in-law.
Ojoko, father of five was arrested and prosecuted for the raping of the victim since she was nine-year-old and later at age 17 under the guise of training her in school.
The prosecuting counsel, Kemesuode Wodu told the Court that the accused started the serial rape of the victim when she was nine-years-old but she was rescued and taken back to the village after the initial discovery by the wife, who is a Vice Principal in one of the public schools in the state.
He disclosed that the accused, after convincing his wife that he has changed for good, lured back the unsuspecting victim to the house under the pretence of his readiness to support her university education.
According to Wodu, the accused resumed his serial rape of the now 17- year- old girl until she complained to her guidance counsellor who later reported to the school’s Principal who raised alarm and reported the case to the International Federation of Women lawyers (FIDA) in the state.
The Presiding Judge, Justice T.Y.Abasi after listening to the submissions of the prosecution counsel, and the defence counsel Stanley Damabide , sentenced the accused to five years in jail.
Reacting to the development, the acting chairperson of FIDA in Bayelsa State, Ebimietei Ekeowei Ottah described the hearing and ruling of the Court as swift and commendable.
She however expressed concern over the issue of settlement out of court by parents of rape victims in the state.
” The judicial system was swift, fast and helped in passing quick message to other rapists that the law is now on the side of the victims of rape and defilement. It is pathetic that some parents will negotiate the future of their children for money. In the last two months, we have recorded five cases of defilement and three cases of rape from December last year till March this year”