By Moji Eniola
Ikeja – Justice Sybil Nwaka of an Ikeja Domestic Violence and Sexual Offences Court on Friday ordered Olayinka Dahunsi, a surveyor and an alleged deadbeat father, to take up responsibility for his two-year-old daughter.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Nwaka gave the order during arbitration proceedings between Dahunsi, his relations and the mother of the child (name withheld) over the welfare of the child.
Before proceedings began, Nwaka had ordered that the toddler, who was with her mother, approach the Judge’s Bench, where she was physically examined by the judge for signs of neglect.
““Do you know that this child looks like you? You must take care of this child so that it can be well with you,” the judge said.
Nwaka asked Dahunsi if his mother was alive, he responded that his mother had been deceased since when he was four-year-old.
She said : “Do you know that this child is your mother? Your mother has come back to you and you must take care of her.
“”This is spiritual, you must take care of that child because you never had the opportunity to take care of your mother; so, she has come back in another form.”
After hearing the words of the judge, Dahunsi promised not to neglect the toddler, noting that his lawyer and the state counsel handling the case will agree on details of the monthly financial upkeep for the child and her mother.
NAN reports that 40-year-old Dahunsi, married and a father of four, had defiled the mother of the child (name withheld) sometime in April 2015 when she was a 15-year-old Junior Secondary School (JSS) three student.
The child’s mother was living with her aunt at No. 37, Isaac John St., Fadeyi, Lagos, when the defilement and resultant pregnancy occurred.
He was arraigned at the Ikeja Special Offences Court for child defilement under Section 137 of the Criminal Law of Lagos, 2011.
Dahunsi had admitted in the court that he defiled the child’s mother, who is now 18 years old.
He also admitted not taking care of the child that was conceived as a result of his “actions”.
Following his admission and subsequent remorse, his defence counsel, Mrs Scholastica Nwogu, had approached Mrs Bola Akinsete, the prosecuting counsel, for out-of-court setttlement.
Reviewing the facts of the case and taking into account Dahunsi’s remorse and acceptance to take responsibility for the child’s welfare, Justice Nwaka noted that the welfare of the child was paramount and ordered that arbitration proceedings should commence in the case.
The court warned that if Dahunsi reneged on the welfare agreements reached during arbitration proceedings, he would be re-arraigned and face trial for the defilement of the toddler’s mother.
Section 137 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State recommends a life sentence for anyone convicted of child defilement.
Justice Nwaka adjourned the case until Nov. 15 for report of settlement. (NAN)