A Lagos-based landlord, James Onuoha, who was accused of raping his tenant’s 14-year-old niece, has denied the allegation, but said that the N1,000 he gave her was a Christmas gift.
Onuoha is standing trial before a Lagos State High Court in Igbosere on four counts bordering on defilement.
The prosecutor, Jide Martins, had told the court that Onuoha wilfully had an unlawful sexual intercourse with the victim without her consent.
He said the offences contravened sections 134 (2), 135 (1), 137 and 258 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State of Nigeria, 2011.
Martins had called several witnesses, including the victim, to prove his case.
At Thursday’s proceedings, Onuoha, while being led in evidence by his counsel, Victor Olowonla, explained to the court how he visited his house at No. 25 Samuel Amoore Street, Idowu Estate, Oke-Ira Nla, Ajah, Lagos, on January 4, 2016, to inspect the premises and meet his tenant, Kenneth, who he said owed him two years’ rent.
He stated, “I called Kenneth on several occasions but he did not answer his calls; I decided to visit him at home but when I got there, Kenneth was not there.
“I knocked on the door to Kenneth’s apartment, a young girl came out and said Kenneth was not around. I asked the girl her age, she said she was 16 years old and she granted me access to the apartment so that I could carry out an inspection.
“In the past, Kenneth used to hide from me, so I thought he was hiding. I got into the apartment for inspection; I did not touch her (the girl); it was during the Christmas period and that was why I gave her N1,000 as a gift.
“Two days after my visit to the house, I got a telephone call from my office that my tenant (Kenneth) had reported that I raped a girl.
“I was also called by the police from the Lamgbasa Police Station and the case was transferred to the Zone 2 Police Command.”
Onuoha, during cross-examination by the state counsel, admitted that he did not inform the tenant before visiting the house.
He added that he never knew that the victim just came to Lagos to stay with her uncle at the time of the incident.
The presiding judge, Justice Adedayo Akintoye, adjourned the case till March 28, for the continuation of hearing.
The prosecutor had earlier told the court that Onuoha allegedly committed the offences on January 4, 2016, around 11.30am at No. 25 Samuel Amoore Street, Idowu Estate, Oke-Ira Nla, Ajah, Lagos.