Rights Group Accuses Police of Suppressing Justice

A human rights organization, Centre for Basic Rights Protection and Accountability Campaign, has accused the legal department of the State Criminal Investigation Department in Port Harcourt of trying to suppress justice in an alleged rape case.

A lawyer with the group, Jane James, said the police chose to charge one Mgbechi Wekwa, the 55-year old security staff of Ignatius Ajuru University of Education, for sexual abuse rather than rape as provided for in the Child Rights Act.

A Port Harcourt Chief Magistrate, Gomba Osaro, had on Tuesday remanded Wekwa in prison custody after he was charged for sexually abusing a 16-year-old girl.

Magistrate Osaro adjourned the case to Monday 22 February 2021 to consider the bail application moved by the lawyer of the accused.

Wekwa had pleaded guilty to a one-count charge of unlawful sexual abuse.

But the rights group’s lawyer, who is observing proceedings, said the charge ought to have been brought under Section 31 of the Child Rights Act 2013 which clearly states and prescribes the punishment for it.

“But unfortunately, the charge was watered down to Section 32 of the Child Rights Act of 2013 which ought not to be so. Because when you talk about rape, the child rights act already gives a definite definition in Section 31,” James said.

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