■ Man lands in prison for torturing 3 own kids
A recent incident at the Abuja High Court clearly typified the popular saying that wonders shall never end. In fact, the presiding judge of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Court No.28 sitting in Apo District, Justice Valentine Ashi, lawyers and others court that day were shocked by tales of wickedness allegedly meted to his three children by a 40-year old civil servant.
The judge was so touched that he expressly ordered that the man, Alex Okafor, who works with the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), be remanded in prison custody for an alleged act of violence and inflicting injuries on his three children; aged 8, 10 and 11(names withheld). His remand was sequel to his arraignment by the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and his inability to meet the bail conditions granted him by the court.
He was docked on a three-count charge under the provisions of the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act (2015), in the case of FRN Vs Alex Okafor with charge number CR/161/18.
Okafor, whom Daily Sun could not confirm why his wife had allegedly left their home, resides at 47 Sector F, Pipeline Road, Bhazango Layout, Kubwa, Abuja.
He was charged with willfully inflicting physical injury on his three children; two daughters and a son, using horse whip (koboko) and electric wire thereby committing an offence punishable under section 2 (11) of the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act, 2015.
The defendant pleaded not guilty to all the counts. Then his counsel moved an application relying on a nine-paragraph affidavit and a written address to support his request. However, the prosecution opposed the motion for bail with a 20-paragraph counter affidavit on the ground that the defendant constituted a threat to the children whom he was alleged to have constantly unleashed terror on. The judge said the court must uphold his fundamental right to bail since there was no attachment to justify the oral submission on the alleged act of violence committed by the defendant against the children.
Okafor was therefore granted bail in the sum of N500,000 and two sureties in like sum; one of which must be his pastor and another; a civil servant.
There was a mild drama in the court over inconsistency on the church the defendant attended. In his statement to NAPTIP, Okafor alleged to be a Catholic; a position he changed at the court when the judge asked him where he worshipped.
He told the judge that he belonged to the Kubwa Parish of Mountain of Fire and Miracles (MFM), which prompted the judge to ask him the name of his pastor and he replied “Pastor Oni.”
He was also not able to mention the name of the Executive Secretary of NHIS, where he said he works; when asked by the judge: “I don’t know the name of the man because he has been having issues with the EFCC.” The seeming inconsistency might have prompted the presiding judge to include his pastor; whoever he is, as one of the sureties.
Regardless, the defendant could not fulfill the bail conditions and was thereafter remanded in Kuje Prison pending when he met the conditions, while the matter was adjourned to June 19, 2018, for further hearing.
Okafor was said to have tormented his children, who are currently in NAPTIP custody to the level that they get paranoid anytime they hear his voice.
In the main, the enforcement arm of NAPTIP recently upped its operations nationwide, culminating in the apprehension of many culprits, especially violators of children.
One of the heartrending cases that the agency intervened in the FCT was that of gross abuse and violence against a less than two-year-old child in Kuje. The culprit, Khadijat Yahaya, 30, allegedly inflicted physical and emotional pains on her stepson (names withheld), by dipping the child’s hands in boiling water for attempting to eat some beans meal (moi moi) in the house. She was also alleged to have left injuries on the boy’s penis and buttocks; prompting neighbours to alert NAPTIP.
Daily Sun learnt that the agency’s Rapid Response Squad immediately swung into action, and nabbed Khadijat and her husband, a motor mechanic near Zuba, after laying siege for them in the early hours of December 23, 2017.
Of the 36 states, the VAPP Act 2015 has been domesticated in just three; Anambra, Ebonyi and Oyo. However, the implementation of the Act, which rests squarely on NAPTIP is presently only in the FCT.