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Sharia court sentences rapists to N7,000 fine, 20 strokes of cane

A Shariah court sitting in Tudun Wada, Zaria, Kaduna State, has declared three suspected rapists guilty and sentenced them to one-year imprisonment with an option of N7,000 and 20 lashes of the cane.

The judgement handed down by Malam Iliyasu Muhammad Umar has been generating huge controversy as gender activists say it would only encourage more rapists to continue with their perverted way of life.

Daily Trust reports that the convicts, whose names were given as Hassan Suleiman, Ibrahim Usman and Adamu Audu, lured their victims of between nine and ten years while on their way to school.

Suleiman and Usman were reported to intercept their victim, a 9-year-old girl on her way to school and rape her, while Adamu Audu’s victim is the 10-year-old girl. Both girls are pupils of the LEA Primary School in the Tudun Jukun area of Zaria.

The rapists were arrested by a local voluntary community association known as Gyara Kayanka, who said the victims had been regularly raped for several months before the suspects were arrested.

According to reports, the trial judge, Malam Umar, while delivering judgement, held that the prosecution led by one Adamu Yahaya, a police sergeant, was able to convince the court that suspects actually committed the crimes for which they were being tried.

However, the punishment the court gave the convicts did not sit well with many Zaria residents as well as some human rights activists. Those who spoke to journalists said the judgement was disturbing especially given that the judge did not support his decision with any provision of Islamic jurisprudence since it was a Shari’ah court.

Kaduna State Commissioner for Women Affairs, Hafsat Mohammed Baba, in a chat with Daily Trust, criticised the judgement and promised to follow up the case to ensure that justice was served.

The prosecutor in the case, Adamu Yahaya, later explained to journalists that the convicts were charged with “procuration of a minor” and not outright rape, hence that could be the reason they were handed a lesser sentence.

But the Commissioner of Women affairs, disagrees, saying that both are one and the same offence.

The Nigerian Penal Code Act 1960, Chapter 18, Section 275, talks about “Procuration of minor girl”. It states thus: “Whoever, by any means whatsoever, induces a girl under the age of eighteen years to go from any place or to do an act with intent that the girl may be, or knowing that it is likely that she will be, forced or seduced to illicit intercourse with another person shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to ten years and shall also be liable to fine.”

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