72-year-old Gets Life Sentence for Defiling Neighbour’s Daughter

Funke Olaode

‘She dragged me inside, blocked my mouth with clothes and sexually assaulted me,” said a girl raped by a septuagenarian (72-year-old) security guard, David Jackson.

She was seven years old at the time of the rape.

The convict committed the offence on May 16, 2022, on Oyedele Close, Ojodu, Berger in Lagos.

According to the victim (name withheld), her brother sent her on an errand when Jackson dragged her into his room, covered her mouth with a handkerchief and raped her.

At the Ikeja Sexual Offences and Domestic Court, before Justice Abiola Soladoye, the second prosecution witness, the victim’s teacher at the time, said a pupil reported to her that the victim was not feeling well and walking awkwardly.

The teacher, in her evidence, said she made an inquiry and discovered that the survivor was complaining of pains in her private parts and that someone sexually assaulted her. This was corroborated by the testimony of the clear, consistent and coherent girl under cross-examination.

Justice Soladoye also said the teacher invited the girl’s parents, but they did not show up. The teacher, therefore, reported the case, and the girl was referred to Mirabel Medical Centre in Ikeja. The medical report from the centre was forwarded to the police.

The state counsel, Ms. Abimbola Abolade, called three witnesses while the convict testified as a sole witness.

The father of the survivor who testified identified the defendant as a security guard around his neighbourhood, and he was with his wife, who was ill in the hospital when the incident happened.

According to the court, the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses were credible and convincing, and the prosecution proved the case of defilement against the defendant.

“First, the survivor was a child as she came to the court to testify. Secondly, the defendant had sexual intercourse with her, and there was no consent as the survivor is a minor,” said the judge.

The judge held that attempts of the accused to shy away from the charge did not hold water. Having established that the convict was guilty, Justice Soladoye sentenced the septuagenarian to life imprisonment.

Soladoye, in her judgment, held that the girl was eight years old when she testified before the court and identified Jackson as a gateman in one of the houses on her street.

In its judgment, the court also held that the testimony of the girl’s father was credible and corroborated with the evidence of the other two prosecution witnesses.

The judge also ordered that the convict’s name be registered in the Sexual Offences Register maintained by the Lagos government.

N1bn Judgment: Appeal Court Upholds Order Freezing AMCON Funds in 24 Banks

Wale Igbintade

The Court of Appeal, Lagos Division has affirmed the order of a Federal High Court in Lagos, freezing the account of the Asset Management Corporation (AMCON) in the custody of 24 commercial banks operating in Nigeria over alleged N1.015 billion debt owed a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Anthony Ajibola Aribisala.

In its lead judgement delivered by Justice Mohammed Mustapha, the appellate court held that the lower court lacked jurisdiction to set aside the order freezing AMCON’s bank accounts.

Other members of the panel, Justice Abdullahi Mahmud Bayero, and Justice Paul Ahmed Bassi aligned themselves with the lead judgment.

The appeal is against the ruling of Justice Tijjani Ringim of the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court, which set aside the order attaching funds belonging to the Asset Management Corporation (AMCON) in the custody of 24 commercial banks operating in Nigeria over the alleged N1.015 billion debt.

Justice Ringim, in his ruling, held that the judgment creditor (Aribisala) failed to seek and obtain the consent of the Attorney-General of the Federation before the commencement of the Garnishee Proceedings against AMCON.

Dissatisfied, the appellant (Aribisala), by a notice of appeal filed on November 18, 2022, prayed the court to allow the appeal and set aside the lower court’s ruling.

The appellant, through his lawyer, Mr. Tayo Oyetibo (SAN), stated that the lower court was wrong when it held that the appellant’s application was predicated on section 19 (3) of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria Act, 2021 (as amended) and section 84 of the Sheriff and Civil Process Act, 2010, which require the consent of the attorney general of the federation before the judgment in issue is enforced against the judgment debtor (AMCON).

He submitted that by section 6(6) (b) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), the judicial powers vested in the Federal High Court shall extend to all matters between persons or between government or authority and any person in Nigeria and to all actions and proceedings relating thereto for the determination of any questions as to the civil right and obligations of the person.

Resolving the matter, Justice Mohammed Mustapha, in his lead judgement, held that the lower court lacked jurisdiction to entertain AMCON’s application seeking setting aside of the garnishee order nisi made on November 4, 2022, when the respondent’s letter dated November 11, 2022, seeking the transfer of the suit to another judge was not filed in the registry of the court.

The court said, “It goes without saying, therefore, that the issue of jurisdiction can never be overemphasised. The defect in the jurisdiction of the lower court can be easily situated within the two conditions stated in the celebrated case of Madukolu V. Nkemdilim (1962) 2 NSCC page 374; as (a) a feature in the case, which ought to have prevented the court from exercising jurisdiction, and (b) the fulfilment of a condition precedent to the exercise of jurisdiction.

“Now, in this case, even though the document was purportedly acted by the deputy chief registrar, (DCR), and the administrative judge, there is nothing to show that it was duly filed by payment of the requisite fees. The payment of the requisite fees, therefore, is to validate the filing of the process presented and enable the registry of the court to carry out all other administrative duties in respect thereof.”

It added, “The payment of fees, which learned counsel for the respondent sought to downplay, is vital in every sense of the word, no less vital than any precondition because it is what validates the process as a legal document capable of being acted upon. Once the necessary fee is not paid, the document becomes a worthless piece of paper legally.

The resort to order 51 Rule 1 of the rules of the lower court cannot rescue the respondent’s case from the abyss because failure to pay fees cannot by any stretch of imagination be termed an irregularity of the sort.

According to the court, the position at law is that when the requisite filing fees have not been paid pursuant to the filing of a court process, the court has no jurisdiction to look at or to take action on the process, and the matter ends there. Payment of the requisite filing fees is a precondition to the validity of any process filed in court. Unless the precondition is satisfied, the court will lack the jurisdiction to entertain the process, the prescribed filing fees of which have not been paid.

It stressed that the administrative judge ought not to have acted on the respondent’s letter, in the circumstances, because it was not a legal document upon which the case could have been reassigned, ruling that “the reassignment of the case to Justice Ringim as a consequence, is a nullity.”

“Having found the lower court lacked jurisdiction to have set aside the order nisi,” said the judge, “I see neither need nor necessity to proceed to determine the other mundane issues in the absence of jurisdiction.”

The judge added, “The appeal succeeds per force judgment of the Federal High Court, Lagos division, in suit number FHC/L/NRJ/9/22 delivered on November 18, 2022,  is hereby set aside.”

Father Bags Life Sentence for Sleeping with Daughter

Funke Olaode

Confusion, anger, and emotions ran through court sympathisers, family members and onlookers as judgment of incest was being delivered by Justice Abiola Soladoye of the Ikeja Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Court in the case of Oluwafemi Asekeji who had canal knowledge of his 14-year-old daughter (name withheld). The state’s prosecution counsel, Ms Abimbola Abolade, told the court that the incident occurred on June 11, 2020, at about 11:00 p.m.

She said the incident took place at the Meiran area of Lagos and that the convict’s daughter was 12 years old when he had unlawful sexual intercourse with her.

According to the judge, the father of the convict, who is 75 years old, in his testimony, told the court that Oluwafemi Asekeji is his son and the father of the victim.

He told the court that his son defiled his granddaughter by having unlawful sexual intercourse with her.

The judge said the victim, in her testimony, told the court that she was 14 years old but that she was 12 years old when her father raped her.

She testified that on June 11, 2020, she and her father were at home when her drunk father came in and asked her to enter the house and then instructed her to lie on a couch and later on the bed. The victim told the court that her father asked her to take off her clothes and then had sex with her.

“He laid on me and put his penis in my vagina, and then he took videos of me and threatened to show the video to people if I told anybody what had happened. After he was done, he asked me to add salt into water and drink it,” she said.

The minor also told the court that she couldn’t tell anyone earlier because the convict had threatened to kill her if she told anyone that he had been sexually abusing her before the June 11, 2020, incident.

The judge also said the medical doctor at Mirabel Medical Centre who examined the victim on June 15, 2020, said the victim told him that her father had sexual intercourse with her several times until the last time when he was arrested.

The doctor who examined the victim said a penis and finger could cause bruises on the victim’s vagina. He also added that the victim’s hymen was broken.

The convict’s grandmother, in her evidence, told the court that she returned from the market and saw blood on the girl’s pants.

She said her granddaughter told her that she was having stomach pain and her father gave her something to drink and then told her the incident that occurred.

The victim’s grandmother said that they had to go and make a report at the Meiran police station. Upon reporting to the police, the accused was arrested.

The convict’s brother, in his testimony, told the court that Asekeji had been causing problems in the family and had been arrested before.

The convict who testified as the sole witness in his case denied having sexual intercourse with his daughter.

The judge sentenced him after finding him guilty of having unlawful sexual intercourse with his 14-year-old daughter.

In her judgment, the judge held that the convict having sexual intercourse with his own daughter was against the law of nature.

She said, “It’s a case of incest that should never be heard of.”

Warri’s Fresh Delineation: Group Alleges Attempt to Rubbish Judiciary, Petitions Chief Judge

Wale Igbintade

The Warri Justice and Truth Forum, a pressure group in the Warri federal constituency, Delta, has raised the alarm over attempts to rubbish the judiciary by making a federal high court sit on appeal over the judgment of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

The group in a statement signed by Comrade Arerebo Egbejule (president), French Ikada (Secretary) and Kenneth Ikoro (public relations officer), stated that since the Supreme Court delivered its judgment in Appeal NO. SC/413/2016: Hon. George U. Timinimi & Ors v. INEC on December 2, 2022, a group of persons representing an ethnic interest in the Warri federal constituency has been shopping for an injunction from different divisions of the Federal High Court to stop the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from implementing the judgment of the highest court in the land.

Giving specific details of the attempts, the group stated that on May 23, 2024, the trustees of Ugbarajo Iwere Leaders Foundation approached the Federal High Court, Warri Judicial Division in suit number FHC/WR/CS/46/2024 to apply for an interim injunction to restrain INEC from going ahead with the fresh delineation without informing the court presided over by Justice I. M. Sani that the Supreme Court ordered the process.

“It is important to note that the subject matter of Suit No. FHC/B/109/1997 has to do with the number of wards only Warri South Local Government Area,” said the group. “But the application for interim injunction was to restrain INEC from going ahead with the fresh delineation in Warri North and Warri South West Local Government Areas, which had nothing to do with Suit No. FHC/B/109/1997.”

However, the group stated that the application for an interim injunction, which was applied for while INEC was having stakeholders’ meeting at Warri on 8/7/2024 to formally commence the delineation process was rejected by Justice Quadri of the Federal High Court, Benin Judicial Division.

The forum stated that all these attempts were aimed at ridiculing the Nigerian judiciary by asking the court to sit on appeal over the judgment of the Supreme Court which is an aberration. It added that the accused persons and their lawyers, in all their applications, deliberately refused to inform the different divisions of the court of the existence of the Supreme Court judgment on fresh delineation in Warri federal constituency.

The forum called on the chief judge of the Federal High Court to maintain and implement the existing policy for matters to be filed within the judicial division where the issues arise from.

It also stressed the need for vigilance and proactive steps to save the Nigerian Judiciary from being rubbished by people who want lower courts to sit on appeals over Supreme Court judgments.

Related Articles