Court of Appeal Upholds judgment against 2 Rapists, Replaces 7 year sentence to life imprisonment, acquits 2 others charge with act of gross indecency.
Court of Appeal Kano Division on Friday 8th October 2021 upheld the judgment of High Court of Justice Jigawa State against one Mesara Ayuba and Abdurrahman Musa accused to have raped an 8 year old girl and were found guilty of the offence of Rape punishable under Section 283 of the Penal Code (Miscellaneous Amendment) Law No 9, 2014, and were sentenced to 7years imprisonment with ten (10) strokes of cane for ten (10) market days. The decision of the High Court was delivered on 24th September, 2019 by Hounourable Justice Ahmed Isah Gumel (retired).
Both the Appellants and the Respondent (Jigawa State Ministry of Justice) were dissatisfied with the decision. The Appellants appealed against the entire judgment and the Respondent cross appealed on the sentencing. Counsel to the Appellant was Chief Uche F. Ewule Esq and Respondent’s Counsel was the Honourable Attorney-General of Jigawa State Dr. Musa Adamu Aliyu.
In a well-considered judgment, the Court of Appeal through lead decision of Hon. Justice Abubakar Muazu Lamido dismissed the main appeals and affirmed the convictions made by the trial court. However, the Court allowed the Cross Appeals and set aside the sentencing of 7years imprisonment with ten (10) strokes of cane for ten (10) market days with life imprisonment. The Court opined that sentencing for the offence of rape in Jigawa State under Section 283 of the Penal Code (Miscellaneous Amendment) Law No 9, 2014 is mandatory. And no court in Jigawa State has power to reduce the sentencing where the victim’s age is below 14 years.
In another development, Honourable Justice Abubakar Lamido had acquitted one Nura Kabiru and Salisu Abdullahi charged with act of gross indecency. In two separate appeals, the Appellants’ Counsel Chief Uche F. Ewule Esq and A.G. Wakil Esq., respectively challenged the conviction and sentencing of the Appellants on the ground that the Appellants were convicted based on unsworn testimony of minor without corroborative evidence. The evidence of the minor girl was to the effect that the Appellants used to play pornographic films to her privately. Honourable Justice Lamido disagree with the submission of the learned Attorney-General that there were corroborative evidence of Medical Report and evidence of the mother of the victim. According Justice Lamido the so-called corroborative evidence did not support the testimony of the girl. His Lordship concluded that the decision of the Trial High Court, delivered on 24th September, 2019 by Hon. Justice Ahmed Isah Gumel (retired) was an error in law to convict an accused person based on sole evidence of an unsworn testimony of a minor, as such the judgment was set aside and the Appellants were discharged and acquitted.
Zainab Baba Santali
Public Relations Officer
Jigawa State Ministry of Justice
9th October 2021.