A father has expressed his shock after he came across a man on the street who had been remanded in prison for raping his 13-year old daughter and infecting her with HIV. Abdullahi Ahmad said he had been told the alleged rapist had been convicted and jailed by the Jigawa State Government.
An official later told Premium Times the accused was only released on bail.
Yakubu Mohammed, 51, a resident in Dutse, the Jigawa State capital, was handed over to the police for allegedly raping the schoolgirl.
Father of the victim, Mr Ahmad, reported the development to Premium Times and an independent radio station in the state after he came across the accused on the street.
He said his daughter (name withheld) was raped by Mr Mohammed while on her way to school. She was later diagnosed to be HIV/AIDS positive, the State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development confirmed to Premium Times.
“I was shocked and nearly fell down unconscious when I saw Yakubu on the road walking,” Mr Ahmad told Premium Times.
“I later learned that he told his sympathisers he is now free, everything is okay now.
“This makes me to rush to the media to come to my rescue. The last time I saw him was the day I took him to the police station, I didn’t know how he was prosecuted, I was told he was convicted, only for me to see him walking freely.”
Mr Ahmad appealed to the authorities to intervene, saying, “My daughter is now HIV/AIDS positive and stigmatised. I force her to school but she shuns school because her friends snub her.”
Ladi Dansure, the state Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, however, vowed the suspected rapist will not go unpunished.
“I heard that he bribed his way out of jail by giving out N200,000. Whoever collected the money must face the wrath of the law,” Mrs Dansure said.
Explaining the circumstances under which the alleged rapist regained freedom, Auwalu Balago, spokesperson of the Jigawa State High Court, said he was only released on bail.
He said a magistrate, Sa’adan Habib, who granted the accused person bail followed the laid down procedure and relied on section 36 of the 1999 Constitution, which presumes an accused innocent until the contrary is proved.
He said the judge also relied on section 341, subsection 2, A, B, C of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC).
“The trial of the suspected rapist is ongoing. The public perception that the he was convicted and later set free is not true. He was released on bail. The case being high profile does not mean that the accused person cannot be granted bail, bail is a constitutional rights. If eventually, he is found guilty, he will be sentenced to jail accordingly” said Mr Balago.
Mr Balago was asked why the trial was conducted without the knowledge of the victim’s parents.
“Under criminal case, it it is not necessary that the parents of the raped victim must be notified before prosecution. This is because of the gravity of the offence. The case is no longer between the parents of the raped victim and the accused person, but between the state government or the commissioner of police and the accused person.
“The parents of the raped victim are just complainants and their complaint stopped at the police station. They may be invited by the police to testify before the court, but it is not always necessary as in this case.
“What is important for the public to understand is that the trial is ongoing, it has been adjourned to July 10.”