.. Justice has been served- Ondo First Lady
..says such cruelty ‘ll not be tolerated in the state
..as Govt takes custody of the victim, others
The magistrate court sitting in Akure, the Ondo State capital has sentenced a middle aged woman, Mrs Opeyemi Omoyeni to three and half years imprisonment for inflicting various degrees of injuries on a 12 year old boy in her custody.
The defendant, was last week arrested by the Police, following a trending video on the social media, where she was captured using razor blade to inflict injuries on the boy, Joel Sunday, with an excuse that he stole pieces of meat.
She was arraigned before the court last week on five count charges including, grievous harm, trafficking in persons, child abuse and attempted murder.
The video caught the attention of the First Lady of Ondo State, Chief Mrs Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, and intervened through the Ondo State Agency Against Gender-based Violence (OSAA-GBV), and called on the police to bring the perpetrator to book, hence, her arrest and prosecution.
In her ruling, the Presiding Magistrate, Mrs. O. A. Edwin, sentenced the defendant to three and half years imprisonment for count one, and one year for count five; while count four was struck out as applied by the Police Prosecutor, Asp Emmanuel Tanimola.
The two sentences are to run concurrently.
The magistrate, cited section 371 of the Ondo State Criminal Law to consider the interest of the victim and the Community; and for the fact that the defendant pleaded guilty to the two charges without wasting the time of the court, hence, the reason for leniency in the judgement.
The Counsel to the defendant, Messr Foluso Kayode, prayed the court for leniency and to temper justice with mercy. He premised his appeal on the fact that the defendant has been solely responsible for the wellbeing and education of the victim for the past four years till the demise of her husband.
He pleaded further that the defendant has two kids, and also being a first offender who has never been arrested for any inhuman behavior.
Mrs. Catherine Ogunjebi, who led the Prosecuting team of the Federation of Female Lawyers, FIDA, informed journalists that the defendant would still appear in court in April 13, 2022, for count three (trafficking in persons), which she pleaded not guilty to.
Justice has been served, says Ondo First Lady
In her reaction to this judgement, the First Lady of Ondo State, Chief Mrs Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, expressed satisfaction, saying, ‘Justice has been served’.
Addressing journalists on the outcome of the judgement at the Rotunda hall of Government House ground Alagbaka, Mrs Akeredolu berated the level of injuries the convict caused the victim, saying it was bad that a mother could do such.
The Ondo First Lady noted that this level of cruelty will not be tolerated in the State, and assured children of state government’s protection against any kind of abuse.
She said: ” I’m very happy, justice has been served. The injuries were gruesome, nobody could ever imagined that a mother could do that to an innocent child. In other words, we have to pick interest in the matter so that justice could be served and I’m delighted that justice has been served today.
“This is a very strong message that this level of cruelty will not be tolerated in Ondo State and I mean every word that I have said.
“Today is a beautiful day for the children of Ondo State and even, children of this country by extension, that we would protect them and would continue to let our people know that this is highly unacceptable.
“Any child that is molested, let us know whether it is abuse or rape. This agency, Ondo State Agency Against Gender-Based Violence, OSAA-GBV, is here to protect you all the way.
“Those women out there treating other people’s children like animals, and those Pastors that pretend they’re serving God but in actual sense of it, they’re kingpins in child trafficking..;we were made to know according to the woman, that a Pastor gave her these children to take care of and I challenge the police they should track down this Pastor; he must come to explain what is going on between his so-called church and this woman.
“Again we understood there are many other children under her care, so I suspect child trafficking in this and we are here to put an end to this wickedness”.
Meanwhile, the father of the victim, Mr. Danladi Yahi, who witnessed the judgement and at the same time participated in the Press briefing along with his relatives, narrated his ordeal about how the woman got access to his son and another 10 years old girl, Naomi.
Danladi, whose message was interpreted to the First Lady by his brother, explained that they’re residents in Zuru local government of Kebbi state, and that due to the insecurity situation in their state which paralyzed education system, they were made to release Joel and his 10year old sister, Naomi, to the woman, in their quest to give the children access to education. This, he said, was done through their church Pastor.
According to him, the agreement between them was that the woman, who was residing in Ilorin as at then, was that she would release the children on every December to celebrate Christmas with their family. Surprisingly, the woman breached the agreement and stopped picking their calls until they were told that she had relocated to Akure, where the unexpected incident happened; and they were contacted by the Police to come over.
Mrs Akeredolu, who was moved with passion, assured them that, though the government’s home is overflowed with abandoned and abused children, Joel Sunday and his sister, would be given quality education and make their family proud.
She pleaded with the well-meaning citizens of Ondo state to partner the Government in taking care of these children in the children home, saying, considering the economic situation of the country, Government can’t do it alone.
Her words: “It behooves on the citizenry, those who can afford extra to lay a helping hand to make sure that we don’t have these children, who are in need all over our streets. Something has to be done”.
By Mary Agidi
Special Assistant to the Governor on Media
(Office of the First Lady)
Feb., 14 2022