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Remanded after allegations of underage impregnation by Anambra priest

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Remanded after allegations of underage impregnation by Anambra priest

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According to Daily Trust, a Catholic priest in Anambra State named Rev. Fr. Nwaigwe Stephen has been remanded after being accused of raping and impregnating a minor.

An Awka Chief Magistrates’ Court, popularly known as the Children, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Court, Anambra State, sentenced Nwaigwe to prison until December 6, 2023.

He is said to have been among the priests dismissed from the “Two Hearts of Love Congregation” (Ugwu Nso) in Orlu, Imo State, in 2018 due to allegations of wrongdoing.

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Anambra State’s Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice requested that the magistrate forward the original case file to their office.

The priest was also accused of forcibly transporting the minor pregnant woman to Benin City, Edo State, where she gave birth, according to the newspaper.

The whereabouts of the baby are unclear, according to the police inquiry.

The act of having sexual intercourse with a minor is penalized under section 34(2) of the Child’s Rights Law of Anambra State, 2004.

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According to reports, the priest had previously met the adolescent in the parish of St. Albert the Great Catholic Church in Obosi, Anambra State.

On Monday, November 20, 2023, the victim testified during remand hearings that she was 14 years old when the priest stole her from her parents and moved her in with him, where she would be expected to cook and do housework in exchange for financial support toward her schooling.

Upon moving into the priest’s home, she claims he immediately began sexually assaulting her and never stopped until she became pregnant at the age of 17.

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According to the child, the priest brought her from their home in Ihiala, Anambra State, to the home of a man and a woman in Benin City, Edo, whom he introduced to her as his brother and brother’s wife when she told him she was pregnant.

But when I had my baby at the home of a local birth attendant in Benin City, I was told that the baby had died, and despite my efforts to see the body, I was told that it had been buried.

When the court questioned if she had been gang-raped previously, the child observed, “While on our trip to Benin City, father told me to say that I was gang-raped. Except for the ones my father committed on me in his home, I had never been raped before.

Witnesses were bound over to appear before the High Court to provide testimony whenever the matter would be mentioned, and the Police prosecutor informed the court that there was probable reason to order the remand of the priest during remand procedures.

The defense attorney asked the court to release Nwaigwe on bond and urged it to do so on the most lenient terms possible, promising the judge that his client would never abscond from jail.

However, the police prosecutor pleaded with the court to deny the clergyman bail, arguing that the juvenile victim in the case was under the defendant’s spiritual responsibility.

While making her decision on bail, Chief Magistrate Genevieve Osakwe expressed her sadness that rape of kids was becoming so widespread in society and noted that the matter before the court was an offense punishable by life imprisonment.

Osakwe warned that the court would not stand by and allow society to deteriorate.

 

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