By Archibong Jeremiah
A Cross River State High Court sitting in Calabar presided over by Hon. Justice Elias Abuo has convicted one Okem Benjamin, of rape and sentenced him to life imprisonment for repeatedly defiling a 12 year old girl over a period.
In his judgment, Justice Abuo also lambasted the guardian of the innocent victim for exposing the victim to the vulnerable environment which the convict took advantage of.
The case was reported to Basic Rights Counsel Initiative, a leading human rights organization in the State on the 11th of February, 2013.
The organization dutifully documented the case, supported the victim, pressed for criminal charges on the accused and meticulously watched the complainant’s brief throughout the prosecution of the case in court.
Trial initially commenced at the Family Court Division of the High Court in Calabar, however, due to the problems presently bedevilling the Family Courts in Cross River State, the case was subsequently transferred to the High Court in Suit No. HC/16C/2014 (The State Vs Okem Benjamin) where judgment was eventually delivered on the 25th November, 2015.
The judgement incidentally, came on the day same day the Basic Rights Counsel Initiative, had other activities billed to mark the United Nations International Day For Elimination Of Violence Against Women.
Basic Rights Counsel Initiative is a registered not-for-profit making organization based in Calabar, Cross River State and is committed to the protection and promotion of the rights of children and indigent women.