BY VICTORIA IKEANO
A 53-year-old university don in the Department of History and International Relations, Federal University Lafia (FULAFIA), Nasarawa state, Dr. Fred Ekpa Ayokhai, together with his three children have appeared before the state’s chief judge, Justice Aisha Bashir-Aliyu at High Court 1, Lafia on a six-count charge. The charges include criminal conspiracy, house-breaking, kidnapping and assault. They are listed as offences punishable under Section 97 of the Penal Code Law of Northern Nigeria, Section 3 (1) & 4 of the Nasarawa state Kidnapping (prohibition) Law 2019, Section268 (2) and 354 of the Penal Code Law of Northern Nigeria, and Section3 (1) of the Nasarawa state Violence Against Persons (prohibition) Law of 2019. The three children of the don charged along with him are: Emmanuela Ayokhai (18 years), Saint-Dan Ayokhai aged 21 and Praise Ayokhai, 23 years old.
It would be recalled that a video went viral on social media last week-end, showing an 18 year-old female teenager being assaulted, stripped naked by some persons at a location in Lafia, the Nasarawa state capital. The Nasarawa state police command under the leadership of the Commissioner of Police, AIG Adesina Soyemi swung into action and arrested two of the suspects, namely, Dr. Fred Ekpa Ayokhai and Emmanuela Ekpa Ayokhai while others were on the run. It later also apprehended the other two fleeing suspects – Praise Ayokhai a 23 year-old Microbiology student of FULAFIA and Saint-Dan Ayokhai. The Police also announced that it had recovered the ‘’vehicle belonging to Dr. Ayokhai’’ that was used to convey the victim to the location where she was assaulted
Speaking through the Command’s Public Relations Officer, DSP Ramhan Nanse, the Commissioner of Police, AIG Soyemi said, ’Preliminary investigation revealed that Emmanuela Ekpa Ayokhai and the victim had a misunderstanding over a man named IG. The victim accused Emmanuela of snatching her supposed boyfriend and assaulted her. In retaliation Emmanuela mobilised her family, went after the victim and got her assaulted as well. The Police said that Dr. Ayokhai filmed the the incident and uploaded it to the social media. At the quartet’s appearance in court today (Wednesday, October 26), the case was transferred to High Court Obi while they were remanded in prison pending formal arraignment.
Meanwhile, management of FULAFIA has disassociated itself from the conduct of Dr. Fred Ayokhai. A press statement by Abubakar Ibrahim, head of the institution’s Directorate of Information and Public Relations, noted that the university has laid down rules, procedures and regulations on how to deal with its staff whose behaviours ‘’are found to have fouled the laws and rules that govern their conducts”. The university assured the public that the “unfortunate action exhibited by Dr. Ayokhai does not represent in the least, what should be expected from any member of staff of the University and his action is condemned in very strong terms by the university’’.