COURT OF APPEAL SUBTITUTES 21-YEAR JAIL TERMS WITH LIFE IMPRISONMENT AGAINST THREE RAPISTS, FOR DEFILING FOUR YEAR OLD MINOR AND 10-YEAR-OLD STREET HAWKER.
The Court of Appeal, Kano Division, presided over by Honourable Justice Ita Mbaba, on Friday 28th January, 2022, delivered six judgments in cases from Jigawa State High Court. The decisions are in three appeals and three cross-appeals. The appeals filed by three convicts Dauda Malam Mato, Ibrahim Yusuf and Rabi’u Usman through their counsel Olukayode Ariwoola Junior Esq against the entire judgments of the Jigawa State High Court sitting at Birnin Kudu presided over by Honourable Justice Musa Ubale in three rape cases where five girls below the age of eleven (11) are victims of the crimes. And the cross-appeals against the 21-year sentencing were lodged by the Jigawa State Government through its Attorney-General and its Commissioner of Justice, Dr. Musa Adamu Aliyu.
The three Appellants, separately arraigned for rape based on the Penal Code (Miscellaneous Amendment) Law 2014 of Jigawa State. The law provides life imprisonment against convicts of the offence. In Ibrahim Yusuf v State CA/KN/21/C/2021. The Appellant in May 2017, lured four sisters of the same parents (names withheld) who were all below the age of seven (7) and had sexual intercourse with the youngest girl, a 4-year-old at that time. It is evidence before the trial court that the appellant had raped the girl after he inserted a substance that looked like a sponge into her private part. The Appellant had also undressed the other minor girls and played pornographic videos to them, after that, he washed his manhood inside a calabash and directed one of the girls to drink. The convict also threatened to kill one of the victims if she revealed the incident. The crime was exposed to the police after one of the victims was persistently emitting foul-smelling that attracted the attention of the victim’s parents, and the whole saga was exposed.
In Dauda Malam Mato v State CA/KN/19C/2021, The prosecutrix (names withheld), a 10-year-old girl street hawker, was raped by the Appellant at Kangire Village in Birnin-Kudu Local Government. The victim was seen in distress coming out of the room of the Appellant. And upon inquiry by members of the vigilante, she told them that it was the Appellant who raped her. In Rabi’u Usman v State CA/KN/20C/2021, the latter, through investigation, it was discovered he also raped the 10-year-old girl. Both Dauda Malam Mato and Rabi’u Usman confessed to the crime.
The Court of Appeal, after careful appraisal of submissions of the parties, dismissed the three appeals of the convicts and allowed the cross-appeals. In allowing the cross-appeals, Honourable Justice Ita Mbaba had agreed with the argument of cross-appellants led by the Attorney-General in setting aside the 21-year sentencing. His Lordship ruled that the Supreme Court of Nigeria, in the case of Lucky v State, had decided that once a law provides mandatory sentencing, a trial court has no power to deviate from the provision. In Jigawa State, the Penal Code (Miscellaneous Amendment) Law, 2014, has imposed life imprisonment for rape convicts where the victim is below 14 years, as was the case in the three cross-appeals, as such the Court of Appeal sentenced the Appellants to life jail.
His Lordship expresses concern about the molestation of the girl-child by persons he described as evil and wicked men who exploit the vulnerability of innocent children. Honourable Justice Mbaba commended Counsel to the Appellant, Olukayode Ariwoola Junior Esq, for his frankness in not opposing the cross-appeals.
Zainab Baba Santali,
Public Relations Officer,
Ministry of Justice, Jigawa State
30th January, 2022.