Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Court, Lagos, yesterday sentenced a 58-year-old tailor, Cobina Iziejen, to 60 years imprisonment for defiling a 12-year-old girl (name withheld).
The court commissioned on February 1 by the Lagos State Chief Judge, Justice Opeyemi Oke, convicted the Iziejen after he confessed to have slept with the victim (a primary five pupil) on three different occasions.
Iziejen was arraigned alongside two others – Raimi Jimoh (38) and Arowolo Kazeem Olorunwa (35) – on a three-count charge of defilement of a child.
The accused committed the offence sometimes in 2017 around Orimedu Town, Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos.
While delivering the judgement, Justice Sybil Nwaka said: “The prosecutor, earlier in his address, said that issue of rape and defilement offences is now rampant; a situation where our children cannot freely move around especially in schools.
“I cannot agree more with the prosecuting counsel that incidence of rape has taken a new astronomical dimension in our society.
“The rate at which men in our society are prowling around, looking for young underage children to defile is alarming.
“Children, especially the girl child, are no longer safe in the custody of uncles, brothers even fathers, this is sad.
“Our children especially the girl child should be encouraged to cry out and report any sexual assault against them as this is the only way to correct this dire situation.
“We desire to make the city of Lagos and its environs safe for our children.
“These children are leaders of tomorrow and as such not to be ruined in their formative years.
“The state of Lagos has zero tolerance for sexual offences. In view of the plea of guilt and the facts by the prosecutor, Iziejen is hereby convicted accordingly.
“For these reasons, I hereby sentence you to 60 years imprisonment with hard labour. This is the judgment of this honourable court.”
However, the chief state prosecutor, B. T. Boye, said while the convict, who is the third defendant in the matter, pleaded guilty, the other two denied the allegation.
Boye said: “It was observed by the school authorities that the child was fond of returning late from lunch break during school hours.
“Upon enquiry, the child admitted that the second defendant, Olorunwa, has been having sexual intercourse with her during break time.
“The head teacher of the school probed further and thereafter reported the matter at Akodo Police Station, Ibeju-Lekki.
“It was at the station that the victim (Child X) also mentioned the first and third defendants as persons who have also defiled her several times during break time.
“Also, Iziejen pleaded guilty on February 12, 2018 and Section 137 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015 states that any person who has sexual intercourse with a child commits a felony and upon conviction serves a punishment of imprisonment for life.”