BRAVEHEART INITIATIVE LAUDS THE CONVICTION OF JOSEPH OKOYE
FOR THE SEXUAL DEFILEMENT OF A 4 YEARS OLD GIRL
BraveHeart Initiative for Youth & Women (BHI) welcomes the conclusion of the trial against Joseph Okoye for the sexual
defilement of Bose Ike (not her real names) – a 4 year old girl from Igarra, Akoko-Edo LGA — which resulted in a guilty
verdict on the one count charge.
The verdict was presented two days ago February 24th, 2016.
In August of 2014, Joseph Okoye (Oga Joe) a 45 years old Palm wine seller lured Bose (not her real name) from her great
Grand mother’s apartment, and then took her to his shop, where he proceeded to sexually defile her. Examinations
completed by the Chief Medical Director of the General Hospital, Igarra revealed that the young victim/survivor was
sexually abused as she suffered tearing of the vagina.
On the witness stand, Joseph pleaded not guilty to the one count charge of unlawful carnal knowledge and failed to express
remorse for his action. To prove its case, the Prosecution called seven witnesses, while the accused person defended
himself and called no witness. He pleaded for leniency. However, given the age of the victim, he was convicted and
sentenced to three years in prison with hard labour.
In the judgement delivered by Chief Magistrate Prince M. Oare ESQ, “I have listened to the plea for leniency by the Convict.
I have also taken into consideration that the convict is a first time offender. However, taking the age of the Victim into
consideration, the act of the Convict will not only be regarded as wicked, but evil. In this regard, an option of fine cannot be
considered. The Convict is accordingly sentenced to three years in Prison with hard labour. The term of Imprisonment is to
commence from when he was admitted into Prison Custody in 2014, since bail was not granted” the magistrate said.
BraveHeart Initiative was involved in this case from the onset with contact with the family of the girl to pledge support in
line with BHI’s vision. The Intervention Team continued visits to the girl’s Grandmother and family served as assurance that
Bose would get justice for crime committed against her. During the trial, family members, activists and representatives from
BraveHeart Initiative stood by the Daudu family as they persistently appeared at the Magistrate Court, Igarra awaiting
BraveHeart Initiative had to seek for support from likeminded individuals and other Civil Society Organisations including
Girls’ Power Initiative Benin-City, Child Protection Network and Project Alert on Violence Against Women to ensure that
relevant agencies were working to resolve the case efficiently and transparently.
“While thanking God for this victory, I acknowledge that the road towards this victorious day was never easy. BraveHeart
Initiative for Youth & Women celebrates the fact that the legal outcome provides justice for Bose Ike and her family and
pledges to continue to dedicate ourselves to the prevention of Sexual Violence. One of the objectives of BraveHeart
Initiative for Youth and Women (BHI) is to facilitate the recovery of abused children and women from gender based
violence. BHI passionately intervenes in cases of rape. Rape is a gross violation of sexual and reproductive rights. Rape and
sexual violence are extensively reinforced by patriarchal beliefs as a means of control and to exert dominance and power
over those who are most vulnerable” says Program Coordinator of BHI, Priscilla Usiobaifo.
BHI’s work on rape and sexual violence issues was recognized in December, 2011 when the Federal Ministry of Youth
Development awarded BHI as an Anti-Rape NGO Champion in Nigeria. This award inspired BHI’s advocacy efforts. We
advocate for governments at various levels to make funds available to law enforcement agencies and health facilities to
reduce the financial burden of prosecuting such cases by Non-Governmental Organisations.
BHI renews our urgent call on the Edo State government to immediately establish a family court which is the proviso for the
Edo State Child Rights Law (2007) and also call on the Ministry of Women Affairs to partner with Civil Society Organisations
to develop a Sexual Offenders Register in Edo State.
We further call on the leadership of Akoko-Edo LGA to provide protective action for the people of Akoko-Edo, particularly
children and women, to ensure that no further harm befalls them.
Fellow Nigerians, we encourage and urge you to stand in solidarity with our children and women who are faced with and
live in deplorable and terrifying conditions every day. An injury to one is an injury to all!
Founding Director/Program Coordinator.