Court frees final-year student detained for four years over defilement

An Ikeja High Court in Lagos State has discharged and acquitted a man, Anisere Sulaimon, of the charges of defilement and sexual assault after he spent four years in detention.

Sulaimon was a final-year student of the Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education at the time of his arrest in 2018. He was also a part-time Arabic teacher.

He had denied the allegation of defiling a four-year-old child at the Mahadu Ridwanullah Arabic and Islamic School, Opeki, Abesan Estate, Ipaja.

The trial commenced on November 8, 2021.
His counsel, Mr Ahmed Adetola-Kazeem, filed a no-case submission on February 14, 2022, which the court upheld.
Justice R. A. Oshodi agreed with his counsel that apart from Sulaimon denying the charges, the prosecution’s lone witness, Mercy Oluranti, also testified that it was a relation of the victim that had carnal knowledge of her.

Oluranti told the High Court that one Kehinde, an uncle to the child, confessed to defiling her.
The judge said, “The prosecution has not made a sufficient case to warrant the defendant being directed to put up a defence to count 1. I uphold the no-case submission in relation to this count and, therefore, accordingly discharge and acquit the defendant on this count.
“Count 2 relates to the same victim, but this time, the penetration of her private parts in a sexual manner by the defendant.”

The court observed that the witness did not witness the alleged offence, adding that like count one, “the evidence of PWI does not raise a prima facie case and there is no ground for proceeding with defence.

I hold that the no-case submission succeeds. The defendant, Anisere Sulaiman, is accordingly discharged and acquitted.”
On June 5, 2018, Sulaimon was brought before an Ikeja Magistrates’ Court on the allegation of defilement and sexual assault and remanded at the Kirikiri Custodial Centre.

The Magistrate, Mrs B.O. Osunsanmi, ordered that he be kept behind bars pending advice from the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Earlier, the prosecutor, Mr Ezekiel Ayorinde, alleged that Sulaimon committed the offence in 2017 at his mosque and the case was adjourned until July 9, 2018.

Following the DPP’s report, the case was moved to the High Court and Sulaimon was arraigned on October 9, 2019, before Justice Sybil Nwaka.

He pleaded not guilty to an amended two-count charge.
But the case was transferred to another court when Justice Nwaka was elevated to the Court of Appeal.

Sulaimon was then re-arraigned before Justice R. A. Oshodi on July 27, 2021.
He was again accused of defilement and sexual assault by penetration and both offences were contained in an amended charge dated October 8, 2019.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *