A grandfather, Paul Setonji, and five other suspects, who gang-raped a 20-year-old hawker, have been sentenced to 10 years in prison. The men were said to have tricked the victim into a primary school at Yansiwhe in the Makoko area of Lagos State and took turns to illegally have carnal knowledge of her. She was said to have passed out at a point, but the men used her hijab (shawl) to fan her before ordering her to leave the premises.
The police said the suspects, who were all nationals of Benin Republic, fled the scene after the incident. But 40-year-old Setonji and Abraham Huvensu, 25, were arrested and confessed that they slept with the girl in the unnamed primary school. At a Yaba Chief Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday, the police said efforts were on to apprehend the other suspects who were still at large.
Setonji and Huvensu, after being arraigned on two counts of rape and conspiracy, pleaded guilty to the charges. The police prosecutor, Inspector Peter Nwangwu, while giving the facts of the case, said the victim reported the matter at the Yaba Police Station.
He said, “On August 16, 2014 at about 5pm, the two defendants and four others now at large, conspired together and had intercourse with the victim without her consent.
“She reported the matter at the Yaba Police Division. She explained that on the fateful day, she was called by the men while she was hawking a local sweet. “They bought some from her and after she finished selling to some other customers, she went back to meet them for her money.
“She went to meet Paul (Setonji) being the eldest and he directed her to meet Abraham (Huvensu). They started directing her to one another. “Finally, Paul told her to go to a primary school within the vicinity that the youngest among them was there and he would give her the money.”
The prosecutor said the 20-year-old innocently went into the school building without knowing the men were on her trail.
“They overpowered her and tore her pants. Two others held her legs apart and they raped her. “At a point, she became very weak and fainted. The men used her hijab to fan her and asked her to get up and go home. “She wore just a long gown and she went directly to the police to report the matter.”
Nwangwu urged the court to sentence the men accordingly, as “the first defendant is a grandfather and is supposed to have a daughter of the girl’s age.” The Chief Magistrate, Mrs A. Ipaye-Nwachukwu, admitted the statements of the defendants and the victim as exhibits. The defendants, who spoke through an interpreter, admitted that the prosecutor’s account was valid, begging the court to forgive them. Ipaye-Nwachukwu, having found them guilty, sentenced them to five years imprisonment on each count.
She said, “On count one, the first and second defendant convicts are sentenced to five years imprisonment with hard labour. “On count two, they are also sentenced to five years imprisonment. The sentences are to run concurrently.”