Cleric remanded for raping underage housemaid

10
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A cleric, Joseph Ma’aji of Barnawa, Kaduna, Kaduna State, accused of raping his 16-year-old house maid, was on Tuesday remanded in the custody of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps by a Chief Magistrate Court in Kaduna.

The Chief Magistrate, Bashir Shittu, ordered that the Reverend be remanded pending advice from the office of the state Director of Public Prosecution.

The Magistrate said the court lacked the power to try the accused, who was arraigned over allegation of rape.

Shittu said: “However, the law said one should be taken to the nearest court, that is why you are brought here pending when the police will conclude their investigations and send the case file to lawyers in the Ministry of Justice.

“The lawyers in the Ministry of Justice would go through the fact of the case as contained in the case file, if they find sufficient evidence, they will charge you to High Court.

“We would also transfer you to the High Court for trial to begin.

“On the contrary if no evidence is found, you will be discharged and the case be terminated.”

Shittu adjourned the case to August 25 for further mention.

Earlier, NSCDC Legal Officer prosecuting the case, Yayayi Jauro, said on July 1, the state social welfare office in Kakuri, Kaduna reported the case of alleged sexual harassment and act of gross indecency against the Reverend.

Jauro said Ma’aji was reported to have been unlawfully having sexual intercourse on several occasions with his underaged maid, who was entrusted to him by her uncle, at his residence in Barnawa, Kaduna since 2015.

Jauro added that Ma’aji had been molesting the girl and requesting for sexual favours unjustifiably and had voluntarily confessed to have committed the crime during investigations.

“Medical reports from Gwamna Awan hospital here in Kaduna had also confirmed commission of the alleged offence.”

He said the offence contravened section 257, 260 and 262 of the Kaduna State penal code law of 2017.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that a Non Governmental Organisation, Bridge that Gap Initiative, had reported the matter to the state Ministry for Human Services and Social Development, requesting it to closely monitor the case.