From Umar Dankano, Yola.
The disappearance of a case file charging one Aliyu Muhammad, 25 years of Yola town accused of defiling a 5 years minor at Upper Area Court 3 Yola has created tension and apprehension among right groups and family members in Yola Tuesday.
As soon as the human rights activists pursuing the prosecution of a child defilement suspect and her family assembled at the court for final verdict on the case and we told that the case file was nowhere to be found.
They expressed their disenchantment in court when they leant that the case file was not among the cases to be presided over by the judge despite being the adjournment date.
The case which became a court issue last year, September 2018, has been about a 25-year-old man, Aliyu Mohammed, who is being tried for allegedly defiling a five-year-old neighbour in Yola town, Yola South Local Government Area of Adamawa State.
After many court proceedings over the past sixteen months, judgement on the case was fixed for Tuesday, but it had to be adjoined to January 14, 2020 after the judge, Hon Umar Isa of Upper Area Court 3, was told that the file was not available.
The Women/Human Rights Desk Officer of an NGO, Centre for Women & Adolescent Empowerment, Ms Nuwama Markus, who has been following the case, described the development as most unfortunate.
She said, “This case was due for judgement two weeks ago, but it was adjourned to today because lawyers were marking their Bar Week. It is so very sad that it has to be adjoined once more.”
The sudden disappearance of the file came to light Tuesday afternoon when the Police Prosecutor, Srgt Ibrahim Aliyu, reminded the judge about the case after the judge had already treated a number of other cases.
When the judge asked for the file on the case, his clerk told him it was unavailable. He asked that the registrar be made to bring it, but was told the registrar was away.
The judge then rescheduled the judgement for January 14 and ordered that the file be produced by then.
The case had started in September 2018 when the suspect was dragged before the law after he was accused of sexually abusing the minor who lived with her parents in the same compound with him in Yola Town.
The five-year-old had told her mother that bloodstain which was noticed on her pant resulted from an act of the suspect.
The suspect had denied the charge and has since been reporting to court from a new place of aboard he moved to after he was released from detention on bail.