6 December 2012

Nigeria: Rape Case Involving Colonel to Be Referred to Superior Court

Kaduna — A Magistrate Court in Kaduna State yesterday struck out the rape case between Lt. Col William Nzidee of the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) and one Maimuna Inusa, over lack of jurisdiction.

Chief Magistrate Sa'adatu Sambo in her ruling struck out the case over the jurisdiction of the court, saying, "This court will not start what it cannot finish so the case should be taken to the high court or the police for proper prosecution and investigation."

She urged the defence counsel to guide his client on the processes involved in taking up a case at the high court.

Lt. Col Nzidee was earlier asked to appear before the court over an allegation that he raped his neighbour's 16- year-old house help.

When the case came up for hearing yesterday at the Chief Magistrate Court, Barnawa, Kaduna, the accused was absent in court, but his counsel, Barrister Odiogiyon Lanke, who was present said they reached an out of court settlement with the counsel to the complainant.

"We held a meeting and we shared with him the correct position of what happened earlier, and he offered to terminate the case. We told him that we want the case to be investigated by the police so that the name of the accused person can be cleared, but he insisted on terminating it today. So, am surprised by the turn of events," he said.

But counsel to Maimuna, Dyagas Ezeliel, argued that no out of court settlement was reached by the two parties.

"We insisted that service should be effected to the Chief of Army Staff and processes should be done because if we are talking of settling a matter out of court, you have to make sure that you have something at hand. I cannot let the accused be a free lancer, so if the court is referring the matter to the high court, fine. That is still a good one, but if we are able to resolve between now and that time, and the family feels it is okay, then we will settle out of court," he said.

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