By Alemma Aliu
BENIN—The quest for justice for 17-year-old Gift Alonge, who was impregnated by her father, Jacob Alonge, has reportedly claimed six lives including that of an unborn child in Edo State.
It was gathered that the said man committed the act in Ososo in Akoko-Edo Local Government Area of the state and aborted it with herbal concoctions.
A community source disclosed that Alonge, who lives a near isolated life, also impregnated his daughter the second time, which caught the attention of the local vigilance group and he was handed over to the traditional ruler of Ososo community.
A scan was said to have revealed that Gift was 21 weeks pregnant.
At the Ososo Police Station, Jacob allegedly made a confessional statement, before the case was transferred to the Family Unit of the state Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, CIID, Benin City.
A concerned non-governmental organisation, NGO, BraveHeart Initiative for Youths & Women, BHI, took up the case of young Gift and the Police subsequently arraigned the suspect before a family court at the Evbuoraria Magistrate’s Court, Benin, where he pleaded guilty to the charges in December 2018 and judgment was fixed for January 16, 2019.
The auto crash
On the said day, the victim in company of her maternal uncle, who was taking care of her, Mr. Ukere Adagbogu, Miss Promise Ezekiel, Advocacy Officer, Miss Rhoda Braimoh, Outreach Officer, both of BHI, and the head of the vigilance group in Ososo, Roland Aiyejina, left Igarra for Benin City, the state capital, in the early hours of the morning to meet up with 9a.m. time fixed for judgment.
However, they never got to their destination as the Mazda 626 they were travelling in was run over by a Mercedes Benz 911 truck along Ewu Hill on the Benin-Auchi Road.
Among those that died in the ill-fated vehicle were Gift, her uncle, Adagbogu, Miss Ezekiel and the driver, Paul Opashi, while Braimoh, who became unconscious, died few days after.
Disturbed by the sad news, the court adjourned sitting on the matter and shockingly when the matter came up on January 23, Alonge retracted his guilty plea.
NGO cries foul
Speaking on the death of the victim and others, the founder of BHI, Priscilla Usiobaifo, in a statement, said only justice would assuage the hurt of the organisation.
Usiobaifo said: “The victims died on the field, while serving humanity. They sacrificed their lives to ensure that justice is obtained for a young girl, Gift Alonge, whose father had sexually abused and serially assaulted for years and even impregnated on multiple occasions.
“BHI calls for justice for Gift Alonge, as the accused (Jacob Alonge), changed his plea from guilty to not guilty after learning about his daughter’s death, as well as the death of other key witnesses.
“I urge all civil rights activists, feminist sisters, NGO colleagues and Akoko-Edo community, especially the Ososo people, to rise to the occasion and demand the much-desired justice.
“BraveHeart is certainly saddened and in excruciating pains for this terrible loss, but our commitment to justice in this matter and as always remains resolute.
“Our call now is justice for Gift Alonge, as we say no to any form of violence against our children, youth and women.”