By Egufe Yafugborhi – Port Harcourt

Police in Rivers state have in the past 48 hours arraigned a university professor and a Church leader for separate charges bordering on sexual abuse as the state chapter of the International Federation of Women Lawyers, FIDA, invigorates its relentless drive to check rampant defilement against women.

With FIDA pushing for speedy justice, Prof David Ogbonna, of the Rivers State University was arraigned Tuesday by the Rivers Police Command for alleged unlawful and indecent sexual assault of a female student.

The day before, Felix Okpara Duruebube, Overseer of Mercy House Church International, had been similarly remanded to the Port Harcourt Correctional Centre after failure to meet up bail condition on arraignment before Chief Magistrate Anugbum O.N of Magistrate Court 24 for alleged child defilement.

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The State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (SCIID) arraigned Duruebube, 39 on charge sheet N0.PMC/1025c/2022 on two

Count 1 read that, “You Felix Okpara Duruebube between the month of April 2021 to May, 2022 at Ray JPE Hotel Rumuokoro, Mercy House Church Branch Iwofe and N0.42A Road 12 Rumuaholu PortHarcourt in PortHarcourt Magisterial District did unlawfully and sexually abused one ‘f’ a girl of 16/17 years by inserting your penis into her vagina and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 32(1)(2) of Child rights at CAP 50 law of Rivers State, 2003.

“Count 2 read that :You Felix Okpara Duruebube sometimes in month of December, 2021 at Mercy house church International headquarters Eliozu in the same aforementioned Magisterial District did unlawfully force one ‘f’ a girl of 16/17 years old to take an oath with you not to sleep with another man or tell anybody that she is having sex with you, else she will run mad and die thereby committed an offence under section 208 of the criminal code of CAP 37 Vol .11 laws of Nigeria 2004.”

The accused pleaded not guilty to the charges and was granted bail by Chief Magistrate Anugbum O.N with two surety in like of 2 Million Naira and one of the sureties must be a Bishop, the second surety, a relation with landed property within the Magisterial District.

The court remanded the accused to prison custody for failure to meet the bail conditions as the case was adjourned to July 7,2022 for continuation of trial.

Adata Bio- Briggs, Rivers Chairperson, International Federation of Women Lawyers, FIDA, pushing for the trial on behalf of the alleged victim, said the organization is pleased with the condition of bail given to the accused by the trial Magistrate.

The FIDA chairperson tasked religious faithful to test all spirit and mind worship centres they go to, frowning at the situation where men of God encourage settlement of criminal matters to save face just as she vowed that FIDA will follow up to ensure justice is served in the matter.

On the case of Prof Ogbonna brought before Chief Magistrate Menenen F. Poromon of Chief Magistrate Court 13, Port Harcourt, The charge sheet read that :You Professor David Ogbonna on 16th day of May, 2022 at Rivers State University campus, Oruwokwo in Obio/Akpor Magisterial district but triable in PortHarcourt Magisterial district did unlawfully and indecently assault a ‘f’ aged twenty years by inserting your penis into her vagina thereby committed an offence punishable under section 360 of the criminal code CAP 37 Vol.11 of laws of Rivers State,Nigeria 1999.

The accused pleaded not guilty to the charge as his defence lawyer, O.C.Higher King urged the court to grant the him bail on self recognisance, considering his status in the society.

Emi Jim George, holding watching brief for the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Rivers Branch urged the court not to grant the accused bail in view of alleged threat to the life of the alleged victim.

Chief Magistrate Poromon after listening to argument of the both lawyers granted the accused bail in like sum of 2 million naira and that the surety must be residing in the Magisterial district as sitting was adjourned to July 20,2022.

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