A police corporal, Mr. Anthony Onoja, has been ordered to pay the sum of N10million as exemplary damages for the rape of a two-year old baby, Chinwendu Obi Onwudiwe.
A Nasarawa State High Court sitting in Mararaba, a town on the outskirts of Abuja, gave the order in its judgment in a suit filed against Onoja and the Inspector General of Police by her mother, Mrs. Ngozi Obi Onwudiwe.
Justice A. Asmau, in her judgment, held that the accused infringed on Chinwendu’s fundamental rights.
Onwudiwe had approached the court through her lawyer, Barrister Esther Uzoma, the National Coordinator, Proactive Gender Initiative, an Abuja-based Non-Governmental Organisation, following the rape of her little daughter by the police corporal.
She told the court that on June 15, 2013, at Mararaba, by Kabiyo Osino Pure Water, Onoja, of the Nigeria Police Force, had unlawful carnal knowledge of the minor.
According to her, she traced her daughter to Onoja’s room, where she saw the baby crying, with blood gushing out of her private part.
“Onoja’s wife rationalized the blood gushing out of little Chinwendu’s private part as her monthly period (menstruation),” Onwudiwe said in an affidavit in support of the motion.
The incident was thereafter reported at the Mararaba Police Station, while Chinwendu was taken to the Mararaba Medical Center for treatment.
Onwudiwe sued Onoja and the IGP, asking the court to declare that the rape of the minor violated sections 33 and 34 of the 1999 Constitution, and article 4 and 5 of African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights(Ratification and enforcement Act) CAP 10 LFN 1990, which guaranteed right to life and dignity.
The court was also asked to declare that Onoja’s action amounted to torture, physical and psychological abuse, and violation of the baby’s right to survival and development as provided for in section 3, 4, 11 and 13 of the Childs Right’s Act (2003).
Furthermore, Onwudiwe asked the court to grant an order mandating a comprehensive health examination and treatment of Chinwendu at the expense of the respondents (Onoja and IGP).
She equally asked the court to order the respondents to pay the sum of N10million as exemplary damages, and another sum of N1.5million as special damages for the expenses so far incurred by the parents of the little girl on her health since the unfortunate incident.
In her judgment, Justice Asmau condemned Onoja’s actions, and granted the plaintiff’s prayer for payment of the sum of N10million as exemplary damages.
Justice Asmau further ordered that the baby be given comprehensive medical treatment at the expense of the respondents.
She however, declined to grant Onwudiwe’s request of the sum of N1.5million as special damages.