The Zone 2 Police Command has arraigned 42-year-old James Onuoha at an Igbosere Magistrate’s Court for allegedly molesting a 14-year-old girl in the Ajah area of Lagos State.
He was arraigned on four counts of rape and indecent assault.
The Chief Magistrate, O.A. Ogunbowale, however, admitted him to bail in the sum of N2m with two sureties in like sum, adding that he should be remanded in the Kirikiri Prison pending the perfection of his bail.
PUNCH Metro had reported that the suspect, who was an engineer with ExxonMobil, had visited the victim’s guardian.
Onuoha, who was the landlord of the house, allegedly entered the room and engaged the 14-year-old in a conversation after which he allegedly molested her.
The matter was reported at the Lamgbasa Police Division before it was transferred to the Zone 2 Police Command.
The police arraigned him on Thursday.
The Investigating Police Officer, Stephen Agbonedeso, said the incident happened on Samuel Amoore Street, Idowu Estate, Oke-Ira Nla, Ajah.
The charges read in part:
“That you, Onuoha James, on January 4, 2016, at about 11.30am, on Samuel Amoore Street, Idowu Estate, Oke-Ira Nla, Ajah, Lagos, in the Lagos Magisterial District, willfully did an indecent act to one (name withheld), thereby committing an offence.
“That you did have unlawful sexual intercourse with one (name withheld) without her consent, thereby committing an offence.”
The police prosecutor, Inspector Asu Feddy, said the offences were punishable under sections 134, 258, 135 and 137 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, Nigeria, 2011.
The defendant pleaded not guilty to the charges and elected summary trial.
His defence counsel asked for his bail in liberal terms, arguing that the offence was bailable.
The chief magistrate, Ogunbowale, admitted him to bail in the sum of N2m with two sureties in like sum, adding that he should be remanded in the Kirikiri Prison pending the perfection of his bail terms.
She adjourned the case till February 23 for the release of the legal advice from the Directorate of Public Prosecutions.
The Director of the Office of the Public Defender, Mrs. Omotola Rotimi, who expressed displeasure at the bail, said the magistrate should not have heard the matter in the first place.
She said the Lagos State Government had taken up the case and would ensure that justice was served.
“We have been involved in this case from the onset and it is very inappropriate for the magistrate, who acknowledged that the case was not within her purview, to grant bail. You said something is not within your jurisdiction, and you still granted bail. Why hear it at all?
“The Attorney General of Justice has taken up the case and we will follow it to the end.”