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Promoting Good Governance.

Victim narrates how she was raped by former Bayelsa governor’s aide

THE rape trial of Richard Kpodo, a former security adviser to ex-governor of Bayelsa State, Timipre Sylva, continued on Friday with the victim narrating to the court how she was assaulted.

Kpodo was first arraigned before Justice E. Eradiri of the Bayelsa State High Court, Yenagoa, on July 27, 2018, on a two-count charge of unlawful detention and rape of the victim, a 26-year-old female cashier at a hotel owned by the accused. The crime was allegedly committed on June 8, 2018.

At the resumption of trial on Friday, the victim (name withheld) testified alongside her uncle (a police officer) and a medical doctor who had examined her on June 9, a day after she was allegedly raped.

In her testimony, the victim narrated, amidst sobs, how the accused person had on several occasions touched her inappropriately, but that she had refused his advances. She said she complained to the agency that helped her to get the job, and she was advised to talk to the accused person and see whether he would stop.

According to her, after talking to the accused person, he stopped harassing her for a while, only to invite her into to his office in the hotel at about 8 pm on another day, locked the doors, overpowered her and raped her.

He then threatened her saying that he was the initiator of a local security outfit – ‘Fantangbe Security – which held sway during Timipre Sylva’s administration.

The trial judge had to suspend the hearing twice to enable the victim, who would break down in tears as she told her story, to regain composure.

“I was employed as a cashier and whenever I go to submit cash to him he touches me and I reported it to the employment agency that helped me get the job, and they advised me to talk to him to stop it,” she told the court.

“I talked to him that it is a sin, he stopped for some time and he started again. That day, he locked up the door and forcefully had sex with me, I shouted and also pleaded and he said he would not leave me until he was satisfied.

“So when he finished, he asked me to clean myself and bring his food. He did not use a condom and I was injured, he removed my trousers and I kept struggling with him until he finished.

“I called my uncle who is a policeman and he came and took me home, the next day we went to report to sthe police and they gave me a medical report form which I took to hospital.

“The hospital conducted HIV test on me and prescribed some drugs which I have taken.”

Ikenna Nwanna, a medical doctor working with the Diete Koko Memorial Hospital, Opolo, Yenagoa, also testified before the court on Friday. It was Nwanna who examined the victim after she was allegedly raped.

He told the court that the patient complained of pains in her pubic area and walked with difficulty when she came to the clinic on June 9, 2018.

“The patient complained that she was raped by her boss and I examined her in the presence of a female nurse and there were bruises in her vulva, and due to the pains she did not allow me to touch her vaginal area.

“There were also whitish discharge which I suspect to be semen although did not conduct any further tests, the observations tally with the complaint of violent sexual assault,” Nwanna said.

After the witnesses had given their testimonies and were cross-examined by the defence counsel, Julius Iyekoroghe, the prosecuting counsel, Samuel Arthur sought for an adjournment to enable him to call two more witnesses.

The defence counsel, however, complained to the judge that his client was still being denied access to medical care, despite an order already issued to that effect.

In his response, Justice Eradiri reiterated that his earlier order granting the accused person access to medical attention at a government hospital be complied with. He subsequently adjourned the case to October 5, to listen to the testimonies of two additional prosecution witnesses.

Kpodo is currently remanded in prison after the trial judge refused to grant him bail, despite an application by the defence counsel that his client has medical issues that required treatment.

Justice Eradiri had ruled that the medical report presented by the defence counsel did not indicate that the case was beyond the expertise of the Federal Medical Centre, Yenagoa. He ordered that the accused person should be receiving medical attention at the FMC from prison custody.

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