Lawyer kicks as suspected rapist’s family seeks out-of-court settlement


    The family of a 45-year-old man, Ifeanyi Ayibami, who allegedly raped a 14-year-old girl, Gloria (surname withheld), is seeking an out-of-court settlement.
    Ayibami is currently being detained at the Ekeki Police Station, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
    Our reporter gathered that the teenager had suffered a similar fate less than two years ago when she was raped and impregnated by a different man. The child from that encounter is said to be seven months old now.
    It was learnt that Ayibami’s family was making moves for the case to be settled out of court, as it was feared that the suspect could end up in jail.
    But a lawyer handling the case, Dise Ogbise, insisted on Wednesday that contrary to the position of the suspect’s family, the matter would only be settled in court.
    She added that her non-governmental organisation, the DO Foundation, was vigorously pursuing the matter to get justice for the rape victim.
    Ogbise stated that her mission was to prevent rapists from causing pains to innocent girls.
    She said, “The family members of the suspected rapist want the matter to be settled out of court, but we are insisting that the case should go to court. We will never accept an out-of-court settlement.
    “Nobody is supporting the suspected rapist’s family to settle the case out of court; even the police are not happy; they want the matter to be charged to court and appropriate judgement pronounced. We shall pursue the case with our strength. We will ensure that justice is served in this matter, either we win or we lose the case.”
    Ogbise, who is also the Bayelsa State Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association, explained that rape was not something that should be ignored; otherwise, the girl child would not be safe from rapists in the society.
    She revealed that another NGO, Gold, had undertaken to send the victim to school when the holidays were over in January.
    According to her, the process has been finalised for the 14-year-old victim to start schooling in January.
    “An NGO like my own but with a little strength than mine financially has opted to give the girl free education. So, we are working on it and all other matters. By next year, she will start school,” Ogbise added.
    The Police Public Relations Officer, Bayelsa State Command, Asinim Butswat, confirmed the arrest and detention of the victim.
    The PPRO stated that the matter would be transferred to the Gender Unit of the State Criminal Investigation Department, Yenagoa, for thorough investigation.