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Alleged N2bn fraud: Maina’s ill-health stalls trial

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The Federal High Court in Abuja, Tuesday could not continue with the trial of the former Chairman, Pension Reform Task Team, PRTT, Abdulrasheed Maina following his reported health challenge.

It would be recalled that Maina is under prosecution by the anti-graft agency, EFCC, on a 12-count charge of N2 billion alleged pension fraud bordering on money laundering, operating fictitious accounts and other fraudulent activities.

But at the resumed hearing, officers of the Nigeria correctional facility sought audience with the court with a letter of medical report issued by a doctor with the facility, Idowu Ajayi.

Presiding Judge, Okon Abang having acknowledged the mail, thereupon asked the prosecutor and defendants counsels for their take on suspect’s ill health.

However, their answer was in negative.

Subsequently, Maina’s counsel asked the court for a week adjournment to enable his client to get better.

Also, the prosecutor, Mohammed Abubakar, then asked the court for an order directing the deputy comptroller of Nigeria correctional facility in charge of medicals to personally examine the defendant to ascertain his true state of health.

In his ruling, Abang held that a medical report cannot act as an order to stay proceedings.

He noted that the doctor who claimed to have examined the defendant did not include a time the defendant was supposed to have recovered.

It was on this premise that the court consequently ordered the deputy comptroller of the Nigeria correctional facility in charge of medicals and welfare to examine the defendant and, adjourned to November 7, for continuation of trial.

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Metro/Crime

Man bags 20 years for raping teenager

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An Ikeja Special Offences Court, Friday, sentenced a 38-year-old barber, Jobi Kayode, to 20 years in prison for raping his 12-year-old neighbour (name withheld).

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo sentenced Kayode after finding him guilty of a charge of defilement due to the strength of the complainant’s testimony and the medical evidence.

“The prosecution has proved its case beyond reasonable doubt and I hereby convict him on the offence of defilement, as charged.

“The instances of rape have become prevalent in our society and it is almost becoming an epidemic. The defilement of a 12-year-old neighbour, who trusted him as her neighbour, is heinous.

“The defendant is hereby sentenced to 20 years in prison, to be served at the Kirikiri Correctional Centre, with no option of fine. The sentence starts from today, November 8, 2019,” the judge said.

NAN reports that five witnesses (the complainant, her parents, a medical doctor and a police officer) testified for the prosecution during the trial, while Mr Kayode testified solely in his defence.

The complainant (name withheld), who was a Junior Secondary School One (JSS1) student, while testifying during the trial, had said that the convict had the habit of making lewd advances at her and showing her his manhood whenever she was heading home from school.

While being led in evidence by F. O. Ligali, the lead prosecuting counsel, she said “I usually close from school at 4 pm. from Mondays to Thursdays and 2 pm. on Fridays.

“Whenever I’m coming back from school, he (defendant) usually makes advances at me and sometimes brings out his penis and shakes it at me,” she said.

The student said that one day when she was opening the gate to the compound of her home, the defendant approached her and told her he wanted to see her neighbour in the compound.

She said that immediately he got into the compound, he overpowered her and raped her.

“He threatened me that if I should tell anyone about what he did to me, he would kill me,” she said.

The complainant said she did not tell anyone about the incident and that three days later, he approached her again while she was opening the gate of her compound, telling her, again, that he wanted to see her neighbour.

“He promised not to rape her and when he got into the compound, he rushed at me faster than the first time and raped me. He again threatened to kill me if I should tell anyone,” she said.

The complainant said that she did not tell her parents about the incident but that she revealed the incident after a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) who came to give sex education in her school.

She said she confided in a member of the NGO team about the defilement, who later informed her teacher who, in turn, told her to inform her parents but that she declined to tell her parents out of fear.

According to her, her mother was informed about the rape by her teacher during a PTA meeting, while the mother informed her father who, in turn, reported to the authorities.

Kayode, in his defence, denied raping his neighbour.

“I had, at no time, visited the complainant’s compound. Their gate was always locked with a padlock,” he said.

Before the sentence was passed, Saheed Sanusi, the defence counsel, in his allocutus (plea for mercy), had asked the court to temper justice with mercy.

“We plead for leniency; the defendant is a first time offender; he has a family to look after. His family will suffer as a result.

“We plead the court for leniency so that he will continue to support his family. He has learnt his lesson; such an incident will not happen again,” Sanusi pleaded.

According to the prosecution, the convict committed the offence on June 21, 2015, at the Shangisha area of Lagos.

“The offence contravenes Section 137 of the Criminal Law of Lagos, 2011,” Ligali said.

(NAN)

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Metro/Crime

Herders on rampage, attack police convoy, occupy farmlands in Jigawa

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A group of prowling armed herdsmen injured an officer during an attack on a police convoy in Kirikassamma local government area of Jigawa State.

The police were sent in after the residents reported that some herdsmen had invaded their communities and were ravaging farms and stealing crops in the area.

Some residents said the injured police officer was hit with arrows while some residents were also injured in the attack which occurred on Saturday.

The police confirmed that the injured officer was taken away for treatment at Nguru General Hospital in neighbouring Yobe State.

Police spokesperson in Jigawa, Audu Jinjiri, said the officer was responding to treatment.

He said the herdsmen ambushed the police convoy after officers chased them from farms in the area.

A resident in the community, Ibrahim Bara’u, said the herdsmen are camped in Iyo and Gishinawa forest at the other side of a river which security agents had not been able to cross to engage the armed herdsmen.

The state’s chairman of Rice Farmers Association (AFAN), Usman Maiunguwa-Jaga, told PREMIUM TIMES on Tuesday that the herdsmen were still camped in the forest, taking advantage of the terrain.

The AFAN chairman said local farmers were preparing to confront the invaders until the security agents arrived after the governor was informed of the tension in the area.

He said the herdsmen relocated from Zamfara and Katsina states following a peace agreement with the state governments.

It was, however, reported how the influx of the herdsmen caused a panic in Miga Local Government Area of Jigawa. An official then said the herdsmen ”destroyed 18 rice and guinea corn farms” in the area.

Jinjiri said the police had sent in reinforcement and restored normalcy in the area.

“The police have been responding to distress calls from the communities. Apart from the conventional police officers, we also mobile officers in the communities.

“The herders are on transit in the area. Only the stubborn ones leave their camp to destroy farms. The police have sent officers there to protect lives and property”.

He also urged the residents not to take the law into their hands, adding, “we’re on top of the situation.”

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Police raid ‘torture centre’ free 259 in Oyo

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Police officers from the Oyo State Police Command on Monday raided an Islamic school located at Ojoo area of Ibadan, the state capital and freed 259 students who were being maltreated, an official has said.

The school is operated by Ismail Olore.

The Commissioner of Police, Shina Olukolu, who led his men to the scene of the incident, said he freed 34 females, 191 males, 11 children, “and 23 sick ones who were allegedly detained and chained for the past two to 10 years ago.”

Olukolu who addressed journalists at the school, said that four suspects have been arrested.

The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Olugbenga Fadeyi, said the victims will be taken to ‘reformation’ centres in order to give them urgent medical attention.

“Oyo State government is involved in the evacuation process, and the police are currently investigating to unravel the incident,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Inclusion in the state, Fausat Sanni, said the situation was very pathetic but said: “the state government is currently on top of the situation”.

Mrs Sanni said, “We got a distress call in our office this afternoon, and we came immediately to the scene of the incident. We have made arrangements to evacuate some of them to the hospital, as well as our correctional homes.”

The Director of Ali Institute for Qur’an Memorisation, Ali Abdussalam, had earlier described some ‘schools’ in the city “claiming to be rehabilitation centres’ as torture centres.”

Abdussalam, a former president (Amir), Muslim Students Society of Nigeria (MSSN), University of Ibadan, spoke during the graduation ceremony of the institute.

He said those centres “should not be linked to Islam because they (owners) do not have good motive before they (centres) were set up”.

“That is why I said that we have a motive. The motive is to breed youth that will change the society for positive. If you observe those places that you just mentioned, you ask yourself, what kind of people established those places? They are people of questionable characters.

“And there is no way that you will be a teacher, when you have a wrong education, the students that you will teach will take after that your wrong education. That is what caused Boko Haram. You will see that they are giving the wrong education. This affected them.”

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