Mr. Clifford Thomas, Executive Director of the Foundation for Civic Education, Human Rights, and Development Advancement (FOCEHRADA), a civil society organization (CSO) trained by the U.S. Agency for International Development Strengthening Civic Advocacy and Engagement (SCALE) project facilitated the prosecution of Mr. Chief Augustine Effiong Umoh, the Village Head in Uruan LGA of Akwa Ibom State, who was charged with raping a nine-year-old child.
Mr. Clifford stated. “We were able to take action on this case because of the capacity building provided by SCALE and its resource partner, Girl Power Initiative” (GPI). The SCALE training has given FOCEHRADA the confidence to handle SGBV cases. Previously, FOCEHRADA would either allow such cases to be settled amicably or decline to hear them at all.
The case was reported to FOCEHRADA by an organization that admitted to not having the capacity to handle such cases. Following a preliminary investigation, it was discovered that the village head was guilty as charged. When the village chief was questioned, he claimed that he obtained permission from the victim’s parents for the girl to spend her holidays with his family, and the parents agreed. The victim who bravely spoke out stated that the abuse began when she moved into his home in August 2022.
The case was taken up as a result of collaboration between FOCEHRADA and the state’s Department of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) Committee in charge of SGBV cases in the state. The committee filed a petition with the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Local Government Affairs to abide by and respect the community hierarchy. The Village Head was stripped of his Chieftaincy title by his community in Uruan LGA and was charged.

“It is so satisfying because this is the first time, we are dealing with a case involving a traditional leader in the state,” said Clifford.
The Village Head is being prosecuted at the moment. According to the Commissioner of Police stated, “We strongly believe he will soon be on his way to prison.”
The SCALE project is a United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded five-year project (2020-2025) designed to strengthen the financial, management, and advocacy capacity of CSOs in Nigeria to create a more accountable, transparent, peaceful, and democratic Nigeria with more effective and efficient public service delivery.