A Nigerian army corporal has been sentenced to five years in prison by a military court martial, after he was found guilty of defiling a 13-year-old girl in Bama Local Government Area of Borno State.
Besides the five-year sentence, the court martial on Wednesday, also dismissed the corporal after the trial which lasted for over two years.
The 7-division General Court Martial of Operation Lafiya Dole had charged him for assault and defilement of the girl who had newly returned to her hometown after years of displacement in Maiduguri.
The prosecution had described in graphic details how Corporal Yakubu waylaid and raped the minor, abandoned her in an uncompleted building after beating her to unconsciousness.
The survivor who later gained consciousness staggered out and was sighted by a passerby who helped her home. Yakubu, on the other hand, had already fled the crime scene.
Military authorities commenced investigation when the assault was reported, leading to the identification of the suspect who had a ready-made alibi claiming that he had traveled out of Bama town on the “31st of June.”
The President of the Court martial, Brigadier-General Arikpo Ekubi, said the arraigned soldier in an attempt at defense, sought to back his claim that he was in Maiduguri at the time material to the case.
“A unit armourer from 202 tank battalion who kept a book to record passes tendered the book as exhibit “D” but it ended up strengthening the case of prosecution that the accused person traveled the very day of the incident as stated by the investigating police officer,” he explained.
According to him, “it is noteworthy that the accused person did not specifically deny assaulting the victim as he tried in respect of count one, he only relied on his failed alibi without debunking the glaring issue of assaulting the victim.”
The President of the court martial, Brigadier-General Arikpo Ekubi, while handing down the judgement described the actions of the corporal as barbaric and capable of dragging the name of the Nigerian Army in the mud.
“This court hereby sentence you as follows: Count 1: Five years imprisonment. Count 2: Dismissal from service. These sentences are, however, subject to confirmation by the prescribed authority as provided by sections 151 SS 1d and 157 ss 1b of the Armed forces Act,” Ekubi declared.
The dismissed soldier broke down in tears as he was escorted out of the courtroom.
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