From Umar Dankano, Yola.
The Upper Area Court 3 Yola has dismissed an alleged rape suit of a 5 years old minor by a 25 years old man due to failure of the prosecution to prove its case.
In his ruling on the case yesterday, presiding judge, Mr.Umar Isah said the evidences before the court were contradictory in nature as the hospital sources produced conflicting evidences.
“The prosecution failed to prove its case, especially as some witnesses, including staff of the hospital to which the girl was taken following the incident in September 2018, gave contradicting evidences and raised doubt rather than establish a case against the accused,” the court ruled.
Honourable Isah asserted that, while one of the hospital officials who attended to the girl said it was a case of sexual assault on the girl, another said it was malaria.
He added that while the trending opinion remained that it was a case of rape, the first information report before him indicates a case of fingering of the child, which makes it not rape but act of gross indecency.
He concluded that there was too much doubt around the case, and as there was no definitive medical record tendered, and since the accused kept denying any wrongdoing, the court had no choice but to dismiss the case and free the accused.
The judge thus dismissed the case but told the prosecution that they had 30 days to appeal the case before a high court.
The case, Commissioner of Police vrs Muhammed Aliyu, in which the rights group, Centre for Women & Adolescent Empowerment, Yola, has been involved since September 2018, is one in which the accused, Muhammed Aliyu, was charged with sexually assaulting the five-year-old who was a neighbour.
Responding to the judgement, Ms Nuwama Markus of the Women’s Human Rights Officer of the Centre for Women & Adolescent Empowerment, said the outcome was a sad development.
“We’ve been on this case since 2018, all the time hoping something positive will come out of it. It is so unfortunate that we lost it,” Nuwama said.
On the opportunity to appeal the ruling of the Upper Area Court, Nuwama said the Adamawa Coalition Against Rape, a coalition of related organisations, would reflect on the judgement and decide the next line of action.
The case last came to court on December 17, 2019 when it was adjourned to January 14, 2020 after the judge was told that the case file could not be found.
The human rights community had pondered over the sudden disappearance of the file at the time and wondered whether unseen hands were at work.
When the case started some 17 months ago, Muhammed Aliyu who lived in the same compound as the five-year-old’s parents in Yola Town in the Yola capital metropolis, was accused of calling the child into his room and fingering and inflicting injury on her.
The parents of the girl had reportedly been pressurised at the time to let the matter lie low, until the Centre for Women & Adolescent Empowerment with renowned activist, Hajia Asma’u Joda as chairperson, stepped in, got the police involved, and followed the prosecution process.