Human rights lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, has berated the Nigeria Police Force for moving a rape case against Mr Abdulmumuni Danga, Kogi State Commissioner for Water Resources, to a court in Abuja.
Danga, who raped a lady in Kogi State, is to be charged at the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja Judicial Division, five months after the incident took place.
Effiong said the police were merely trying to sabotage the case by taking it to the Federal Capital Territory where the court lacks jurisdiction over the case.
The rights lawyer also said the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act 2015, under which the commissioner was to be prosecuted was only applicable to the FCT and not Kogi State where the crime took place.
He said, “ALERT: Is police deceiving the public, the victim or itself by filing this charge? The FCT High Court has no jurisdiction to try this case for the following reasons:
“Rape is a state offence and cannot be tried outside the locus criminis (the place where it was committed);
“The alleged sexual offences in this case as stated in counts one to seven of the charge were committed in Lokoja, Kogi State, and not in the FCT;
“The law under which the defendants are charged - Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act 2015 is only applicable to the FCT.
“Section 47 of the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act 2015 specifically states that "This Act applies only to the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja".
"Nigerian courts are usually not seised of matters/cases that occur outside their territorial or geographical jurisdiction.”
Inibehe stated that the action of the police depicts the force as trying to sabotage the case.
He noted that the charges against Danga would amount to waste of public funds.
He, however, urged the police to explore prosecuting the matter under the Penal Code as he insisted that the police must ensure justice was given to the victim through diligent prosecution of the case.
He added, “I do not believe that the Legal Department at the Force Headquarters acted in error. I believe this is a deliberate sabotage.
“If police is not interested in prosecuting the commissioner and his accomplice, there's no point dissipating public funds on a trial at the FCT High Court in a charge that will eventually be struck-out on grounds of want of jurisdiction. The victim should be spared the stress.
“If the Attorney-General of Kogi State is not willing to prosecute, the police should go ahead and file a proper charge at the High Court of Kogi State under to the Penal Code.
“The Attorney-General can then decide whether to allow the police to prosecute or discontinue the case.
“Nobody is above the law. We have to halt the culture of impunity in this country.
“The charges and allegations against Mr Abdulmumuni Danga and his accomplice are serious and should be prosecuted with vigour and diligence. The victim of the dastardly crimes deserves justice.”
SaharaReporters had published that the police will prosecute the case on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Danga was charged on seven counts bothering on rape to brutality, coercion, torture, falsifying of documents and threatening medical officer to forge test result.
He is facing the charges for assaulting and raping a lady named Elizabeth over a Facebook post.
The victim had in a post on her Facebook wall urged the commissioner to assist his kid sister and other members of his family financially.
Speaking with SaharaReporters, Elizabeth said she decided to make the Facebook post following series of complaints by the commissioner’s sister to her.
The post did not go down well with the commissioner, who hired thugs to seize Elizabeth from her home in Lokoja with her three-year-old son.