Court remands popular hotel owner in Minna, Friday Okechukwu for allegedly raping married woman

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A 42-year-old hotel owner in Minna, Niger State, has been remanded in correctional custody on the orders of a Senior Magistrate Court in Minna over an alleged rape of a married woman.

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Police image

The hotelier, Friday Okechukwu, was recently arraigned before the court, presided over by Senior Magistrate Christy Barau, on six counts of charges that bothered on the enticement of a married woman, wrongful restraint, wrongful confinement, assault or criminal force on a woman with the intent to outrage her modesty, rape, and criminal intimidation.

According to the police First Information Report (FIR), the six-count charges were punishable under sections 389, 256, 257, 283 (1), and 397 (A) of the penal code law.

Friday Okechukwu, who is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Managing Director of Unfadable International Hotels, Eastern ByPass, Minna, Niger State capital was arraigned in court on Friday by men of the Anti-Women and Domestic Violence squad of the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) of the Niger State Police Command in Minna.

On September 22, 2023, a direct criminal complaint was lodged at Senior Magistrates Court, Chanchaga by the said married woman (names withheld), against the accused person which was referred to the Police for a discrete investigation.

The Police Prosecutor, Inspector Lawrence Mowete told the court that sometime in August 2023, the defendant, who is the owner of Unfadable International Hotels, Eastern ByPass, Minna, Niger State, saw the victim’s Supplements Drugs advertisement on Facebook, followed her Facebook page, and started chatting with her under the guise of a prospective customer, desirous of buying her products.

He requested her telephone number, which he aimed to have called her to patronise her business.

The prosecutor further told the court that after the woman had given him her telephone number, he called her and invited her to his hotel, the Unfadable Hotel Minna, for the physical display of her supplement products, to which he also requested her bank account details to enable him to send the money for the products.

It was further gathered that she obliged and gave him her Account details and having received the same, Friday Okechukwu sent her airtime of N1,000 directly from his phone, in addition to the sum of N10,000 on September 8, 2023.

The prosecutor further told the court that she inquired from him what the money was meant for, the defendant told her the money sent to her was also meant for her to make her hair, and the recharge card airtime sent to her on two occasions was for her to recharge her telephone line

She was said to have called the defendant back, saying that she did not request the money nor the airtime, and the plaintiff called him to send her his account number for the refund of the money, but he refused.

She said that immediately she cashed the money, she strapped her seven-month-old baby boy on her back and she took the money to him in his hotel on September 12, 2023, after he had refused to send his bank account number for her to return the N10,000 to him.

However, on getting to the hotel, he was said to have lured her into a room in the said hotel section tagged “comfort zone 03”.

The prosecutor went on to explain that inside the hotel room, the accused person locked the doors and hid the keys inside his pocket.

For fear of her safety, she stood up to leave the room, but was restrained from leaving.

The hotelier was said to have violently dragged her into the bed in the room and forcefully had sexual intercourse with her without her consent in the presence of her seven-month-old baby boy, who was crying.

According to the prosecutor, upon the receipt of the information, the Police detectives swung into action and effected his arrest, and during the police investigation, the victim was able to identify him, knowing fully well that she was a married woman.

When the charges were read to him by the Senior Magistrate, Christy Barau, he pleaded not guilty to the charges, while the Police prosecutor prayed the court to object to his bail on the ground that one of the charges was not triable by the magistrate court but only by the high court.

He thereby told the court that the Police would forward the case file to the State Ministry of Justice for legal advice, and he requested his remand in correctional custody pending the outcome of the legal advice.

While granting the request of the Police prosecutor, the Senior Magistrate, Christy Barau, then ordered his remand in the Correctional custody and adjourned the case till November 13, 2023.

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