A Sagbama High Court sitting in Yenagoa has sentenced a 21-year-old man, Timiondu Jephtath, to 10 years imprisonment for raping a five-year-old girl to death sometime in 2016 at Akede Community of Sagbama Local Government Area of the state.
The Presiding Judge, Justice E.G Omukoro in his ruling in the suit numbered SHC/4C/2016 with a one-count charge of murder brought against the accused by the State Ministry of Justice, declared that the charge becomes manslaughter due to the inability of the prosecution to prove the intent to commit murder.
In his ruling, after considering the defendant’s plea of allocutus, Justice Omukoro declared that the court is mindful of the youthful age of the defendant who could be redeemed and make amends by way of atonement for his action, ordered that “the defendant be detained at the Okaka Correctional Centre in Yenagoa or elsewhere as the Governor may determine for a period of 10 years at the pleasure of the State.”
It would be recalled that in 2016, the accused who was aged 16 years, was arrested for raping to death the five years old girl and flinging her lifeless body into an abandoned fish pond close to his residence.
A private legal practitioner, Deme Pamosoo Esq, who acted as the counsel to the victim’s parents ensured that the victim’s body was recovered, an autopsy conducted by the Police and a watertight case file, presented to the State Ministry of Justice for the Director of Public Prosecution recommendation for trial.
Reacting to the development, the Acting Chairperson of the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Ebimietei Ottah, described the ruling as a victory to the victims of rape, defilement, and violence against women in the state, “it is a sound warning to the general public that it is no longer business as usual in Bayelsa State. Once you are brought before the law, the law will take its course and catch up with you.”
“It has been a worrisome practice in Bayelsa State and more worrisome are the issue of negotiation with culprits by parents of victims of defilement or rape. It can no longer be tolerated or swept under the carpet as settlement. We call on parents, teachers, neighbours, and guardians to be vigilant and speak out against cases of rape, defilement, and violence against women in the state.”