By Joy Kaka
A Gudu Upper Area Court, Abuja, on Monday remanded Rev. Fr. Anthony Ochigbo, Parish priest of Church of Assumption, Asokoro, in police custody for alleged rape of a 10-year-old girl.
Ochigbo was arraigned on a one-count charge of rape.
The Upper Area court judge, Alhaji Umar Kagarko, adjourned the case till Aug. 30 for ruling.
His counsel Godwin Chukwukere had applied for his bail pursuant to sections 158, 162, 163 and 164 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA).
Chukwukere urged the court to grant the defendant bail because he was still innocent until proven otherwise.
He said even though the offence was not bailable, Section 162 gives the court wide powers to grant bail in cases like this.
The counsel urged the court to exercise its discretion in favour his client, adding that the defendant was on administrative bail and would not jump bail if granted.
The prosecutor, John Ijagbemi, opposed the application, saying that the defendant was not given administrative bail.
He urged the court to discountenance the application and remand the defendant in custody.
Earlier, Ijagbemi had told the court that Grace Ibong of Kuruduma village, Asokoro, Abuja, reported the matter at the Commissioner of Police, FCT Command, on Aug. 17.
He said after a church programme in the said church, the defendant asked the complainant to leave her 10-year-old and eight-year-old daughters to spend the night with him, which she did.
He further said when the complainant went back to the defendant’s house to pick her children, she discovered an unusual movement from her 10-year-old daughter on Aug. 15.
Ijagbemi said when the complainant asked her daughter why she was moving unusually, the victim said that the defendant forcefully had carnal knowledge of her without her consent during the night.
He said the offence contravened Section 283 of the Penal Code.
The priest pleaded not guilty.