Tears welled up in the eyes of Margaret Ekun, a mother of six as she narrated her ordeal in the hands of Jacob Alonge, her ex – husband, who is now serving 21 years jail term for raping and impregnating his 17- year – old daughter , Gift Alonge .
At a point , she paused and wasn’ t willing to speak further on her past experiences with her 52- year – old husband.
“Everything is in that court . You can go there and ask them .
I have nothing to say again , ” she said , pointing to a magistrates’ court a stone ’ s throw from her tailor shop by the roadside at the entrance of Ososo , in the Akoko Edo Local Government Area of Edo State.
Margaret is the step mother of Gift whose mother ’ s whereabouts is unknown to many in the community.
It took some minutes of persuasion before the woman in her 40s could agree to speak further .
She continued softly , obviously weakened by past developments, “When I heard of how he raped and impregnated Gift, I was shocked . ’’
She stopped abruptly to use the helm of her gown to wipe the tears streaming to her cheeks .
She added , “ I know he is a womaniser .
He dated many women and even brought them to the house .
He was not my first husband.
My parents advised me to leave my first husband after two years that we had no child .
That was when I met Jacob.
He said he wanted to marry me and came with his people and we got married and left for Lagos .
He was the one who took me to a woman, a herbalist who gave me ‘ agbo’ (herbs ) and I conceived.
I had six children for him but one died .
When I heard that he impregnated his daughter, I was sad .
He was an electrician . I don’ t know how he became a herbalist and started dipping his hands into such things. ”
Margaret explained further that the Olososo of Ososo , Oba Anselm Obaitan, tried a lot to settle quarrels between them but was not successful until the court eventually separated them .
She said , “ What took us to court was not rape case with any of my children .
It was a spiritual thing ; that was why I said you can check the court because all the records are there.
The court told him to give me money every month for the upkeep of his children but since I left, he has never paid me once .
I have been shouldering everything all alone . ”
Apart from engaging in tailoring , Margaret , a Catholic faithful and a choir member , has her own musical group playing both gospel and secular music to support the upkeep of the family.
One of her children , Bose , a member of the musical group , said she used to go to her father and sometimes he would give her N 500 or less for the family .
Bose was not willing to speak about the incident .
Narrating what he knew about the incident , Obaitan said he was happy when he heard that Jacob was sentenced to 21 years imprisonment because such would serve as a lesson to others who might be nursing similar acts .
The monarch said , “ It came as a shock to us and I felt it is a bad omen and embarrassing .
They brought the accused to my palace that he impregnated his daughter.
After investigating, we discovered that it was not new to him .
He has done it before. We learnt that he did it to another woman, a wife of his.
“ When he was talking , I was surprised , likewise, those with me that day.
He said he didn’ t see anything wrong in what he did .
He also said the girl seduced him so I just felt that the matter must go to the police .
I told them to take him to the police station near the palace so that they could deal with him thoroughly and then they moved him to Igarra and from there to Benin City . ”
On the hearing day, after the matter had been taken to court, Head of the vigilante group in Ososo, Mr Rowland Ayejina, Gift, four others including Gift’ s maternal uncle whom she stayed with , two workers with Brave Heart Initiative, and a driver headed for Benin City .
After leaving Ekpoma on their way to Benin City, the car had an accident and all the occupants died except Ayejina.
When the news of the accident filtered into Ososo , fears gripped the entire community because Jacob was said to be a dreaded and notorious herbalist who used to carry his oracle even to beer parlour.
Some claimed that Gift ’ s death on the way to court was caused by the breach of the oath between her and her father .
A vigilante, who spoke on condition of anonymity , claimed that Jacob had a shrine at the back of his house where he kept Gift’ s armpit and pubic hair.
He stated, “There is also blood oath between the duo and that was what killed the girl .
She died because she opened up on the matter to the public . ”
But Ayejina dismissed any diabolical attachment to the accident .
Aiyejina added , “ I cannot really say how the accident happened .
That day, we moved from Igarra about 5 : 30 am to Benin City for the court case .
I remember that we got to Ewu junction after Ekpoma but after that, nothing .
The accident happened early in the morning some few minutes to seven .
When I regained consciousness, I saw myself on the ground and wondering what was going on.
Then I saw the axe they used to cut the vehicle by my side.
As I raised up my head, I saw bodies being removed from the vehicle .
Then my phone rang and I picked it .
I informed the caller that I had an accident . ”
Aiyejina said Gift was always scared of people and one could see the fears on her face .
“ When her case was brought to me as the head of the vigilante in Ososo , I immediately reported the matter to the king who ordered her father ’ s immediate arrest and from there the police took over . ”
Wife of Gift’ s late maternal uncle , Mrs Justina Adagbogu , regretted that she allowed her husband to be involved in the matter.
Adagbogu noted, “He was busy with the case that he didn’ t have time for himself and his family .
He was an oil palm miller . But because he had no time for his work, we went to market the previous day before the incident to buy palm oil in the market for domestic use .
“ He told me in the evening that he wanted to eat pounded yam before leaving for Igarra the following day .
Before he came from the market , I had prepared his food , he ate and left for Igarra to pass the night with Gift so they could leave for Benin City early the next day. That was the last discussion we had. ”
She said although she was happy that justice was served eventually , she desired Jacob suffer a similar fate like her husband who left behind seven children .
But Esther Braimoh and Idowu Obanobi ; mothers of Roda and Promise , the two late employees of BHI , said nothing could replace the loss of their children .
They said though justice was done in the matter, they were unhappy that Gift and their daughters died without witnessing the outcome of the case .
Obanobi said , “ I don’ t have anything to say because even though judgement has been delivered , it cannot replace my child .
” On her part, Braimo noted in an emotional – laden voice , “Yes , justice has been done but where is my child ?”
Justice came for Gift six months after her death on August 1 , 2019 , when Magistrate D. I. Adamaigbo sentenced Jacob to 21 years in jail for having carnal knowledge of , and repeatedly raping and impregnating his daughter.
The three counts of five years, two years and fourteen years are to run consecutively .
In her ruling , Adamaigbo said Jacob consecutively had sex with his daughter and got her pregnant thereby subjecting her to shame and emotional stress .
She added that to serve as a deterrent to others, and would -be sex offenders, “we are of the opinion that the defendant should not have space in a decent society. ”
According to her , the victim ’ s statement and the evidence of the PW 1 confirmed what the victim said that she was five -month pregnant, demoralised and emotionally distressed .
Adamaigbo stated, “It has been established beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused had carnal knowledge of the victim as she said in her statement :
‘ My father by the name Jacob Alonge used to wake me up at night and said I should follow him for prayers .
When we reach (sic ) inside the bush, he will force me and have sexual intercourse with me . ’
“ Then in the second statement which she made at the state police headquarters , she stated and I quote, ‘ last year which is 2017 , my father by name Joseph Alonge, has been having sex with me ; he threatened me not to tell anybody and if I do , he will kill me ’
“ She stated further in the same statement that and I quote , ‘ one night , he called me and put me on top of a stone and used a razor blade to shave my private part and threatened me not to tell anybody ’’ .
This statement was corroborated by the police statement in evidence.
“ The convict admitted in his statement and the law is that evidence admitted need no further proof .
The defence that he was lured into the crime by his own daughter is an afterthought .
We, therefore , find him guilty of each of the counts . ”
Alonge was sentenced on three counts of unlawful possession of fetish wrap of the victims ’ pubic hair; unlawful and indecent canal knowledge of his biological daughter and repeated sexual assault and impregnating her .
Reacting to the judgement , Executive Director , Brave Heart Initiative for Youth and Women , Priscillia Usiobaifo , said she was very happy that there was no option of fine because she had won several cases like but with options of fine .
Usiobaifo said , “ This has encouraged us that those that died did not die in vain . ”
Amid it all, the Alonges ’ house located near a rock by the end of the Ososo community is deserted and under lock and key .
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