Minister drags Enugu couple to court over defilement of 9-year-old daughter

The Minister of Women Affairs, Uju Ohanenye, instituted a suit against a couple, Ifeanyi Enwelum and Christabel Enwelum, on Thursday in Enugu over the breach of rights and defilement of their nine-year-old daughter.

Counsel to the minister, Chuma Oguejiofor, told journalists on Saturday that the suit, number E/987/2023, was filed at the Enugu State High Court to enforce the fundamental rights of the minor.

Mr Enwelum reportedly had carnal knowledge of the minor between January 2022 and June 10, 2023, at his 13/15 Onoh Crescent, GRA, Enugu, residence in Enugu North Local Government Area.

Mr Oguejiofor said the suit sought six prayers from the court,  including that the minor is entitled to respect for her dignity and should not be subjected to inhuman treatment.

Also, a declaration that the couple’s attempt to sweep earlier charge MEN/319C/2023 under the carpet was against the law.

“That taking the minor to their residence, Number 13/15 Onoh Crescent GRA, Enugu, to live with them as if nothing had happened constituted mental, emotional or psychological torture for the minor.

“We are also seeking an order of the court that the applicant in the person of the Minister of Women Affairs and the ministry take immediate custody of the minor and cater for her needs henceforth.

“Fifth prayer is a court order restraining the respondents by themselves or through their agents or privies from having anything whatsoever to do with the minor till she reaches the age of 21 years.

“The sixth prayer is that respondents be made to pay N10 million damages jointly and severally,’’ Mr Oguejiofor said.

The minor’s biological mother, Christabel Enwelum, was reported to be negligent as she did not protect her daughter from repeated penetration of her vagina.

Samuel Ndukwu, a medical practitioner at the Nigerian Police Clinic, Enugu, confirmed the penetrations.

A bail earlier granted to Mr Enwelum by an Enugu magistrate’s court caused a public outcry, making the minister query its rationale.

The minister queried the rationale for the bail, considering the nature of the crime and the spate of sexual and gender-based violence in the country, especially in Enugu State.

At a news conference on October 17, the minister said the ministry would take up legal action against the couple to ensure that the minor gets justice, as well as serve as a deterrent to others who might want to toe the same line.

“The matter was taken to court, but unfortunately, a magistrate released the man on bail,” she stated.

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