From Rose Ejembi, Makurdi

For 11-year-old Victoria Ajeh, she cannot fathom what her life has become. While her mates are returning to school after the Yuletide, she is preparing for the maternity ward.

Victoria was allegedly defiled and impregnated by a randy middle-aged man, Joseph Adoyi, in Makurdi, the Benue State capital. Joseph is married to Victoria’s aunt, Esther, and the marriage is blessed with two grown-up children who are said to have completed their higher education. It was also gathered that the young girl had been staying with the family since she was about three years old.

Victoria’s father, Anthony Ajeh, a peasant farmer based in Orokam, Ogbadibo Local Government Area of Benue State, was said to have given her to his biological sister, Esther, to train.

Victoria, it was gathered, is the second child of the family. Her mother, who is barely 30 years old, has eight children, she just had her last child on Christmas Day, December 25, 2021.

However, while young Victoria was growing under the care of the Adoyis, Joseph, a guard with the Benue State University (BSU), began to have an evil admiration for her.

Joseph, who is said to be in his mid 50s, could no longer wait as he was said to have grabbed the young girl one day while nobody was home and had carnal knowledge of her. He allegedly repeated it a few more times.

Soon after, Joseph impregnated Victoria and the pregnancy was eventually discovered by Joseph’s wife.

According to Victoria, who spoke with our correspondent on telephone, on realizing that she was pregnant, her aunt immediately sent her back to her parents, who are battling with taking care of seven other children.

“When my aunty discovered that I was pregnant, she just took me to the pack and ‘way billed’ me back to the village. My aunty’s husband impregnated me. He slept with me two times before I became pregnant.”

Asked how old her pregnancy was when she was sent to the village, Victoria said she didn’t know.

On his part, Anthony Ajeh, 45-year- old father of the victim, said he returned one day only to find that his young daughter had been returned with a pregnancy.

He said: “When I sat my daughter down to find out who was the man that impregnated her, I was shocked when she told me that Joseph, my brother-in-law, was responsible.

“I confronted him with the allegation and he initially denied but eventually confessed at the police station that he did it. I had to travel to Makurdi to report the matter at the police. I spent nine days in Makurdi before returning to the village because I’m a poor man.”

Anthony further alleged that the suspect was detained at the police station for sometime but was later charged to court and granted bail under an unclear arrangement.

Anthony said after his release from police custody, Joseph, who also hails from Orokam, and his brother approached his family in the village with drinks to confess his wrongdoing and beg for their forgiveness.

“He brought drinks to my elder brother’s house and confessed that he was responsible for my daughter’s pregnancy and that I shouldn’t be angry. When he said so, I started crying and he dodged and left the place,” he said.

Anthony added that, since then, he had not heard anything from Joseph or the wife. He, however, commended civil society organizations who have been assisting his daughter since the matter became public.

He also commended Andrew Obeya, a development specialist, who, on hearing about the issue, immediately waded in and had been supporting the little girl in every way possible.

Obeya, who expressed worry that a man who committed such an offence was walking free in town, said he was focusing on Victoria’s health, delivery and what lies ahead of her after giving birth, especially her education.

Part of what Obeya has been able to do for the young girl is to first take her to see a doctor at the Foundation Hospital in Makurdi, where she underwent ultrasound and series of other tests.

“Ultrasound and tests suggest that the baby is growing well and she was already gone for 33 weeks. The doctor has asked us to return for delivery at the later part of this month,” Obeya said.

Obeya also thanked the doctor in charge of the hospital for conducting all the tests and medical attention on Victoria free, with a promise to also deliver her baby for free when the time comes.

He said: “The doctor has asked us to forget about delivery fees since he would take the delivery for free. He is a friend that is also sympathetic with her over this challenge. For the tests we were able to run in his hospital, one-day admission and medication he gave Victoria to take along with her, he didn’t accept a dime for them.”

He added that a process to open a bank account for young Victoria has started so that he can deposit all funds donated to her through him into that account.

“We also began the account opening process for her to enable me transfer all that was donated to her, but it’s still pending since we will need a trustworthy signatory who would be available at all times to help out since a minor cannot operate an account directly and her parents are not being considered for this task as well,” he said.

When contacted, the police public relations officer in Benue  State, Catherine Anene, a superintendent of police, confirmed the report.

Anene, who spoke on telephone with our correspondent on Thursday morning, said the suspect was charged to court after police investigation.

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Source: news