Court remands Minna hotel owner for allegedly raping married woman
A forty-two-year-old hotel owner in Minna, Niger State, has been remanded in correctional custody on the orders of Minna Senior Magistrate Court No. 4 for alleged rape of a married woman.
Mr. Friday Okechukwu was arraigned before the court, presided over by Senior Magistrate Christy Barau, on six counts of charges that bothered the enticement of a married woman, wrongful restraint, wrongful confinement, assault or criminal force on a woman with the intent to outrage her modesty, rape, and criminal intimidation.
According to the police First Information Report (FIR), the six-count charges were punishable under sections 389, 256, 257, 283 (1), and 397 (A) of the penal code law.
Friday Okechukwu, who is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Managing Director of Unfadable International Hotels Eastern ByPass, Minna, Niger State, was arraigned in court on Friday by men of the Anti-Women and Domestic Violence squad of the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCIID) of the Niger State Police Command.
On September 22, 2023, a direct criminal complaint was lodged at Senior Magistrates Court Chanchaga by the said married woman, which was referred to the police for a discrete investigation.
The police Prosecutor Inspector Lawrence Mowete told the court that sometimes in the month of August 2023, the defendant, who is the owner of Unfadable International Hotels Eastern ByPass, Minna, Niger State, saw the victim's Neolife Supplements Drugs advertisement on Facebook, followed her Facebook page, and started chatting with her under the guise of a customer desirous of buying her products. He requested her phone number, which he aimed to call her so as to patronise her business.
The prosecutor further told the court that after the woman gave him her phone number, he called her and invited her to his hotel, the Unfadable Hotel Minna, for the physical display of her Neolife products, to which he also requested her bank account details to enable him to send the money for the products.
It was further revealed that she obliged and gave him her Polaris Bank Account, and having received the same, Friday Okechukwu sent her Airtel recharge airtime of N1,000 directly from his phone, and the latter sent her the sum of N10,000 on September 8, 2023.
The prosecutor further told the court that she inquired from him what the money was for. The defendant told her the money sent to her was for her to make her hair, and the recharge airtime sent to her on two occasions was for her to recharge her line.
She called the defendant back, saying that she did not request the money or the airtime, and the plaintiff called him to send her account number for the refund of the money, but he refused.
She said that immediately she cashed the money, she carried her seven-month-old baby boy along with her, and she took the money to him in his hotel on September 12, 2023, after he refused to send his bank account number for him to return the N10,000. However, on getting to the hotel, he lured her into a room in the said hotel section tagged "comfort zone 03".
The prosecutor went on to explain that inside the hotel room, he locked the doors and hid the keys inside his pocket. Fearing for her safety, she stood up to leave the room but was restrained from leaving. He violently dragged her into the bed in the room and forcefully had sexual intercourse with her without her consent in the presence of her seven-month-old baby boy, who was crying.
According to the prosecutor, upon the receipt of the information, the police detectives swung into action and effected his arrest, and during the police investigation, the victim was able to identify him, knowing fully well that she was a married woman.
When the charges were read to him by the presiding senior magistrate, Christy Barau, he pleaded not guilty to the charges, while the police prosecutor objected to his bail on the ground that one of the charges was not triable by the magistrate court but only by the high court.
He then told the court that the police would forward the case file to the state Ministry of Justice for legal advice, and he requested his remand in correctional custody pending the outcome of the legal advice.
While granting the request of the police prosecutor, the Senior Magistrate, Christy Barau, then ordered his remand and adjourned the case till November 13, 2023.