By Isaac Olamikan, Senior Correspondent, Benin
A 53 year old herbalist, Jacob Alonge, has been sentenced to 21 years imprisonment by a magistrate court in Evbuoriaria, Benin City presided over by Mrs. D. I. Adamaigbo for raping and impregnating his 17 year old daughter, Gift Alonge(now late).
The herbalist, from Ososo in Akoko Edo Local Government Area of Edo State, was sentenced on three count charges of unlawful possession of fetish wrap of the victims’ pubic hair; that he unlawfully and indecently had carnal knowledge of his biological daughter and repeated sexual assault and in the process he impregnated her.
Gift, who was five months pregnant and four others, who were helping to prosecute the case, died in a ghastly motor accident on the 16th of January this year when they were travelling to Benin for the judgment.
Other victims of the dastardly accident were Miss Rhoda Braimoh and Miss Promise Ezekiel staff of a non governmental organization, Brave Heart Initiative for Youth and Women (BHI) which has been helping in prosecuting the case. Also lost in the accident were Gift’s maternal uncle, Mr Ukere Adagbogu and the driver of the vehicle they were travelling in, Paul Opashi.
On hearing about the mishap that day, the convict recanted his plea from guilty to not guilty and the case had to start afresh.
In her ruling Magistrate D.I. Adamaigbo (Mrs) sentenced Jacob to five years, two years and 14 years respectively on the three count charges and they are to run consecutively.
judgement, Mrs. Adamaigbo said:“It has been established beyond reasonable doubt that the accused had carnal knowledge of the victim as she said in her statement ‘My father by name Jacob Alonge used to wake me up at night and say I should follow him for prayers.
“When we reach inside the bush, he will force me and have sexual intercourse with me.”
Reacting to the judgment, Executive Director, BHI, Priscillia Usiobaifo said: “We have seen how resilience can prove worthwhile. I am very happy that there is no option of fine because we have had several cases that we won and they will give options of fine and this has encouraged us and those that died did not die in vain.”