A 27-year-old teacher named Bright Emelogu has been found guilty and subsequently sentenced to life imprisonment by the Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Court in Ikeja, Lagos, for sodomising a 14-year-old student.
Describing Emelogu’s actions as reprehensible, Justice Abiola Soladoye of the Ikeja High Court emphasised that he lacked morality, displayed callousness, and exhibited reckless behavior that is entirely contrary to the responsibilities and expectations placed on teachers.
Justice Abiola Soladoye pointed out that the defendant had inflicted severe physical, emotional, and psychological distress on the survivor, causing tremendous trauma.
In her ruling, Justice Abiola Soladoye noted that the survivor’s testimony was corroborated by the statements provided by the nominal complainant, the survivor’s aunt, and the medical report from Mirabel Medical Centre in Ikeja.
He words: ‘The survivor, in this case, narrated before this court that the defendant was his class teacher and that he complained to his aunt that he was not doing well in school.’
‘The survivor said ‘he (defendant) told his aunt that he was dumb which made the aunt arrange an after-school lesson with the defendant.’
‘The survivor said the defendant ordered him to go into the school toilet and but he refused which made him threaten to fail the survivor in his third term examination if he did not obey him.’
‘The survivor said he eventually co-operated with the defendant because he was afraid and he followed him to the toilet.’
The judge upheld the truthfulness of the survivor’s testimony and characterized the survivor’s aunt’s evidence as direct and unequivocal.
According to the judge, the medical report introduced as evidence revealed signs of healing in the anus region, and the lacerations observed were consistent with anal injuries unrelated to hemorrhoids.
She downplayed the importance of the defense’s written address to discharge and acquit, despite the prosecution’s solid evidence demonstrating every aspect of the defendant’s sexual assault by penetration.
She described the defendant’s testimony as biased, untruthful, and conflicting, specifically noting his denial of any involvement in writing a statement.
She said: ‘his own confessional statement which he denied ever writing was admitted into evidence in this court.’
‘Exhibit A, the statement of the defendant, exhibit B, statement of nominal complainant and exhibit C, the medical report are self explanatory and pertinent to convict the defendant’
‘The same exhibit A is crucial as it is the confessional statement of the defendant which is good as granting conviction.’
‘This paedophile, Bright Emelogu, is a disgrace to the teaching profession and he must pay for his sexual indiscretions.’
‘Hopefully, this will also serve to other male teachers like him to desist from messing around with the innocence of their students.’
Upon finding the defendant guilty of the one-count charge, the judge delivered a life imprisonment sentence.
She demanded the defendant’s name be listed in the sexual offences register maintained by the Lagos State Government.
As per the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) report, Soladoye called upon school proprietors to exercise selectiveness and perform comprehensive background checks on potential employees prior to their recruitment.
She expressed the view that schools should consistently instill in students and pupils the importance of speaking up about any instances of sexual molestation they may experience.
‘I know they might be afraid to do so but this is to their own advantage as they can report same to appropriate authorities.’
‘Association of school proprietors as a matter of fact should hold conferences, meetings to encourage pupils and children to speak up.’
‘A teacher is to teach morals and impact knowledge but alas! this defendant is everything a teacher should not be,’ Soladoye stated.
It was reiterated by the judge that the recruitment of capable and trustworthy individuals in the teaching profession is crucial, as the welfare of students should be safeguarded consistently.
As the state counsel, Mrs. Olufunke Adegoke called three witnesses to provide testimony, while the defendant testified alone during the trial.
The offense falls under the purview of Section 261 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State, 2015.