One Friday Okoro, a member of the Ebubeagu security outfit in Ebonyi State, has been arraigned before an Nkwagu Magistrates’ Court for allegedly assaulting a minor in Abakaliki.
Okoro was arraigned on a two-count charge over a conspiracy to commit felony and assault by beating the minor with sticks and gun butt which caused her harm on the buttocks, hand and face.
The offence is punishable under sections 316 and 335 of the Criminal Code Law of Ebonyi State.
During the trial, Okoro pleaded not guilty. He was ordered to be remanded at the National Correctional Facility, Abakaliki, by Magistrate Sandra Okorie until 7th of next month when his bail application would be heard.
It was learnt that the minor, 15-years-old, lives at 12, Nwankwo Street, Abakaliki. She was physically assaulted alongside her mother by the accused.
Our correspodent heard that the accused claimed to be an operative of Ebubeagu security outfit, and was contracted to be collecting electricity bills in the area.
The mother of the minor, Nnenna Ogbonna, said she was arrested and handcuffed with her daughter and taken to Ebubeagu office at the old Government House, Abakaliki.
The minor was then tied to a tree and tortured over false accusation that she fought the Ebubeagu operative when he came to collect the electricity bill, the mother said.
Quoting her, ‘’They tied her to a tree and flogged her mercilessly. They hit her with gun butt and she became weak. One of them said they would torture my son Daniel as punishment for others who ran away when they came to arrest them.
“While I was crying loud, the commander of Ebubeagu came. They call him ‘Power’. They told him that we fought an Ebubeagu operative who went to collect electricity bills. He told them that they were foolish to have brought the matter there; that it should have been taken to the police.”
She explained that they were released, but Friday Okoro later dragged them to Central Police Station, Abakaliki, for arrest, but the tide turned against him when the police arrested him after observing injuries meted to the minor at the Ebubeagu camp.
She said, “The personnel called police who came and dragged us to Central Police Station, Abakaliki, but on reaching there, the police detained us, only for my daughter to tell them that she was brutalised. She was asked to remove her clothes and what the police saw made them detain the complainant and asked us to go and treat ourselves’’
The coordinator, state taskforce on Gender Based Violence, Mrs Faithvin Nwanchor, said the taskforce swung into action to ensure that the perpetrator was arraigned.
She said the minor was treated at Gender Based Taskforce Clinic at National Obstetrics and Fistula Centre, Abakaliki, while her siblings had been released by the police.
When contacted, the state commander of Ebubeagu, Mr Friday Nnanna, said he would ascertain if the accused was a true member of Ebubeagu, adding that there was a directive for the operatives to avoid using torture during interrogations.