An Ikeja-based Lagos High Court has sentenced a 32-year-old carpenter, Onyekachi Agu, to seven years in prison with hard labor for pouring acid on his ex-girlfriend and her rival.
The corrosive substance, the acid, caused severe bodily harm to his rival, Mansur Ahmed, and his ex-girlfriend, Aishat Adefarati.
Magistrate Judge Oyindamola Ogala, while passing sentence, found him guilty of one count of a charge brought against him by the Lagos State government and sentenced Agu to seven years in prison with hard labor.
The judge held that the indictment proves the case against the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt.
The state had alleged that the defendant committed the offense on 3 July 2020 at the Gangare Hotel, Mile 12, Lagos. The defendant tracked the two complainants to a hotel and poured the acid on them.
His offense contravened the provisions of section 245 of the Lagos State Penal Law, 2015
However, the judge held that the prosecution’s case is based on circumstantial evidence. When the victims said they didn’t see her face when she spilled the corrosive substance in their sleep when he poured it out the hotel window.
“Pouring corrosive substance on the victims was never contradicted by the defendant. The defendant’s action was deemed intentional. The victim showed the court, the level of effect of the corrosive substance damaged her body, face, eye, neck and even the money in her pocket.
“PW2 (Adefarati)’s testimony in court was how the defendant had harassed and assaulted her, which later led them to separate after three years of relationship. She said that she has been trying to avoid it.
The court further held that the prosecution claimed that the scar on the defendant’s left arm remained during the attack.
During the trial, the prosecution called four witnesses including; Ahmed, Adefarati, Police Inspector and Investigative Police Officer (IPO) PW4, who told the court how the defendant was arrested and the statement was obtained from him.
During cross-examination, PW1 and PW2 confirmed that they did not see the person who poured the acid, but they suspected the defendant because he had been attacking and harassing them.
Judge Ogala said the law is trite on circumstantial evidence, as well as the suspect’s confessional statement. The defendant defending him told the court that his girlfriend had become pregnant by him and aborted him.
The court held that the retraction of the defendant’s confession statement was intended to mislead the court, as he pleaded guilty in his appearance before a lower court.
The defendant did not present any alibi evidence in the testimony. He could not give the court the date and day that he claimed that he was going to his brother’s house and that his brother was not called to testify.
The court therefore found him guilty. The defendant’s attorney from the Public Defense Office (OPD), UE Omolola pleaded with the court that he consider the defendant to be a young man. He noted that he has learned his lesson.
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