A Benue State-born Parish Priest with one of the Catholic cathederals in Abuja, Reverend Father Anthony Ochigbo, has been charged to court for rape. Reverend Father Ochigbo appeared in a Gudu District Magistrate court on Monday facing a 3-count charge of rape, having sex with a minor and unlawful application of banned substance’ After his plea was taken, he was ordered detained in the police custody. He is accused of raping a 10-year old girl, Miss Ikong (first name withheld), daughter of a parishioner.
The incident is believed to have happened on Monday 15th of August, 2016 at the Reverend Father’s lodge within the church premises located in an exclusive part of Abuja city.
The randy parish priest who is about 55 years old pleaded not guilty to all the charges when they were read to him in court on Monday. The little girl involved is a Junior Secondary School Student student of one of the Secondary Schools in Abuja.
In her statement to the police, the girl claimed to have been initially scared of telling her mother, Mrs C. Ikong, what the randy pastor did to her until the following day, Tuesday, that her condition became bad and she had to confess what happened.
According to her “On Sunday, 14th of August, 2016, it was announced by Father Ochigo that we should all come to the church on Monday which was the following day for the Celebration of Mother Mary.
“On that day (Monday), my mummy took me and my two younger ones to the programme. The event went on till very late in the evening, and my mummy then went to inform the Reverend Father about her intention to start going back home.
“It was during their short conversation that Father Ochigbo begged my mummy to leave us behind if truly she wanted to go home.
“The Reverend Father begged my mummy to still allow us dance with our peers who were still dancing inside the church. I didn’t know how he managed to convince my mummy for her to allow us stay behind as demanded by him.
“My mummy later told us that she was going home with our last born but also said that the Reverend Father would be in charge of our safety (me and my younger brother). She promised to come and pick us the following day.
“After my mummy left, the Reverend Father took the two of us to his apartment within the church premises. When we got there, he asked us if we would still eat but we told him that we had eaten at the event and wouldn’t want to eat again.
“He then said that he would offer us something to drink and we agreed. He went into his refrigerator and brought our 5 Alive which he served in two cups. He gave me one of the cups and handed the other cup to my little brother.
“After drinking it, I felt somehow. My eyes were turning and I started falling down. When my eyes were turning, I told the Reverend Father that I needed a place to sleep. “He then took me to a room to sleep but he didn’t allow my younger brother whom I understand he also took to a separate room, to sleep in the same room with me. I was unconscious so there was no way I would have made him allow my brother to stay with me.
“I didn’t know anything until the following morning that I saw the Reverend Father beside me on the same bed. I first noticed some sharp pains in my Bom Bom (Private part). And then, I saw blood coming out of the place.
“I asked him what he did to me and he started begging me. He said he would kill me and my parents if I tried to tell them what happened between us. He then took me to the bathroom where I had a shower. Shortly after that, my mother called him on phone that she was coming to take us home.
“On getting home, I was scared of his threats so I kept it to myself. But on Tuesday which was the following day, my mummy being a nurse was able to suspect through the way I walked so he asked me to lay on the bed where he tested me and discovered that I had been raped.
“It was then that I explained everything to her and she took me to the Reverend Father who initially denied it. This forced my mummy to take me to the hospital where I got medical attention”
Curiously, when the police invited the Reverend Father for questioning he refused to honour the invitation. Instead, he called the father of the girl on the phone, begging him to take the case away from the police.
Meanwhile, the first IPO of the case, Mrs Chinyere, told Nigerian Concord that it was last Saturday when she threatened to come and forcefully arrest the Reverend Father during the church service the next day that he came to the police station where his statement was obtained. It was gathered that he was released on bail that same Saturday when he pleaded that he must be in the church the next day which was Sunday.
He was however produced in court on Monday where the magistrate ordered that he be detained until his bail application was argued. Another hearing has been slated for Tuesday 30th August.