A 29-year-old man, Denen Agena, has been convicted of raping a 14-year-old girl and sentenced to six years in jail by a Benue State High Court in Makurdi. The court also fined him N100,000 and warned that he would spend an extra year in prison if he failed to pay.
Agena, who is married with children, claimed that the victim was his girlfriend and that she agreed to have sex with him in his house in 2020. He said he left her in an unfinished building after she started bleeding from the intercourse.
The case was taken up by Lawyers Alert (LA), a group that works with Global Women to fight for the rights of rape victims. The judge, Justice Ijoho, rejected Agena’s defence and called him “a paedophile.”.
He said his sentence was meant to discourage others from committing such a crime. He also dismissed the plea for mercy by Agena’s lawyer, S. S. Akighir, who said that Agena had a young family to look after and that it was his first offence.
Justice Ijoho said that Nigeria was a developed country and that a 29-year-old man could not have a 14-year-old girl as his girlfriend. Victor Eboh, Senior Legal Advisor of LA, praised the judgement as “a happy day” for those who seek justice. He said that Benue State had many cases of rape and that the judgement was a victory for all the girls and women who had suffered from ender-based violence (GBV).