The police in Edo State on Wednesday arraigned a 70-year-old man, Francis Ezomo, in court for allegedly raping a 9-year old girl.
Mr. Ezomo, alongside two of his sons, Nosa and Festus, is facing a two-count charge of conspiracy and defilement at a magistrate court in the state.
The victim is a relative of Mr. Ezomo’s wife and was living under the care of the Ezomos when she was allegedly raped by the man and his two sons.
Sudden changes in the victim’s behaviour while in school was said to have attracted the attention of the school headmistress who discovered that the minor had been sexually abused.
When the state government was informed of the development, Governor Godwin Obaseki ordered that the alleged culprits be handed over to the police and a full investigation conducted into the matter.
Inside the courtroom, the minor, who is now under the custody of the state Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, broke into tears when she sighted her guardian and others standing in the dock.
The Permanent Secretary at the ministry, Julie Olatunji, told the court that it was discovered, through medical examination, that the girl’s hymen had been broken and infected.
She is undergoing treatment in an hospital, the permanent secretary told the court.
The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charge.
Simeon Atalor, counsel to Mr. Ezomo, who is the first accused, applied for bail for him, pleading that he was ill and visually-impaired.
The court granted Mr. Ezomo N100, 000 bail with a surety in like sum. But his sons were, however, denied bail.
The case was adjourned to April 19.