A High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, has sentenced a 39-year-old man, Justice Aniele, to life imprisonment for unlawful sexual intercourse with a 14-year-old girl.
Aniele, who is a pastor with the Assemblies of God, raped the 14-year-old orphan who was under his care and got her pregnant at Amaji community in the Omuma Local Government Area of Rivers State on December 11, 2017.
The presiding judge, Justice Augusta Kingsley-Chuku, in her judgement, found the accused guilty of taking advantage of the minor and having unlawful sexual intercourse with her, which resulted in the birth of a baby boy who later died.
She said Aniele did not show any remorse for his actions by attempting to abort the pregnancy more than once and for threatening to kill the victim if she revealed the truth to anyone.
Justice Kingsley-Chuku said the offence was punishable under Section 32 (2) of the Rivers State Child Rights Law 2009 and sentenced him to life imprisonment.
Speaking to journalists, the counsel representing the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Chisom Anyalebechi, expressed happiness that the accused was convicted for the crime.
“It will serve as a deterrent to others because many people are getting away with it and victims and their families are sometimes complicit,” she added.
On her part, the state prosecution counsel, Lilian Franklin, said the judgement was a maximum sentence, adding that justice had been served for the victim and the state.