International Federation of Women Lawyers, FIDA, and Girls’ Power Initiative, GPI, have called on the authorities in Cross River State to ensure justice for a 19-year-old girl allegedly raped by a Cross River State former legislator, Patrick Uguge.
The teenager is a niece to the wife of the legislator and stayed in the suspect’s house.
The suspect, who represented Ogoja state constituency between 2007 to 2015, allegedly committed the crime at a hotel in Ogoja on April 21, 2023.
Commissioner of police in the state, Balarabe Sule detained the suspect last week.
However, it was alleged that following pressures on the police, the suspect has been freed.
But the PPRO, Irene Ugbo debunked the allegation, saying the suspect was still in their custody, and that investigation was ongoing.
A voice note alleged to be a conversation between the victim and the suspected went viral on Monday.
The victim was heard complaining of pains associated with pregnancy to the suspect. The suspect asked her to go and buy Alabukun powder meant for pains, “mix with ‘pure water’ and drink.”
President of FIDA in Cross River State, Ann Alorye Awah has insisted that the suspect should be made to face the law, maintaining that he is not above the law.
“If found guilty, it’s a life sentence for him and nothing less. He owed that ward of his a duty of care and protection. Taking advantage of her is unforgivable. FIDA calls for justice for the girl,” she said.
Also reacting, Head of Programmes at GPI, Mrs Ndodeye Bassey Obongha, prayed that the victim should get justice.
She noted that: “We do know high profile cases like these are often truncated given the Nigeria that we currently find ourselves in.
“It’s utterly shameful that women and girls are often sexually abused by those who should protect them; yet families and friends of perpetrators will shield such barbaric evil and rather play politics with it.
“We believe in the rule of law. We know that the wheels of justice grind slowly but surely if not tampered with.”
She assured that they were committed to providing support for the victim.
Child rights activist, Barrister James Ibor said, “the rate of sexual abuse in the state is alarming. We need to protect the female gender from predators.
“We are in touch with the girl’s parents, who have confirmed that the victim was still a virgin before the suspect raped her,” Ibor said.
Meanwhile, the accused lawmaker is yet to give his own account of the report as of the time of filing this report.