Cleric rearraigned over alleged child defilement

The police in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT),  on Tuesday, re-arraigned a cleric, Reverend Father  Anthony Ochigbo, charged with defilement of a 10-year-old girl.

Ochigbo appeared before a FCT High Court in Maitama, where Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf adopted the bail conditions previously given him.

The rearraignment was due to the transfer of the case to Baba-Yusuf from Justice Olukayode Adeniyi.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported  that Ochigbo was arraigned before Adeniyi on August 30 during court vacation.

NAN also reported that Adeniyi granted the cleric bail in the sum of N2 million naira and two sureties, who must be on Grade Level 14 and above in public service.

The prosecution counsel, Mr John Ijagbemi, submitted on Tuesday that 44-year-old Ochigbo of the Catholic Church of Assumption, Asokoro, Abuja, sexually abused the girl on August 15.

He said that Ochigbo had unlawful sexual intercourse with the child in the church, in contravention of the provisions of Section 31(1) of the Child Rights Act, 2003, and punishable under Sections 32(2) of the Act.

Ochigbo, however, pleaded not guilty.

His counsel, Chief Kanu Agabi applied for his bail and prayed the court to allow him continue on the existing bail conditions.

Objecting, Ijagbemi submitted that the cleric was rearraigned, and the court could give fresh bail conditions.

The case had been adjourned till January 31 for substantive trial.