Having awaited justice for four years, a non-governmental organisation, the RORA Foundation, has finally rolled out the drums for the Lagos State Ministry of Justice among others over the conviction of sexual predator and ex-Exxon Mobile Senior Engineer, James Onuoha, whose name made history on Monday June 1 this year as a convicted child rapist jailed for 15 years.
In a media release the NGO issued Thursday, RORA went down memory lane on its long walk to justice. “Many do not know the origins of this case, started in Ajah in January 2016 and ended on Monday June 1 this year at Igbosere High Court Lagos with a 15-year jail term handed down by Justice Adedayo Akintoye”.
“It started with a WhatsApp message to a group from a member of a women’s business group on or around January 5, 2016 having met and bonded with the fellow entrepreneurs on a course some months before,” RORA noted.
Accordingly, RORA noted that the woman – who reported to them – was furious and outraged that a member of her staff at her catering company reported their landlord raped her young niece the previous day in the presence of her young daughter who witnessed the outrageous crime.
Members of the group became disgusted and enraged. “A few of them sprang into action. RORA foundation was soon born out of the exchange of messages and conversations that ensued”.
For RORA, “The name, which stands for ‘Rape one rape all’ came about as a call to action to everyone that is against rape. We believe that when someone is raped we should all feel violated, regardless of our gender, social status, religion, tribe, or relationship to the victim.”
Although RORA had no relationship with this child, it became as distressed as if it happened to each and any one of us.
Meanwhile, the particular vulnerabilities that come in such cases where the victim is from a less privileged background added to the passion and drive of the groups ethos.
Comsequently, RORA expressed: “The fact that the victims and their families feel they have no voice or will not be heard because they are poor or less educated absolutely outraged us.”
Describing the journey as an arduous road, RORA said, “The journey to success was far from easy. At the start, we were discouraged with numerous hurdles and delays. Even to have James Onuoha arrested was difficult”.
“Over the last four years members of RORA have seen James Onuoha at popular social clubs with his family, enjoying leisure activities whilst his victim and her family suffered mentally”, RORA stated.
Meanwhile, the NGO, however, lamented that “We would see him at court smiling smugly and slapping the backs of his counsel as though it were a social gathering”.
Sadly, the NGO lamented the many cases out there which include the most recent horrific ones that ended fatally. “Some cases reported to RORA involve babies and toddlers, these cases we pray will proceed to court in a timely manner”.
As the voice of the voiceless, RORA crossed its heart: “Justice must be served. We implore people to report incidents and seek support from foundations and advocates. We worked with many and remain grateful for all assistance in this case”.
Not taking the glory alone, RORA lauds tje Lagos states Domestic sexual and violence response team (DSVRT), Mirabel Centre, The Cece Yara Foundation, Women at Risk International Foundation (WARIF) and YAP&E who assisted them with connecting and collaborating in the social sector.
“Mirabel Centre provided free forensic medical services and the doctor that was cross examined defended his findings with seasoned professionalism; he was an asset to their case,” RORA said.
Continuing, RORA acknowledged that while WARIF provided much needed counselling for this child which helped aid her psychological healing, the Cece Yara foundation also provided invaluable therapy sessions with the family who were all traumatised from the incident.
RORA also lauded the Lagos State Ministry of Justice, especially the prosecutor and Director, Office of the Public Defender, Dr. Babajide Martins, “who has been with us since the start and genuinely believed in this case; to law firm Babalakin & Co and everyone else on the legal team that helped bring this case to court and exercised patience as we kept chasing for updates”.
The NGO went on: “Thanks to friends and supporters of RORA who either sent kind donations of clothes and books for the survivor or referred them to key contacts and resources, especially Robert Taylor Media who helped the case gain traction at the start.”
Speaking, a spokesperson for RORA said: “We hope this judgement serves as a deterrent to all closet rapists and paedophiles. Onuoha took advantage of this child because she was viewed as a nobody, just a poor help from the village. He didn’t bank on a group of women and their supportive networks, fighting the case on her behalf”.
Having seen the case through, RORA made a clarion call. “We hope this sentence encourages more survivors of sexual abuse to come forward and report the crimes against them. I will like to remind everyone that we all have a role to play in tackling these heinous crimes”.Follow us on social media