A 51-year-old pastor, Nduka Anyanwu, has been sentenced to life imprisonment by an Ikeja Sexual Offences and Domestic and Violence Court on Tuesday for defiling and impregnating two teenage sisters.
According to The PUNCH, the verdict was delivered by the presiding judge, Justice Abiola Soladoye.
The Lagos State Government charged Anyanwu on April 17, 2022, with two charges of defilement.
According to reports, the crime was perpetrated in Arowojobe Street in the state’s Oshodi region between August 2019 and August 2020.
The offense is punishable under Section 137 of the Lagos State Criminal Law of 2015, the prosecution claims.
When the defendant was charged, he entered a not guilty plea. On October 11, 2022, the trial started and ended.
The defendant testified as the only witness for the defense, but the prosecution brought six witnesses.
Olushola Shoneye announced his presence for the state when the case came up for judgment on Tuesday, but the defense was unrepresented.
The first witness for the prosecution said throughout the trial that although though she is now 15 years old, she was 13 at the time the incident occurred.
According to her testimony, she knew the defendant as the pastor of their church, that he had been having sex with her, and that he had cautioned her not to tell anyone about it.
The victim claimed that despite the defendant’s assurances to the contrary, she eventually became pregnant and gave birth to a child for him.
The older sister of PW1, who is now 19 but was 17 at the time of the occurrence, was called as a second prosecution witness and corroborated the first witness’ claim that the defendant was their pastor.
She described how the defendant had sex with her with her parents’ permission, that he would take her abroad for “greener pastures,” and how she began going to see him.
A Lagos State counselor and witness protection officer, Mrs. Memunat Dawudu testified that she learned of the incident on August 3, 2020, from the Oshodi Primary Health Centre.
In his testimony, the victim’s father claimed that the defendant was a friend and fellow churchgoer, and that the defendant was responsible for the pregnancies of his two daughters.
He claimed to have known that the accused was sexually involved with his daughters.
Mother of victims said that she was astonished to learn that her two daughters were impregnated by the same man.
In his defense, Anyanwu stated that the second prosecution witness was given to him as a wife by the father of the victims, with whom he was having sexual intercourse.
The judge ruled that the prosecution had shown sufficient evidence to overcome its burden of proof in this defilement case.
A minor’s age, the defendant’s participation in sexual activity with the victim, and the lack of the minor’s consent all constitute elements of defilement, according to Justice Sholadoye.
She said,” I am convinced of the evidence led that the defendant is guilty as charged for the offence of defilement.
“The police shied away from their responsibility by not charging the father of the victims along with the defendant.
“The parents of these victims are highly irresponsible and reckless in their parenting. The negligence of their children has contributed to them now being grandparents of two additional mouths to feed. They should have been sanctioned and brought to justice.
“The parents of these two victims, who are biological sisters, acted irresponsibly by allowing their so-called pastor friend to deceive them that he will help them take their children abroad when the defendant cannot even help himself.
“Nduka Anyawu, you are hereby sentenced to life imprisonment, in respect of count one and count two.
“The sentence is to run concurrently, his name should be registered in the Lagos State offenders’ register.”