Abdullahi Ahmad, has raised an alarm after 51-year-old Yakubu Mohammed, who was initially remanded in prison for raping his 13-year old daughter and infecting her with HIV in Dutse, Jigawa State, regained freedom.
The aggrieved Dad who disclosed that the rapist had been convicted and jailed by the government, also added that an official later revealed the accused was only released on bail. Ahmad whose daughter was raped while on her way to school and was later diagnosed to be HIV/AIDS positive, rushed to an independent radio station in the state after he came across the accused on the street.
Ahmad who called on relevant authorities to intervene, said;
“I was shocked and nearly fell down unconscious when I saw Yakubu on the road walking. I later learned that he told his sympathisers he is now free, everything is okay now.”
“My daughter is now HIV positive and stigmatised. I force her to school but she shuns school because her friends snub her.”
On her own part, Ladi Dansure, the state Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, who vowed the suspected rapist will not go unpunished, said;
“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.”
Auwalu Balago, spokesperson of the Jigawa State High Court who spoke on circumstances that led to granting of bail to the rapist, told newsmen that the 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. According to him, 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.
When asked why the trial was conducted without the knowledge of the victim’s parents, Mr Balago said;
“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.”