By Frank Ulom
A 25-year-old man, Samuel Ita has been sentenced to life imprisonment for raping his 15-year-old cousin in Cross River State.
Converseer learned that Ita was found guilty and sentenced on Tuesday, 8 February 2024, for his abhorrent actions, highlighting the severity of the crime and the lasting impact it has on the survivor.
In addition to the life sentence, Ita was also ordered to pay one million naira (N1,000,000) in compensation to the survivor.
He was convicted and sentenced by the Cross River State High Court sitting in Calabar and presided over by Justice Blessing Egwu.
One other was also sentenced to two years in an issue involving rape.
According to Basic Rights Counsel Initiative, BRCI, a non-governmental organisation saddled with the responsibility of protecting children, the successful prosecution and sentencing of Ita would not have been possible without the dedicated efforts of various stakeholders, including the Ministry of Justice, FIDA (International Federation of Women Lawyers), Basic Rights Counsel Initiative, the Nigerian Police, and all those involved in ensuring that justice was served for the survivor.
“Their commitment to upholding the rule of law and protecting survivors of rape is commendable and reflects a collective determination to combat such heinous crimes.
“…the case demonstrates that the fight against rape is far from over. It is imperative for society as a whole to stand united in condemning Rape and advocating for stricter measures to prevent such atrocities from occurring. By raising awareness, supporting survivors, and holding perpetrators accountable, a safer and more just society will be created for all.”
According to a study by BRCI in 2022, 22 case records of sexual assault victims were treated at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, UCTH.
The incidence of reported sexual assault in this study was 2.1% with a rising trend observed. Age range was from 4 to 23 years. Six (27.3%) victims were primary school pupils. Twelve (54.5%) victims had not attained menarche, and 20 (90.9%) cases were single.
Recorded places of assault were commonly along a bush track (36.4%) and a nearby cemetery (22.7%).
Time of assault was mainly in the evening (50.0%). Identity of the assailant was known in 7 (31.8%) cases.
Commonest weapon used by the assailant was a knife (36.4%).