A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory on Wednesday granted bail to two teenagers accused of raping a 13-year-old girl.
The suspects, James Teikura and Elijah Kufre, 17 years old each, were charged to court by the Nigeria Police Force after they were accused of raping a 13-year-old whom they allegedly captured at a bush path where she had gone to ease herself in April 2016.
According to the charge, the defendants were accused of involvement in criminal conspiracy to forcefully have sex with the girl by threatening her with a knife. They also allegedly warned her not to reveal the information to anyone, lest she would lose her life.
The defendants, both residents of Kubwa in the Nigerian capital, are students of a school known as Makaranta Dutse Alhaji along with the victim who was allegedly raped after she was captured at the bush path close to the school.
Their lawyer, Casmir Adaga, made the application for their bail on Tuesday after they pleaded not guilty to the three-count charge brought against them.
The counsel to the prosecution, Kufre Ebong, did not object to the application, but prayed the court to ensure such conditions as will make the defendants attend trial.
Delivering the ruling, the presiding judge, A.S Adepoju, said the defendants are to be allowed bail with a condition of N5 million each and two sureties in like sum.
The sureties must be civil servants of not less than level 8 cadre.
The alleged victim, now 14, was impregnated after the incident and has since been delivered of a baby boy.
Speaking with PREMIUM TIMES, regarding the matter, Mr. Ebong said the defendants had during the investigation admitted that they raped the victim, but later denied any involvement while taking their plea in court.
He, however, expressed satisfaction with the bail conditions, saying the essence of bail is to allow the defendant attend trail.
Asked to speak regarding the freedom of the defendants and the safety of the victim, Mr. Ebong said he believes she is safe and not under any threat.
The counsel for the defence, however, said the bail conditions are slightly stringent, adding that the defendants may not be immediately able to meet the conditions.
“The conditions are a bit stringent because getting a level eight civil servant like the court has demanded is not going to be easy,” he said.
The father of the victim, Chidera Idoko, a businessman who deals in timber, said he had been pained by the effect the entire incident has had on his daughter.
“My daughter has now stopped schooling, I even had to take her to my mother in the village, because it’s not easy for me. I have been frustrated by the protracted nature of the proceedings especially at the previous court where the matter was taken.”
The defendants were earlier arraigned at an upper area court in Abuja, but as explained by Mr. Idoko’s family friend, Beneath Nnemeka, “the matter did not reach a logical conclusion at the court.”
The Wednesday case was adjourned till October 10.
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
TEXT AD: To advertise here . Call Willie +2347088095401...