Less than three weeks after the commissioning of a Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Court, in Lagos on Tuesday, February 20, 2018, delivered its first judgement by sentencing a 58-year-old tailor, Cobina Iziejen to 60 years imprisonment for defiling a 12-year-old girl, name withheld.
The sexual offences court commissioned on February 1, 2018, by Justice Opeyemi Oke, the Lagos State chief judge, convicted Iziejen after he confessed to having 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 judgment, 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 freely especially in schools.
“I cannot agree more with the prosecuting counsel that incidences of rape have 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 sexually 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 it’s 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 guilty 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,” the judge said.
However, B.T. Boye, the chief state prosecutor, said that while the accused, who is the 3rd defendant in the matter, pleaded guilty, the other two denied the allegation.
According to Boye, “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 2nd defendant, Olorunwa has been having sexual intercourse with her during break time.
“The headteacher 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 severally 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,” he said.
Meanwhile, in his confessional statement, Iziejen had stated that the girl often comes to his residence at Orimedu to sew clothes.
He said: “On that fateful, she came to my house and told me she wanted to sew a dress but didn’t have any fabric. I discovered a funny character she exhibited but since I knew I had anemia, I advised myself not to have intimacy with any female.
“I couldn’t hold the urge anymore since she was acting in a way I didn’t want people to notice her presence. I gave in and had intercourse with her on three different occasions.
“But after the intercourse, on the first day, I gave her N1,500 because she told me she wanted to buy books at school.