An Ogun State High Court sitting in Isabo, Abeokuta, has sentenced a retired soldier, Alabi Ibrahim, to life imprisonment for raping his 10-year-old stepdaughter and infecting her with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).
The convict was alleged to have committed the crime in 2012 and was subsequently arrested and tried following intervention from the Ogun State Chapter of Child Protection Network (CPN), an umbrella body of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) that fight for the rights of children.
A medical report presented in the court from the Federal Medical Centre, Abeokuta, established that the convict had sexually assaulted the girl and also infected her with HIV.
The report tendered by a medical practitioner, Dr. Seyi Adejobi, says that after the defilement, medical investigation revealed that the girl had been penetrated, and blood investigation also showed that she had HIV.
The blood sample of the convict also tested positive for the virus.
However, Counsel to the convict, Adebola Okudoro, told the court that the allegation against him was hearsay, thereby appealing to the court to temper justice with mercy in seeing that his client was not sentenced.
He pleaded, “My Lord, the accused person is a first offender. The health of the accused should be put into consideration. He is infected with HIV and will need access to medical attention, which is very expensive, and there is no such facilities in prisons custody.
“The accused person is the breadwinner of the family. He has several dependants. We pray the court to temper justice with mercy,” he pleaded.
In his judgement, however, the presiding judge, Justice Abiodun Akinyemi, said that the accused faced a one-count charge of having sexual intercourse with the child; offence said to be contrary to section 3 of Child Rights Law, noting that the court was convinced with the allegation against the accused after several court sittings.
Akinyemi further added that the victim’s testimony during cross examination showed that she was telling the truth and not being tutored, as there were concrete evidence that the victim was sexually assaulted, having also lost count on number of times the convict assaulted her.
“The court is convinced about the girl’s evidences. She is intelligent, she remained consistent during cross examination and she does not seem to have been tutored.
“I find her evidence credible. Evidence of her mother corroborated her own,” the judge stated.
The presiding judge also made reference to the medical report which stated that the accused infected the girl with HIV, stressing that the convict’s action has brought a permanent stigma on the innocent girl.
“I am fully convinced that the accused had repeatedly had sex with the girl. I found the accused guilty as charged. I find it not in my mind to show any mercy.
“The man is shameless, sleeping with mother and child, what an abomination.
“People like him need not to be in the society. I therefore sentence him to life imprisonment. He should, however, be given access to reasonable treatment,” the judgement declared.