Anthony Mgbe, 70, was remanded in prison by an Enugu State magistrate court after he killed and sexually assaulted a 15-year-old girl.

Uchechukwu Onwuzuru, the victim—who was described as deaf and dumb—bled to death following what is believed to have been a violent rape by the suspect.

Mgbe, a resident of Umuagu in the state’s Inyi Oji-River Local Government Area, was docked on two counts that the police had filed against him.

The Women Aid Collective, or WACOL, released a statement on Wednesday, November 15, 2023, stating that the two counts that the prosecution had presented against Mr. Mgbe were as follows:

1. Unlawful carnal knowledge of a minor, an offense contrary to Section 308 and punishable under Section 309 of criminal Code, Cap. 30, Vol. II, Revised laws of Enugu State of Nigeria 2004.

2. Unlawful killing by having unlawful carnal knowledge of the minor which caused her to bleed to death” an offense punishable under Section 274(1) of the Criminal Code, Cap 30, Vol. II, Revised Law of Enugu State of Nigeria 2004.

According to the organisation, the magistrate court postponed the case until November 22, 2023, citing the seriousness of the offence when denying the request for bail.

“The case was first reported to WACOL by concerned members of the community, who told WACOL that the man was in the habit of perpetrating violence against women and girls, but always managed to evade justice owing to the influence of his children, who silenced the victims and their families,” the statement continued.

“In the light of this, the family of the deceased sought protection from WACOL in addition to legal intervention to ensure that the perpetrator faced the full wrath of the law. Following a detailed petition sent by WACOL legal team to the commissioner of police, Mr Mgbe was arrested and subsequently charged to court.

“WACOL must declare unequivocally that the increasing number of femicide cases reported in Nigeria during the past several months is repugnant and intolerable. Their human rights, especially the right to life, are directly hampered by the pervasive violence against women and girls. There is no denying that places including homes, churches, schools, marketplaces, and roadways are no longer safe for women and girls.

The frequency of these homicides is a result of victim blaming, gender stereotypes, and biases, as well as poor political will and the inadequate application of pertinent legislation.

“That is why WACOL is following up with this case to send a clear message of zero tolerance against all forms of violence against women and girls. We are holding such perpetrators accountable.

“We thank the Enugu state, Commissioner of Police for immediate response and proactive investigation that led to the arrest of Mr. Mgbe. WACOL will not relent in providing protection for the deceased family and closely monitoring the case to ensure that justice is manifestly seen to be done.”