James and the victim

By Taiwo Okanlawon

A Lagos High Court sitting in Igbosere has sentenced James Onuoha, a former Exxon Mobil engineer to 15 years imprisonment.

James Onuoha was sentenced to 15 years jail term without an option of fine after he was found guilty of raping his tenant’s niece, who was 14 years old at the time.

The incident happened on January 4, 2016, and caused outrage at the time, with a number of celebrities lending their voice to call for justice.


At the last adjourned date, on January 14, 2020, the court adjourned the case until March 25, for judgment, after the parties adopted their final written addresses.

However, the judgment could not be delivered on March 25 due to lockdown resulting from the COVID- 19 pandemic.

At the resumed hearing of the matter, Justice Adedayo Akintoye delivered judgement on Onuoha.

Before handing down the verdict, the convict’s counsel, Dr Victor Olowonla, in his allocutus, pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy as he was a first time offender.

Onuoha was first arraigned in January 2016 at the Magistrates’ Court on a four-count charge of defilement.

Onuoha was remanded in Kirikiri correctional centre pending legal advice from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

Following his indictment by the DPP, the case was transferred to the high court for trial.

The state government accused Onuoha of committing the alleged offences on January 4, 2016, at 11:30 a.m., at 25, Samuel Amoore Street, Idowu Estate, Ike-Ira Nla, Ajah, Lagos.

The prosecution led by Dr. Jide Martins said the defendant willfully had an unlawful sexual act with the teenager without her consent.

He said the offences contravened Sections 134 (2), 135 (1), and is punishable under Sections 137 and 258 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.

Onuoha, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.