HomeCourt room newsCourt Remands Lawyer Who Allegedly Abused Her 11-Year-Old House Help

Court Remands Lawyer Who Allegedly Abused Her 11-Year-Old House Help

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The Children, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Magistrate Court in Awka, Anambra State, has remanded a female lawyer who allegedly abused her 11-year-old house help in the state.

The lawyer, Adachukwu Cukelu-Okafor, was said to have used a broken bottle, knife and electric iron to “brutalise” the child who began staying with her on 5 January.

The incident happened in Akpaka, Onitsha, in Onitsha North Local Government Area of Anambra State, after Mrs Cukelu-Okafor reportedly accused the house help of touching her daughter.

Governor Charles Soludo of Anambra State, days after the incident, said his administration had begun the prosecution of Ms Cukelu-Okafor over the abuse of the house help.

The lawyer later reportedly went into hiding which prompted the Commissioner for Women and Social Welfare in Anambra, Ify Obinabo, to declare her wanted.

Following Ms Cukelu-Okafor’s disappearance, Nigeria’s Minister of Women Affairs, Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye, placed a N2 million bounty on the lawyer.

The lawyer would later surrender herself to the police in Awka, Anambra State.

Remand

Ms Cukelu-Okafor was arraigned on Wednesday on a two-count charge of willful infliction of physical injuries on the house girl, according to a statement by Chidinma Ikeanyionwu, the media aide to the Commissioner for Women and Social Welfare in Anambra.

The statement said the offence of inflicting physical injuries is punishable under Section 4 (1) of the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition and Protection) Laws of Anambra State of Nigeria 2017.

Ms Ikeanyionwu said the defendant pleaded not guilty when the charge was read to her.

The media aide said Chijioke Nwankwo, counsel to the defendant, subsequently applied for bail, but the court declined the application and remanded the defendant in the custody of the State Criminal Investigative Department in Awka.

The court adjourned the matter until 28 February for a ruling on the defendant’s bail application.

When asked why the defendant took a long time to report to the police, the defence counsel, Mr Nwankwo, told reporters after the court session that he was not aware that his client was declared wanted and that a bounty was placed on her.

He explained that he took Ms Cukelu-Okafor to the police as soon as he was contracted to represent her at the court.

The defence counsel accused the state Ministry of Women and Social Welfare of already carrying out “trial by ordeal,” which he said was not in the best interest of the case.

The commissioner reacts

Reacting, the Commissioner of Women and Social Welfare, Mrs Obinabo expressed her trust in the court to do justice to the matter, pointing out that she would soon embark on a media sensitisation programme to enlighten residents of the state on the dangers and consequences of child abuse.

She appealed to the residents to shun all forms of social vices in society, especially vices that endanger the life of a child.

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