16 December 2013

Nigeria: Rape of Corps Member - Osun Appeals Acquittal of Monarch

The Osun State Government has filed an appeal before the Court of Appeal sitting in Akure against the judgment of the state High Court that discharged and acquitted Alowa of Ilowa, Oba Adebukola Alli, of wrongdoing in the case of rape of an ex-corps member, Helen Okpara.

Oba Alli stood trial for the alleged rape of Okpara, who served in his domain for almost three years. Justice Oyejide Falola of an Ikirun High Court, however, on October 8 discharged and acquitted the monarch.

The monarch was alleged to have rape the ex-corps member at his private house in Osogbo, the state capital, a few kilometers to his domain.

After series of long adjournment, the case was transferred from the Magistrates' Court to the High Court for lack of jurisdiction.

The state Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General, Hon. Wale Afolabi, in a statement issued by the Information Officer of the ministry, Mr. Bello Opeyemi, said the ministry had filed an appeal against the judgment at the appellate court, adding that the state government was prepared to pursue the case to a logical conclusion.

The statement read: "The Osun State Government as a believer in the rule of law and a respecter of women's rights, is ready to pursue the case to its logical conclusion. The state government is very displeased with the judgment and has directed the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice to appeal against the judgment and explore all lawful means to see to it that justice is done in the case."

The statement added that the state Ministry of Justice had on December 12 filed an appeal against the judgment of the High Court, stressing that the ministry had concluded all arrangements for the prosecution of the case at the Appeal Court.

A text message from the state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Sunday Akere, also confirmed to THISDAY that the state government would appeal against the judgment but efforts to reach the monarch for comments proved futile as he could not be reached on his mobile phone.

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