By Ankeli Emmanuel (In Sokoto State)
A 20 year-old boy, Yashua'u Shehu of Atakwanyo village in Kware local government area of Sokoto state has been convicted and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for raping a 3 years old girl (name withheld) in Sokoto without option of fine.
Shehu was also handed a five hundred thousand (500,000.00) naira fine as compensation to the rape victim.
Delivering his judgment at the Federal High Court, Sokoto, Justice James Kolawole Omotosho, decried that incidences of sexual exploitation, especially of minors has become disturbingly rampant in the north hence he appealed to parents and governments at all levels to rise up in defense of these vulnerable children.
While stressing that, "It is the duty of all of us to put a stop to the menace of sexual exploitation," Justice Omotosho said the case with FHC/S/22C/2021 was brought by the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking In Person (NAPTIP) Sokoto Zonal Command ( FRN v.Yusha'u Sa'idu over procurement to commit sexual exploitation of a minor aged 3 years.
The charge, according to Justice Omotosho, read, "that you, 20 years old, Yushua' u Shehu (M) of Atakwanyo, Kware Area, Kware local government of Sokoto State at around 04:00pm on or about 27th May 2021 within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court procured one (name withheld) 3 years old female of Minanata area of Sokoto State took her to one Hajiya's house closed to Minanata area Sokoto State and you subjected her to sexual exploitation with yourself. You thereby commit an offence punishable under section 16(1) of the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) enforcement and Administration Act 2015".
Justice Omotosho premised his judgment on complaints from the parents of the victim, medical examination obtained from Nana Khadija Sexual Referral center as well as testimonies of
PW3 and PW4 and that of Doctor Auwal Musa the medical officer that examined the girls which proved beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant procured the survivor for sexual exploitation.
After the defendant pleaded not guilty, his counsel, the Lehal Aid Counslcil headed by its Sokoto State head.
Before reading out his sentence after the conviction of Yishau'u, his counsel, the Legal.Aid Council headed by its Sokoto State head, Barrister Shetima appealed to the Court to be considerate and moderate in passing its sentence on grounds that the accused is a first time offender.
Barrister Shetima also informed the Court that the accused equally have aged parents to cater for. "In addition, the accused is a young man with bright futures ahead. If given opportunity, might be a better citizen through repentance", Shetima pleaded on behalf of the perpetrator.
However, Justice James Kolawole Omotosho sentenced the perpetrator, Yushua'u Shehu to 10 years imprisonment in addition to 500,000.00 compensation for the victim/survivor. NNL.