A middle aged man, Yahaya Umar was yesterday sentenced to 14 years imprisonment by a Borno State High Court for raping a 13-year-old Hajja Ibrahim, an Internally Displaced Person (IDP).
According to the charge read by the clerk of the court, the convict, Yahaya Umar lured the victim from Abaganaram IDPs camp in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, to one Rainbow Hotel in same Maiduguri city and had forceful sexual intercourse with her.
The charge reads, “That you Yahaya Umar (male), on or about 21st September 2016 at about 1900 hours at railway quarters Maiduguri , within the jurisdiction of this honourable court committed rape on one Hajja Ibrahim of IDPs camp Abaganaram primary school , in that you forcefully had sexual intercourse with her and you thereby committed an offence punishable under section 283 of the penal code laws of Borno State.”
In order to prove its case, the prosecution brought five witnesses to testify and some exhibits were tendered in evidence.
Counsel for the defence equally called the accused to testify for his defence. Both counsels waived their rights to address the court. All the testimonies of witnesses as well as the defence were examined by the trial Judge, Justice Alkali Wakkil Gana.
In his ruling after the testimonies, Justice Gana found the accused guilty of the offence and sentenced him to 14 years imprisonment.
Justice Gana said, “I believe the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses. They impressed me as witness of truth. Accused person in his defence stated that the victim wanted a place to stay hence he took her to his house and harboured her until the following day.
“You can tell this type of information to the marines. It is a matter of common knowledge that there is curfew in Maiduguri and everybody is expected to be at home before 10pm.
“The court is at loss why the accused person should carry the young girl to his house. He is not a truthful witness. I have watched his demeanor in the witness box. He did not impress me as witness of truth.”
I disbelieve his testimony.”
The Judge said the court was of the opinion that the prosecution has proved its case beyond any iota of doubt.
“I find him guilty as charged and hereby proceed to convict him. Predators of minors should beware, they do not deserve any clemency. The convict has committed a heinous crime. He does not deserve any sympathy knowing the conditions the IDPs are going through. Only the devil can commit such atrocity.
“Parents and guardians should desist from compromising or condoning any abuse against their wards. He is sentenced to maximum prison term of 14 years with hard labour,” Justice Alkali Wakkil Gana ruled.
However, earlier before the conviction, the court had directed law enforcement agencies to watch activities of hoteliers in Maiduguri, saying that a witness has disclosed that Rainbow Hotel is a hub of rapists, and that young girls are being patronized.