An Eighty year old council member has been suspended by Benneth Emeka , the traditional ruler of Umueri community in Anambra east LGA, over the alleged rape of a 10-year-old girl.
The traditional ruler , announced the development on Saturday while addressing members of the All Nations Arise and Manifest Initiative (ANAM), a non-governmental organisation (NGO), at his palace.
According to the traditional ruler, the offence was committed by Vincent Okoye, who until his suspension was the financial secretary of the royal council.
“The man in question is a member of my cabinet. He is my financial secretary and immediately the matter was reported, we suspended him and he can never come back to the cabinet again,” he said.
“The matter has been taken to court and that shows that the community does not condone such crime.
“We have also given the girl scholarship to show our concern and protect her future. It could have been anybody’s child.
“I’m advising parents, especially mothers, to be cautious and take responsibility for the safety and security of their children.”
Confirming the incident, Richard Okoti, resident prosecutor-in-charge of the case, said that the suspect has been arrested.
Okoti said the suspect was arraigned at the Otuocha chief magistrate’s court on April 29, but he was granted bail on health grounds after he pleaded not guilty.
Also reacting to the incident, Tessy Aniesi, president of the ANAM transformation movement, said the case was brought to them by Chinasa Madisife, chairperson of the organisation.
According to Aniesi, the suspect was a family friend of the victim who used to send the girl on errands.
“The workers at the building site where the suspect is supervising said they noticed that each time the girl comes to run errands for the suspect, he takes her to a completed building at the site and lock the door,” Aniesi said.
“On April 26, they saw her come out of the building crying. They called her and she narrated that the suspect always has sex with her whenever her mother asks her to come run errands for him.
“The workers confronted the man and called the attention of the vigilante group, the igwe and the umuada of Umueri community, and eventually ANAM took up the matter.
“During interrogation, the girl said the suspect has been abusing her but she could not report the crime to her mother or anyone because the man threatened to kill her.”