By Alfred Olufemi
Habeebulah Abdulrahman, the Osun-based Islamic cleric, who raped a 16-year-old, was arraigned in a Magistrate court, Ede division, on Thursday.
Mr Abdulrahman was arrested on Monday and detained by the Osun State Criminal Investigation Department (CID).
Although the cleric did not deny sleeping with the girl. He claimed he married her a day before the ‘first rape incident’.
Mr Abdulrahman could not provide any evidence of marriage as the girl and her family debunked the marriage claims.
“Barely four days after I joined the Islamic school, he asked me to marry him but I said my studies will be affected and that he is too old for me even if I want to marry anyone at all,” the victim told this newspaper.
The Nigerian law largely bans marriage to persons below 18 years.
PREMIUM TIMES learnt that the cleric was arraigned on a three-count charge of abduction of a young girl to an unknown destination to have carnal knowledge of her and indecent assault by touching.
He was however granted bail with the condition of providing a level 12 civil servant who owns a landed property- a condition which he met. He was freed on Thursday.
Nevertheless, this newspaper discovered that as against the initial petition and complaints raised by the family of the victim, the police did not mention these in the criminal charges.
Speaking with our correspondent, the victim’s lawyer, Abdulrasheed Maisolati, stated that the police did that “because of the move by the suspect’s family to reach out to the family of the victim. We decide not to object to see how apologetic and remorseful he will be,” he said.
He noted that although Mr Abdulrahman had approached the family of the victim for an out-of-court settlement, the family kicked against “the exclusion of rape and child defilement from the charges.”
“If he fails to do the needful, we can… The family has their own terms of settlement. He was the one who approached them for an out-of-court settlement.
“We are at a meeting now. it is after this that we’ll decide to write a petition against the police or not but we are very likely to petition them from the look of things. They (victim’s family) are not okay with the charges. All we can do is to file a petition and copy the necessary quarters.”
A close friend of the family disclosed to our correspondent that the family has faced a lot of pressure after PREMIUM TIMES broke the story on Monday and prosecution commenced.
According to the person, who requested that his name is not mentioned, “this pressure is coming from Mr Abdulrahman’s family and community leaders.”
“We could not sleep on Monday night because they have been running around to pacify the family of the victim. The pressure is really too much on them,” he said.
He said the family of the victim was not privy to the charges until they were mentioned in the court on Thursday.
“When we left the court today, his (suspect ) people did not allow us to rest and since the case has been adjourned till August, we have decided to watch the reaction of the cleric before we decide on anything. But like, the lawyer said, we will possibly file a petition.”