A man has been arraigned in Anambra State, South-east Nigeria, for allegedly raping his 12-year-old daughter in Abacha, a community in Idemili North Local Government Area of the state.
The suspect, Arinze Obiwenite, was arrested in response to a tip-off by a whistleblower who contacted the State Commissioner for Women and Social Welfare, Ify Obinabo, about the incident.
Chidinma Ikeanyiownu, a media aide to Mrs Obinabo, disclosed this in a statement on Saturday.
She said the commissioner, on receiving the information, quickly swung into action, by facilitating a raid of the suspect’s residence in collaboration with security agencies.
The victim has since been rescued by the commissioner, she said.
“(Before) embarking on the raid, the women and social welfare boss first paid a courtesy visit to the Traditional Ruler of Abacha, Igwe Nwabunwanne Godwin Odiegwu to notify him of her planned activities in his community before taking action,” Ms Ikeanyiownu said.
She said the traditional ruler, during the raid operation, revealed that the suspect had presented himself as a Christian who gave solutions to people seeking for answers, but the community members did not initially know he was committing the evil act.
The traditional ruler told the team that the community got to know of the suspect’s activities when he accused some young boys in the community of raping the daughter.
The suspect, according to the monarch, failed to honour a royal invitation extended to him over the allegation, prompting the young boys to storm his residence, where they were utterly disappointed at what they saw.
“On getting to his house, they discovered that he locked up his children, including the 12-year-old who he had alleged that some young men of the community had raped. When questioned, the daughter revealed that her father locked them up in the room for five years and that he always has carnal knowledge of her while he fingers the younger one,” the traditional ruler was quoted as saying.
Paul Omofia, the traditional prime minister of the community, on his part, said the youths after the discovery, wanted to take laws into their hands by burning the man alive but that the traditional ruler intervened.
Although residents of the community had wrongly believed that Mr Obiwenite, the suspect, was married to three wives, whom they forced him to break an oath binding them together, the suspect later confessed that he is married to 11 wives. But he does not live with any of them.
Ms Ikeanyiownu said some of the children revealed that they fled their home because their father was sexually harassing them.
The commissioner, who visited the children where they were temporarily being cared for, assured them that they would get justice as well as be provided with a more conducive environment for growth and proper care, Ms Ikeanyiownu said.
When interrogated by Mrs Obinabo, the suspect denied the allegations, but was quick to ask the traditional ruler for forgiveness and appealed that they should resolve the case out of court.
The traditional ruler rejected the man’s appeal, according to the statement.
The suspect has a Christian ministry known as ‘Holy Trinity Healing Ministry’ which he allegedly uses charms to operate, asking people to come ostensibly to get “solutions to the problems,” the statement added.
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“Some fetish items were discovered at his house and he was made to destroy them in the presence of the villagers.
“Some of the things discovered included a long list of a paper where he wrote down names of those he has killed and will kill, a hollow grave at his backyard where he admitted he stays to make his incantations if need be and some native medicines which he said were also diabolic,” she said.
Arrest and arraignment
Ms Ikeanyiownu said the suspect was arrested by the police in the state and later transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department in Awka.
She added that the suspect was later, on Wednesday, arraigned before Children and Gender Based Violence Magistrate Court in Awka, where he was remanded at State Correctional Centre, Amawbia.
“The 12-year-old daughter has been taken to hospital for medical examination and possible treatment,” she stated.
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