ANTI-rape campaigners celebrated a significant victory earlier today when a Yaba Magistrates’ Court in Lagos State discharged and acquitted a 15-year-old girl accused of murdering her father’s 51-year-old friend who tried to rape her.
Over the last week, anti-rape campaigners have stepped up their activities across Nigeria in response to several cases of sexual abuse, at least one involving the murder of a young woman. There is now pressure on the government to act by passing new laws with more stringent sentences and for the police to become more proactive with prosecutions.
In a major boost for the campaigners, Chief Magistrate Adebowale Ojo of the Yaba Magistrates Court struck out the murder charge filed by the police against the Senior Secondary School (SSS), three pupil. She was charged with murdering a man who tried to rape her.
In his judgement, Magistrate Ojo said the court had received the Director of Public Prosecution’s report which corroborated the facts of the matter as set out in the case file. However, Magistrate Ojo said that there were insufficient facts to establish a prima facie case of murder against the suspect, so he discharged and acquitted her.
Reacting to the new judgment, the teenager’s parents thanked the Lagos state government and the Office of Public Defender (OPD), for coming to their rescue with free services. On March 24, the State Criminal Intelligence and Investigation charged the teenager to court alleging that she had stabbed the deceased, Babatunde Ishola, to death.
Mr Ishola was until his death a security staff with a school in Aboru community before the unfortunate incident occurred on March 7, at Nwadolu Street, Aboru, Lagos. The plea of the teenager had earlier been rejected while an order was brought before the court to remand the defendant at the Lagos State Correctional Home for Girls, Idi Arabia, while the case was adjourned for legal advice from the OPD.