By Adeyinka Adedipe
A man identified as Taofeek Isah has been sentenced to death by hanging for rape, kidnap and attack with harmful substance, while three others have been sentenced to jail terms ranging from four to 19 years in Edo State.
The sentences were handed to the convicts by the Edo High Court sitting in Auchi on Thursday.
The convicts, Isah, Jeremiah Okamudu, Godwin Adeyemi, and Miracle Pius were brought before the court on a five-count charge of rape, kidnapping, attack with 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 the option of fine, while Miracle Pius, the fourth defendant was jailed for 19 years without the 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.
Imoedemhe ordered that Isah be hanged to death 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 offence on October 22, 2021, at Okpella Community in Etsako East Local Government Area of Edo State.
“The defendants did rub pepper into the vagina of Blessing and inflicted physical injury on her by beating her with a cutlass, wood and other dangerous objects,” another prosecutor, Adekutu said.
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 a similar case, the court also sentenced a 61-year-old man, Taiwo Buoro, to 10 years imprisonment for raping a 12-years old girl.
Justice Imoedemhe in his judgment sentenced Buoro without an option of 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 BraveHeart Initiative for Youth and Women expressed excitement.
The NGO workers provided comprehensive support to the survivors in both cases and applauded the judgement.