Justice Sule Hassan of the Federal High Court in Lagos, on Friday, convicted and sentenced a 58 years old farmer, Yesiru Onajobi, to 10 years imprisonment for sexually assaulting and impregnating his teenage daughter.
Justice Hassan handed down the verdict after holding that the National Agency for Prohibition and Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) had successful proven the charges of rape and unlawful carnal knowledge made against the convicted farmer.
The court expressed dissatisfaction at the high rate of rape, defilement, assault and sexual abuse of the girl child, which had become prevalent in the society.
“The issue for determination as formulated by counsel, can be summed into one, and that is whether the prosecution has proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt.
“Proof beyond a reasonable doubt is not proof beyond any shadow of a doubt; once an ingredient of the offence is proved, it is sufficient proof,” he said.
Hassan held that it was difficult to disbelieve the evidence of the victim who he said gave a vivid account of the incidences, adding that her testimony remained constant at all times.
” The evidence of PW1 was consistent both in her examination-in-chief and under cross-examination.
“PW 2 also corroborated this evidence and the defendant did not produce any evidence to prove his denial.
“I believe the evidence of PW1 and I hold that the prosecution has been able to prove its case.
“I hereby convict you, Yesiru Onajobi, on this charge and I call for allocutus,”
After listening to a very brief allocutus (plea for mercy) by defence counsel who urged the court to temper justice with mercy, the court held that the charge against the convict was a serious one.
“The right of custody of a child does not extend to abuse as done in this charge.
“The offence of defilement and child molestation is becoming rampant in our society, as one cannot leave his child under the care of his neighbour.
“I hereby sentence you, Yesiru Onajobi to 10 years imprisonment each on counts one and two, without an option of fine.
“The terms shall run concurrently from the date of arrest,” he said
The farmer, Yesiru, was first arraigned before Justice Barbara Molokwu by the NAPTIP, in 2011.
The accused was was later re-arraigned on July 8, 2013 before Justice Aneke, following the transfer of the first trial judge, from the Lagos division of the court.
He had pleaded not guilty to the charge, but Aneke had ordered his remand at the Ikoyi Prisons, pending his bail application.
In the charge, the accused was alleged to have committed the offence in 2010.
The prosecution had told the court that after the death of his wife, the accused sexually assaulted his only daughter several times.
It was alleged that the accused intimidated and repeatedly, had forceful carnal knowledge of his daughter, who eventually became pregnant for him.
The offence is said to have contravened the provisions of Sections 13 (1) and 18 (a) of the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Law Enforcement Act, 2003.