Oathman Musa of High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Bwari division, has dismissed the rape allegations against famous Abuja-based preacher of Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA), Biodun Fatoyinbo.
Dismissing the case filed by Busola Dakolo on Thursday afternoon, Oathman Musa said it was statute-barred because it happened decades ago.
Mrs Dakolo, the wife of musician Timi, had claimed in media interviews months ago that Fatoyinbo raped her around 1999. She said she was 16 at the time.
The Nigerian child rights law prescribed 18 as the age of consent when it was enacted in 2003. But it was not adopted until years after by several states, including Kwara where Mrs Dakolo said the alleged sexual assault took place.
Several states in northern Nigeria still have yet to codify the regulations in their statute-book.
Fatoyinbo denied all allegations of rape and threatened lawsuit against the Dakolos, who initiated legal action to convict the COZA pastor of the charges.
While presiding over the matter at the resumed hearing on Thursday, Musa said the charges should have been brought within the permitted six years.
The judge subsequently dismissed Ms Fatoyinbo’s case as a waste and abuse of judicial process designed to punish Fatoyinbo rather than obtain justice against his alleged wrongdoing.
Musa also awarded a N1 million in damages to Fatoyinbo, saying it should have been more than that, considering the time the court wasted in entertaining the case.
Lawyer to the Dakolos, Pelumi Olajengbesi, said the matter would be appealed because the judge failed to appreciate the significance of the case.