Dupe Kudus, a Magistrate at the Kwara State State High Court, has been accused of maltreating two of her younger sister’s children under her care but the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) is unwilling to charge her to court for domestic abuse, FIJ can report.
The Kwara State Branch of the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) frowned at the disposition of the NSCDC over the case, which they described as “selective justice” because of the kind of personality involved in the case.
“We want to know why the NSCDC decided to charge only the mother of the battered children and not the Magistrate that was actually accused of battery,” Anthonia Erinfolami-Daniel, FIDA’s Legal Aid Committee Secretary in Kwara State, told FIJ.
“NSCDC only arraigned the mother of the children before the Family Court whereas the Magistrate who had perpetrated the act, according to the children and mother, was spared.”
Upon insistence, the NSCDC would later invite FIDA for a ‘peaceful settlement meeting’ between the family and the legal non-governmental organization to internally resolve the issue without the court proceedings.
Balikis Kehinde, the mother, was also coerced into silence over the issue because the Magistrate is her ‘benefactor’, accommodating her as a single parent.
Erinfolami-Daniel, who suspected foul play, maintained that her organization was interested in ensuring that perpetrators of wrongdoings are brought to book regardless of their societal rankings.
“Our position is that the Magistrate should be made to face the law and if she is ever found guilty, she should be appropriately punished,” she said.
“We understand that this is not the first time the minors are subjected to similar harsh treatment and are sometimes made to sleep outside when they do wrong in the house. It is dangerous to treat children of seven and four years like this.”
FIJ learnt that the two children, Muslimat and her younger sister Jumai Akeem, are currently at the Children Reception Centre, a government facility in Ilorin, the capital of Kwara, because they were scared of returning to the Magistrate’s house.
Original pictures of the brutalized children obtained by FIJ showed the the two children with red and swollen faces, with bruises and multiple cuts on their cheeks and lips. One of Muslimat’s eyes was badly damaged to the extent that the eyebrows were glued.
At the third court appearance on Wednesday, the Magistrate was still absent but she had also filed a case on behalf of the family for the withdrawal of the two children from the Children Reception Centre.
The motion was countered by the NSCDC, the defendant in the case, before the judge subsequently adjourned until July 28.
Bode Silas, Head of the NSCDC legal unit, was rather apprehensive on the phone when FIJ sought comments on why the Magistrate was not charged to court like the mother of the children.
“Who gave you my number? I don’t like the way you are talking to me on the phone,” he said.
He insisted he would only speak to the journalist in person, saying: “NSCDC is a public inisitution. If you need anything, plan your logistics and come to our office Ilorin to ask.”
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