Man Sentenced to Death, Others Jailed for Rape in Edo

Adibe Emenyonu in Benin-city

An Edo State High Court in Auchi yesterday convicted and sentenced one Taofeek Isah to death by hanging for kidnapping and attack with a harmful substance, while three others were sentenced to jail terms ranging from four to 19 years.

The convicts namely: Taofeek Isah, Jeremiah Okamudu, Godwin Adeyemi, and Miracle Pius, were brought before the court on a five-count charge of rape, kidnapping, attack with a harmful substance, inflicting physical injury, and unlawful trial by ordeal.

The presiding Judge, Justice Philip Imoedemhe, in his judgment, sentenced Isah, the first defendant, to death; Jeremiah Okamudu, the second defendant, to four years imprisonment without any option of fine; while Miracle Pius, the fourth defendant, was jailed for 19 years without any option of fine.

Justice Imoedemhe held that all the evidence tendered before the court convinced him beyond reasonable doubt that the first, second and fourth defendants were guilty of the crimes.

He ordered that Isah be sentenced to death by hanging while the other convicts be taken to the Auchi Correctional Centre to serve their jail terms.

The lead prosecutor from the Edo State Ministry of Justice, Clement Eseigbe, had during the trial, submitted that Isah connived with three of his friends to kidnap, gang-rape and grievously assault a 20-year-old Blessing Ezekiel.

The prosecutors said the defendants committed the offences on October 22, 2021, at Okpella community in Etsako East Local Government Area of the state.

Another prosecutor, Adekutu, said: “The defendants applied pepper into the private part of Blessing Ezekiel and inflicted physical injury on her with cutlass, wood and other dangerous objects.”

The offences committed “are contrary to Section 4 and punishable under Section 5 (1), (B), Section 25 (1) of the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Law 2021.”

In another case, the court also sentenced a 61-year-old man, Taiwo Buoro, to 10 years imprisonment for raping a 12-year-old girl.

In his judgment, Justice Imoedemhe sentenced Buoro to prison without any option of a fine.

Buoro, a farmer, committed the offence on September 19, 2021, at Ososo in Akoko-Edo Local Government Area of Edo State.

The offence is contrary to Section 4 and punishable under Section 5 (1) of the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Law of Edo State 2021.

Reacting to the verdicts, representatives of a group, BraveHeart Initiative (BHI) for Youth and Women, expressed excitement, as the group workers provided comprehensive support to the survivors in both cases and applauded the judgement.

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