A High Court sitting in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, has discharged and acquitted a man standing trial for allegedly poisoning his six-day-old son born out of wedlock. Under section 221, sub-section (b) of the Penal Code, the offence is punishable by death.
Auwalu Usman, who was arraigned before Justice Alkali G. Wakkil of High Court 11, Maiduguri, on suit number BOHC/MG/CR/10/2015, denied the charge leveled against him. The prosecution counsel called three witnesses, including the mother of the deceased child, who tendered a syringe as exhibit.
In her testimony before the court, mother of the deceased child, Habiba Mohammed, who gave evidence as prosecution witness two, told the court that when she left her child with the accused in her room on the eve of the naming ceremony, he allegedly injected him with poison. She said the child was born out of wedlock with the accused.
In his judgment, Justice Wakkil said, “The court has examined all the testimonies of the witnesses on record. The charge is to the effect that the accused person impregnated his girlfriend, one Habiba Mohammed, who delivered a baby boy, and six days after, came and poisoned the baby boy on the eve of the naming ceremony.
“The accused person, in his testimony and statement on oath, was consistent. He admitted impregnating the prosecution witness two, and stated further that it was out of wedlock. He continuously visited his girlfriend until she delivered, a fact that was not debunked upon cross examination. He further stated that on the 6th day, he was invited by the mother and auntie to arrange for the naming ceremony against the following day.
“He stated that he wanted to go and confer with his family first and report back. Shortly after, the auntie of the baby boy ran with the child to the accused and claimed that he had poisoned the boy. The accused person was taken aback and he decided to report at the police station; from there, the auntie followed suit. The complainant now becomes an accused person,” the judge said.
Justice Wakkil noted that Professor Haruna of the Psychiatric Department of the hospital where the autopsy was conducted reported that the baby boy was not poisoned; rather, he died of axypexia and fracture of the neck and hemorrhage.
“Both the mother and her auntie are holistic liars. I cannot fathom why they could frame the accused person with such a serious offence like murder. The police, on their part, did not investigate the case properly. It is very unfortunate. Conclusively, I am of the opinion that the accused person is not guilty as charged and I hereby discharge and acquit him,” the judge ruled.