A 40-year-old commercial motorcyclist (okada rider), Uche Imo, has appeared before an Apapa Magistrate’s Court in Lagos state for allegedly raping a minor, simply identified as Princess.
Imo, a father of five, was allegedly in the habit of consistently bringing Princess, a 13-year-old girl primary six pupil to a hotel, Julia Guest House, on Yemi Aderemi Street, Igbede, in the Ajangbadi area of the state.
It was gathered that Imo and the pupil were neighbours on Tijani Street, Ajangbadi, and he was employed by Princess’ mother to take her and her sister to school; but Imo was said to have lured the girl with a cake into the hotel.
It was learnt that in one of the instances, Princess declined going inside the hotel room with the suspect, but the manager, William, reportedly persuaded her.
Meanwhile, Princess’ mother said she knew about the ‘sexual relationship’ between her daughter and Imo on February 14, 2016, after he brought Princess and her sister back from an outing on that day.
She said, “Baba Joy (Imo) was my neighbour and was the one taking my children to school. I pay him N200 every day.
“On February 14, he came to me and said he wanted to take them out and I allowed him. He bought meat pie and ice cream for them. When they came back, Helen (Princess’ younger sister) said I should ask her sister what happened between her and Baba Joy.
“I asked her, but she denied that anything happened between them. It was when I started beating her that she confessed that Baba Joy had sex with her, adding that it had been happening for long.”
On her part, the assaulted teenager told the police that the suspect had been raping her since December 2015, adding that he usually gave her cake.
Princess said, “I am in primary six and live on the same street with Baba Joy. In December 2015, he took me to the hotel and had sex with me. I did not want to enter, but the hotel manager said I should. He had taken me there four times and he usually bought cake for me.”
Subsequently, Princess was taken to the Mirabel Centre, a human rights organisation, at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital for mediacl test and the case was equally reported to the police.
The suspect, in his statement to the police, reportedly confessed to the crime.
He added that the hotel manager was aware of it.
Imo said, “I am married with five children. My first child is in Senior Secondary School two. I lived at the back of Princess’ house before I parked out in January. I told her I liked her.
“Whenever she had a chance, she would call me from a business centre and I would pick her up where she was, take her to the hotel and have sex with her.
“There was a day I took her to the hotel and she did not want to enter. The manager pleaded with her on my behalf. I paid N500 for an hour,” the alleged rapist said.
In his defense, the 55-year-old manager, who admitted that Imo was his customer, said he had warned him to stop bringing the minor to the hotel.
At the court sitting yesterday, the police prosecutor, Sergeant Francisca Okere, said Imo was facing a two-count bordering on rape.
Okere said the accused was arrested by the police from the Isokoko division, while the manager of the hotel, who was accused of aiding the act, was invited for interrogation.
The charges read in part, “That you, Uche Imo, on January 25, 2016, at about 5pm on Yemi Aderemi Street, Igbede, in the Ajangbadi, Lagos State, in the Apapa Magisterial District, did defile a 13-year-old girl, thereby committing an offence punishable under Section 317 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.”
The defendant, despite his confession to the police, reportedly pleaded not guilty before the presiding magistrate, Mrs. A.O. Adegbite, and was granted bail in the sum of N200, 000 with two sureties in like sum.
Adegbite adjourned the case till April 21 for mention.