A 23-year old man, Samuel Godwin Effiong, who is facing a rape charge at Oshodi magistrateâ€™s court, has made a shocking proposal to the 27-year old rape victim (name withheld) at the court by offering to marry her to compensate her.
Effiong made the offer in the open court to the victim by proposing to marry her before the presiding magistrate, Mrs. Osho Adebiyi.
Effiong told the court, in the presence of the victim, that he was ready to marry the victim and take care of the baby if she was pregnant as a result of the rape.
He said the proposal will facilitate the final settlement of the rape charge against him.
Effiong was charged to court for allegedly raping the 27-year old woman under false pretence.
He was alleged to have worn his brotherâ€™s military uniform and arrested the victim at Ikeja area.
Instead of taking her to the barracks as he claimed while arresting her, he took her on a motorcycle to a hidden place at Mafoluku Oshodi where he raped her.
He was however unlucky when someone who suspected their movement raised an alarm that attracted other neighbours and the police.
Effiong was eventually arrested and charged to court.
He pleaded not guilty.
The court granted him bail in the sum of N200,000 with two sureties in like sum.
When the matter came up, he made the offer so that he would regain his freedom.
Lawyers who spoke to P.M.NEWS this morning said despite offering to marry the victim, the accused will have to face trial to enable the law take its course.
The former Secretary-General of Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Lagos branch, Mr. Ike Ukor, said â€œNo, the law will still have to take its course, unless the woman agrees to marry and drop the charge.â€
In his reaction, Festus Keyamo, legal practitioner, said: â€œthe accused marriage proposal does not legalise the crime, though it all depends on the woman because once the woman drops the charge and says â€˜I am no longer pursuing the caseâ€™ that will be the end of the case, as the prosecution needs the evidence of the woman to convict the man.â€
Another lawyer, Mr. Paul Ogundele said as the issue is, the legal implication is that since the accused in the rape matter agrees to marry the victim, there is the likelihood of the case being frustrated, especially when the victim consents to the marriage since she is the sole witness in the case. They will be expected to give overwhelming evidence for the prosecution of the case.
Another Lagos lawyer, Mr. Tahiru Najim while also aligning himself with the opinion of other lawyers, said the man cannot be exonerated.
â€œHe is still liable in strict legal terms because it is the relationship that existed at the time the offence was committed that counts.â€
Mr. Alex Uzebu, another Lagos-based legal practitioner, said the offence had already been committed.
â€œIt has no bearing at all with the marriage proposal. Just like a man who steals another manâ€™s car and decided to return it after he was caught or offers to buy the car, the person is liable.â€
Orionye from the law firm of Ade Oyebanji & Co. opined that the man cannot be exonerated from the charge of rape unless the woman decides to drop the charge against him.
â€œIf she drops the charge, then the man can escape and if not, when the case is proved, the man will be liable.â€
â€”Akin Kuponiyi & Cyriaus Izuekwe