The police in FCT on today re-arraigned a cleric, Rev. Father Anthony Ochigbo, charged with raping a 10-year-old girl. Ochigbo appeared before an FCT High Court in Maitama, where Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf adopted the bail conditions previously given him. The re-arraignment was due to the transfer of the case to Baba-Yusuf from Justice Olukayode Adeniyi. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Ochigbo was arraigned before Adeniyi on Aug. 30 during court vacation. Adeniyi granted the cleric bail in the sum of two million naira and two sureties, who must be on Grade Level 14 and above in public service.
The prosecution counsel, Mr John Ijagbemi, submitted on that 44-year-old Ochigbo, of the Catholic Church of Assumption, Asokoro, Abuja, sexually abused the girl on Aug. 15. He said that Ochigbo had unlawful sexual intercourse with the child in the church, in contravention of the provisions of Section 31(1) of the Child Rights Act, 2003, and punishable under Sections 32(2) of the Act. Ochigbo, however, pleaded not guilty. His counsel, Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN) applied for his bail and prayed the court to allow him to continue on the existing bail conditions. Objecting, Ijagbemi submitted that the cleric was re-arraigned, and that the court could give fresh bail conditions. The case has been adjourned till Jan. 31 for substantive trial.