By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
An Abuja High Court has okayed a soldier, Lance Corporal Oge Etudo to die by hanging after he was found guilty of rape and culpable homicide.
The 30 years old convicted soldier was said to have on March 27, 2014, at Dei-Dei suburb of the FCT, abducted, stabbed and raped a married woman identified as Binta Usman Kadede to death inside the bush.
The randy soldier was previously attached to a battalion of the Nigerian Army at Lungi Barracks in Abuja.
The convict was found to have acted in breach of sections 220 and 221 of the Penal Code law.
Trial Justice A.S. Adepoju who declined plea of allocutus by the defence lawyer, stressed that pictorial evidence adduced before the court showed that the defendant gruesomely murdered his victim.
“I will not also show mercy to him”, the Judge who was almost moved to tears declared.
Consequently, the court convicted the defendant on a two-count criminal charge that was entered against him by FCT commissioner of police.
The charges read: “That you L/Cpl Oge Etudo “M” 27 years of Nigerian Army, Lungi Barracks Abuja on or about March 27, 2014, at about 1600hrs at Dei-Dei, near Conoil filling station, Abuja within the Abuja judicial division did committed culpable homicide punishable with death in that you caused the death of one Binta Usman Kadede “f” of Dei-Dei village Abuja by stabbing her on the neck and body with knife which resulted to her death when you know that death will be the probable consequences of your act. You thereby committed an offence contrary to section 220 of the Penal Code and punishable under section 221 of the Penal Code.
“That you L/Cpl Oge Etudo “M” 27 years of Nigerian Army, Lungi Barracks Abuja on or about March 27, 2014, at about 1600hrs at Dei-Dei, near Conoil filling station, Abuja within the Abuja judicial division did rape one Binta Usman Kadade “f” of Dei-Dei village by forcefully having sexual intercourse with her against her wish and thereafter stabbed her neck and body with knife to death you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 282 of the Penal Code and punishable under section 283 of the Penal Code”.
The defendant had earlier pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
He equally entered a no-case-submission after the prosecution closed its case after it called four witnesses and tendered 21 exhibits.
Following the dismissal of his no-case-submission, the accused soldier decided to testify for himself, maintaining that he was innocent of the charge.
While denying knowledge of the crime, the defendant who was earlier dismissed from the Army, told the court that although he was at Dei-Dei on the date of the incident, he said he was only there to see a friend called Igwe to discuss his wedding plans with him.
“I was a guard commander in my Commander Tango’s house. I took a break by 10 am after submitting my arms and ammunition to my junior, I left to Dei-Dei to see my friend called Igwe at Dei-Dei to discuss about my planned white weeding.
“I stopped at Dei-Dei to urinate, in the process I was attacked by some hoodlums who inflicted injuries in me. I ran to the Conoil filling station”, he added.
He told the court that at the time he was attacked, he was in his military uniform and was carrying a cash of N55, 000 on him.
“On reaching the Conoil, I shouted thief! thief! and fainted due to loss of blood.
“I did not know what happened after regaining consciousness, I found myself in the hospital Unclad.”
Nevertheless, one of the prosecution witnesses, Usman Ishaq, a security guard at a block industry in Dei- Dei, told the court that he saw the defendant force the deceased into the bush.
“He was a passenger on a motorbike,(okada) when he came towards the deceased side, he told the Okada rider to stop. He dropped from the motorcycle and asked him to go. And he forced the deceased – a milk seller, into the bush.
“When I got to the point where they entered the bush, I met the accused person on top of the deceased with knife. He was stabbing her on the neck and on the abdomen”.
The witness said he mobilized people who got him arrested after attempting to escape.
Husband of the deceased, Usman Adamu, also testified as PW2.
The prosecution counsel, Mr. Simon Lough, further tendered a medical report signed by a Chief Consultant Pathologist, Gwagwalada Specialist Hospital, Abuja, Dr. A.U. Mukthar.
The report which was admitted in evidence by the court reads: ” The body of a middle aged female with obvious sharp metal object injuries to the neck anterior abdominal wall around the umbilicus and around the Vulva areas. The neck injuries revealed sharp mental lacerations on the back of the neck with cervical fractures and severe haemorrhage.”
After evaluating the evidence and exhibits placed before her, Justice Adepoju held that the prosecution successfully proved its case against the accused person.
“The observation of the Doctor stating that there were injuries around the vulva area with cervical fractures and corroborated the uncontradicted evidence of the eye-witness who saw the accused person on top of the deceased with a knife and who when he saw him adjusted his repaired trouser.
“The blouse won by the deceased was ripped open around the neck and in front evidenced the use of force and struggle with the deceased by the accused.
“The court would be satisfied that there was penetration even if the hymen was not ruptured or if there was no emission of semen. The slightest penetration is sufficient to conclude that there was penetration.
“I am satisfied that the prosecution has proven that the accused person penetrated the vagina of the deceased. Photographs of the deceased showed that the blouse that was worn by the deceased was ripped open around the neck and in front”.
The court held that the prosecution established the required ingredients of the case of rape under section 83 of Panel Code.
“The accused is hereby convicted of the offence of rape.
“The accused person is hereby sentenced to death by hanging for the offence of culpable homicide under section 221 of the Panel Code.
“He is to pay the supreme price for his callousness and his ungodliness.
“He has shown no mercy by slaying the victim, I have no mercy for him as well. On the charge of rape, the accused is sentenced to five years imprisonment with hard labour. The terms are to run concurrently”, Justice Adepoju held.