Defence in the case of a University of Lagos student, Chuka Chukwu, 19, accused of serially gang-raping a fellow student (name withheld), on Tuesday said that the alleged victim was not naive as she claimed.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that Chukwu’s counsel, Mrs Abimbola Akeredolu (SAN), made the submission while cross-examining the alleged victim.
NAN reports that Chukwu was charged along with four other students of the university.
The other defendants are Moboluwaji Omowole, 19, Peace Nwankama, 19, James Aguedu, 20 and Josephine Osemeka, 20.
They were charged on four counts -defilement of a child, permitting defilement of a child, procuration and sexual assault.
While cross-examining the complainant who said she is an entertainer, the SAN said that she was not a “naive 17-year-old” student as she claimed in court.
Questioning her social life, Akeredolu inquired whether she had been to Oceanwaves or Eclipse nightclubs.
Responding, the student who is now 20-year-old, said, “I sang at the 2019 Felabration some months ago and I performed at the event of the musician Ycee in August 2019.”
She said that she had been an entertainer half of her life but had not been to Oceanwaves or Eclipse Nightclubs though she had heard of Oceanwaves Nightclub.
Countering the student’s submission, Akeredolu said that in 2017, she launched a music track which was the period she claimed she was seventeen and naive.
Akeredolu proceeded to read aloud some of the lyrics of the song.
Some of the excerpts of the song read aloud in court are: “I feel so lonely, so paralysed, got no guy to call my own, so when I saw the look in your eyes, I couldn’t help to fantasize.
“I feel somebody coming home, meaningful love with depth and potential is what I need all the time.
“Just want you to be mine, so grab on my waist, let’s bust up the place. Anything that you do is fine, that’s why there is no need to be shy…”
After reading aloud the lyrics, Akeredolu said that they were not written by a naive person.
She thereafter presented to the complainant, five photographs in which the complainant was partially clad to identify.
After the complainant identified herself, the photographs were admitted by the court for identification purposes.
Earlier, while being cross-examined by Mr Adebisi Ademuwagun, counsel to Omowole (first defendant), the complainant said that the first time she met Omowole was when he participated in gang-raping her.
“I got to meet him (Omowole) for the first time when he was part of the people that raped me in January 2017. He collected my telephone number by force.
“I got to see him subsequently at the Unilag Sports Center. Due to the nature of the blackmail, I had to cover up and maintain a friendship with him so that people will not know what was going on; so, I visited him at the sports center.
“I was 17 years old and very naive, I was scared of my dad, he is a disciplinarian and I was scared that he was going to overreact and I will get into a lot of trouble.
“Rumours were going around school, and it was someone, who got to know me and confronted me about the rumours, that reported to the school authorities,” he said.
The alleged victim testified that the person who reported to the school authorities was not her boyfriend.
“He initially wanted to get cultists or people to beat them up but I told him, “No, I am not that kind of person”, and he eventually reported the matter to the police,” she said.
Ademuwagun told the complainant that Omowole never had sexual intercourse with her and that the police never took her and Omowole for medical examination.
“That is not true; he admitted having sex with me in front of the school counsellor, the police took me and the first defendant to the Office of the Dean Students Affairs.
“We then went to the medical centre but it had been a long time since the incident occurred. I still went to the Mirabel Center for my own medical report,” the complainant responded.
While being cross-examined by Mr O. C. Aibangbee, counsel to Nwankama, the third defendant and the complainant’s former roommate, the complainant said that Nwankama and Yinka Adegboyega now at large, lured her to be gang-raped.
“If Peace (Nwankama) had not called me that day, I would have not known High Rise or met Yinka or James or any of the other defendants.
“Peace introduced me to Yinka; that is why I trusted her to speak to him when he and Peace told me to come to High Rise to hang out,” she said.
The complainant, however, told the court that she saw Adegboyega in school on two occasions when the case was under investigation but denied being in contact with him.
During cross-examination by Mr O. C. Fapohunda, counsel to Aguedo, the complainant said that she never saw the video recordings of her alleged gang-rape by the defendants .
“I saw them when they were videoing me, I approached Yinka and I told him that there is a video going around school and he said they had deleted it.
“Everyone who confronted me told me that there was a video but I never saw the video. The police did not tell me that they recovered the video,” she said.
Justice Abiola Soladoye adjourned the case to Jan. 13, 2020, for continuation of cross-examination.
NAN reports that the complainant had on Feb. 26 testified that she was lured by Nwankama who was her roommate to High Rise, a hostel in the university.
She said she was gang-raped at High Rise by eight male students and sexually assaulted by Osemeka.
She alleged that the gang-rape and sexual assault at High Rise were video-taped.
According to the complainant, she was also blackmailed with the video and further gang-raped on other occasions by the defendants and their accomplices who are now at large.
Edited & Vetted By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Ijeoma Popoola
Student group felicitates with Gov. Abiodun of Ogun @ 60
The Progressive Students Movement (PSM), a pan-African student pressure group, has felicitated with Gov. Dapo Abiodun of Ogun, as he clocks 60 years.
The group also congratulated the governor for successfully piloting the affairs of Ogun in the last one year in office.
The felicitation is contained in a statement issued by Mr Bestman Okereafor, PSM President, on Saturday in Enugu.
“As progressives, we congratulate the governor over his giant strides with direct positive impacts on people of Ogun.
“PSM also salutes your style of political and ideology accommodation, which has obviously secured the loyalty of all oppositions in the state,’’ Okereafor stated.
He called on the governor to remain steadfast, dedicated and solid, and never be distracted by the “noisemakers”.
He said the group believed in his ability to take the state to greater heights.
“We pray that God Almighty will empower the very humble and indefatigable governor with good health and wisdom to realise his dreams of building a future for Ogun people.’’
Edited By: Folorunso Poroye/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)
Security Forces Allegedly Execute 31 Detainees
Burkina Faso’s security forces allegedly executed 31 detainees on April 9, 2020 in the northern town of Djibo, Human Rights Watch said today. The men were apparently killed just hours after being arrested, unarmed, during a government counterterrorism operation. The government should immediately and impartially investigate the killings and hold to account all those responsible, regardless of rank.
The apparent massacre in Djibo, about 200 kilometers north of Ouagadougou, the capital, occurred amid a worsening security and humanitarian crisis in Burkina Faso’s northern Sahel region. The growth of Islamist armed groups linked to Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State in the Greater Sahel (ISGS) has fueled violence that had displaced over 775,000 people by late March.
“The Burkinabè security forces apparently executed 31 men in a brutal mockery of a counterterrorism operation that may amount to a war crime and could fuel further atrocities,” said Corinne Dufka, Sahel director at Human Rights Watch. “The government should stop the abuse, fully investigate this terrible incident, and commit to a rights-respecting counterterrorism strategy.”
Human Rights Watch interviewed 17 people with knowledge of the April 9 killings, including 12 witnesses to the arrests and later burial of the victims. Witnesses provided a list of victims, all men from the Peuhl ethnic group, as well as maps indicating where the men were executed and later buried.
Beginning in 2016, armed Islamist groups, which have largely recruited from the nomadic Peuhl or Fulani community, have attacked security force posts and civilians throughout Burkina Faso, but mostly in the Sahel region bordering Mali and Niger. Human Rights Watch has since 2017 documented the killing of over 300 civilians by armed Islamist groups and the killing of several hundred men by government security forces for their alleged support of these groups.
The residents speculated that they had been targeted because of the recent presence of some armed Islamists around Djibo. “The jihadists have been roaming around lately,” one said. “It’s like we’re punished for their mere presence.”
Local residents said scores of security force personnel were involved in the April 9 operation, which lasted from around 10 a.m., when the arrests began, until around 1:30 p.m., when they heard several bursts of gunfire. The victims were arrested from several neighborhoods, or “sectors,” while they were watering their animals, walking, or sitting in front of their homes. They were taken away in a convoy of about 10 military vehicles including pickup trucks, an armored car, and motorcycles.
Residents said that around 4 p.m., they ventured to where they had heard the gunfire and found the bodies of 31 men who were last seen in the security forces’ custody. Several had bound eyes or hands. Residents said none of the men were armed.
The Security Forces Involved in the Operation
Witnesses said that most of the security force personnel wore military uniforms with protective vests. Several were dressed in black or wore mixed military and civilian clothes. Many wore helmets while some covered their faces with turbans, and most had military assault rifles. Large machine guns were mounted on at least two vehicles. The soldiers spoke French and Mooré, one of Burkina Faso’s principle languages. Three people said they saw soldiers with walkie-talkies.
The Burkina Faso government has three key security force camps in Djibo – a police station, a gendarme base, and a base housing the Groupement des Forces Anti-Terroristes (GFAT), a mixed counterterrorism force. Residents said they believed those implicated in the April 9 killings were based in the GFAT camp, in part because of the size of the operation, and because it is the only camp in which they’ve seen armored cars. Several told Human Rights Watch they had received calls from family members living close to the GFAT base before the arrests to report that a large convoy was leaving the base, and again around 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., when the convoy returned.
The first arrests, of at least 6 men, occurred around 10 a.m. in sectors 8 and 9. A woman from sector 8 said she saw the convoy stop at a clinic and observed soldiers asking people for their ID cards.She said the security forces were already holding two men she knew, their eyes bound with their turbans. “After some minutes, the convoy left, but on the way, they arrested another Peuhl man who had taken out his ID card,” she said. “The soldiers ordered him into the pickup with the others and drove off. They were all found dead.”
Three animal herders, including 1 with a mental health condition, were arrested at a watering hole in sector 8. “The army suddenly showed up in 3 vehicles and 7 motorcycles,” said a herder who managed to hide. “There were 3 adult men there with their animals. They tried to show their IDs but one of the soldiers said, ‘We don’t want your IDs, it’s you we want.’ They tied their hands with their turbans, ordered them onto a pickup, and drove off.”
Between 11 a.m. and noon, the convoy moved to sector 7, a few kilometers away, arresting at least 25 more men, including several who had been displaced by violence elsewhere. “About 10 pickups and many motorcycles rode through the streets rounding up any Peuhl who couldn’t hide … from their homes, at the well, on the road, in front of their stores,” a trader said.
Another sector 7 resident said:
Two brothers on bicycles were on their way back from a baptism but they coincided with the convoy arrival.… I saw the soldiers order them off their bikes and to board a pickup with the other arrested men.… Later, I received a call saying the shepherd who tends our cattle was also taken.
While hiding, a woman in sector 7 saw soldiers arrest a sick man resting near his house:
Soldiers dragged him 30 meters and onto their pick-up … the man cried out in pain, saying he’d just had an operation. The soldiers accused him of lying but released him after seeing the bandages on his abdomen. They rode off with about 6 other detainees.
The Executions, Search for, and Burial of Bodies
Witnesses said they heard several bursts of gunfire between 1 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. “I’d just finished afternoon prayer when I heard gunfire from the direction the convoy had taken,” said a man who lost two close relatives. “We knew then, our loved ones were no more.” Another resident said “After the arrests, we waited with heavy hearts. When the shots rang out, we knew our loved ones weren’t coming home.”
Eight people described helping retrieve and bury the dead, who were found about 4 kilometers from central Djibo, 50 meters from the cemetery in sector 7 [also known as Firguindi]. Witnesses counted between 29 and 31 bodies, all Peuhl men between the ages of 20 and about 60. They included fathers and sons, and at least 2 brothers. Human Rights Watch received a list of 31 people allegedly killed during the incident. The names match those retrieved from witnesses.
The witnesses said the bodies were divided into 4 groups, most separated by a distance of about 50 to 100 meters. An elder said:
At around 4 p.m., after the gunfire and after seeing the army convoy return to Djibo – we went in search of our people. It was a terrifying scene.… Many of the bodies were in pieces like they’d peppered them with a powerful gun. I was only able to recognize my brother from a piece of his clothing.
Another man said he found five of his family members: “As night fell, we took flashlights and went with a camel-drawn cart. The bodies were divided into four groups. I had to look at all of them to identity my people. They’d been shot with bursts of gunfire, tearing several bodies beyond recognition.”
Witnesses said 6 men were buried in the sector 8 cemetery, 5 in the sector 7 cemetery, and the rest in several common graves adjacent to where the executions had taken place.
Need for Investigation and Accountability
None of the witnesses saw any of the arrested men with a firearm. “This was not a battle,” a trader said. “There was no gunfire before the arrests. If there had been tension, or an attack … we’d not have gone to the well, clinic, or to our fields,” said an elder. “How can unarmed people be thrown into a vehicle and murdered by our own army without even being interrogated or tried?” said another man, who had lost his brother.
Several people said that the Peuhl population was being targeted by both sides. “Both jihadists [armed Islamists] and the army threaten and kill us,” an elder said. “Both have prevented us from going to the market to buy and sell.”
A religious leader said “Many of us adhere to the Tijāniyyah sect of Islam, based on tolerance. The jihadists see us as traitors and threaten us for not joining them.”
“The Burkina Faso authorities should urgently and impartially investigate this alleged war crime and suspend any implicated security force commander pending the investigation’s outcome,” Dufka said
The European Union, France, and the United States should press the government to conduct a credible investigation and hold those responsible to account, Human Rights Watch said. They should ensure that any military assistance provided to the Burkinabè security forces is not being used by units responsible for this or other atrocities for which no one has been held to account.
Alleged murder: Whistle blower demand justice for Sokoto teenager
A Whistle blower residing at Bado area near Shehu Shagari College of Education (SSCOE), Sokoto, has called on authorities to investigate circumstances surrounding the death of a teenager, Aisha Yusuf.
Late Yusuf, 18, resident of Kasarawa area in Wamakko Local Government Areas of the state, was a casual staff with the secretariat of College of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU), SSCOE Chapter.
The deceased was reported dead on Aug. 15, 2019, by one Kabiru Tanko, an executive member of the union in the institution.
The Whistle blower (name withheld) told newsmen on Tuesday in Sokoto that the deceased was allegedly abused sexually and impregnated by the said Tanko, a lecturer with the college.
”Following the attempt by the alleged suspect to abort her pregnancy she eventually die in the process and was reported that her death was as a result of electrocution after he took her to the hospital.
“However, her death has over time, left neighbours and some family members in confusion over the conflicting versions linked to the incident,” the blower who pleaded anonymity said.
The source explained that Tanko, who knew the poor background of late Yusuf’s home, contacted her father of his intention to secure employment for her at the union’s secretariat on a N10,000 monthly salary to assist the family, which the father agreed.
He said that as she commenced work, the lecturer allegedly took advantage to sexually abuse her whenever she is at work place.
“This practice continued secretly for long period before her death that led to the circumstances of the process to abort a pregnancy she conceived.
“Surprisingly, in the process of the deceased burial, people noticed bleeding coming from her private organ which threw suspicion on those who attended the rites.
“At that point, I became disturbed and immediately contacted an Assistant Commissioner of Police (CID), who swiftly arranged a team of police that arrested the suspect for investigation.
“But unfortunately, the accused was released within three days. As I am talking to you now, nothing has been heard of the case again and the college authorities have not taken any action,” he added.
The Acting Spokesman of the Sokoto state Police Command, ASP Abdulkadir Datti, confirmed that they were aware of the incident through intelligence gathering and subsequently arrested the prime suspect in the case.
“After an investigation, we realised that there was no established evidence linking the suspect to the death, hence we gave him on bail to the college authority.
“However, we emphasised that if the college authorities eventually establish any evidence to support the allegation against Tanko, should come up with it and revisit the matter for justice to take its course,” he said.
On its part, the Usmanu Danfodiyo University Teaching Hospital (UDUTH) where the deceased was allegedly taken for treatment, confirmed that there was no official record to trace such claim.
The hospital’s Public Relations Officer, Malam Buhari Abubakar, said that even if it is a dead corpse brought to the hospital, it must be certified by a doctor and deposited in the morgue where the family or relations will make arrangement for conveyance.
“A certificate will be issued. From our records we do not have any of such case. There is no autopsy carried out on the corpse for detail certification. In fact, the deceased was not brought to this hospital except somewhere else,” he said.
One of the casual staff of the college, who also pleaded for anonymity, confirmed that the incident incident happened at the residence of Tanko located within the school premises.
“Tanko conducted the alleged abortion on late Aisha Yusuf in his house with the aid of a Corps member (doctor) serving in the college clinic.
“In the process, she died as a result of profuse bleeding. Blood was everywhere on the floor which was eventually cleaned up by some clinic staff,” he narrated.
The father of the deceased, Malam Yusuf Hassan, a cart pusher, said that he was not aware of his daughter’s pregnancy nor abortion before her death.
“I only knew that she was complaining of headache and stomach pain and came to me for some money to go to hospital and I told her that I had no money but only N20 with me.
“She said she is going to her place of work to borrow pending when she get her salary. I said its okay then she left.
“To my surprise, her mother called me and on getting home, she looked at me and bursted into tears profusely, saying Aisha is no more, that Tanko just called to tell her,” he said.
Hassan, also a casual watchman at a project site within the college, added that he attempted to get to the hospital to convey the corpse home but a neighbour stopped him.
“Though, I was not told of the hospital where Aisha was taken to, but Tanko single handedly brought her body to us in his car as he narrated that he helped her to the hospital.
“Moreover, her mother after the burial rites, told me that there was an earlier conversation between them, saying that if she could not return the mother should offset a debt for her,” he added.
The deceased father further confirmed that the Police had invited them on the incident and asked them on their knowledge about the sudden death, “but since that time we have not heard from them”.
Meanwhile, the Provost of the College, Dr Wadata Hakimi, said he had no knowledge of the incident, while the COEASU chapter Union Chairman, declined comments.
Edited by: Muhammad Suleiman Tola
Teenage student bags 1 year jail term over sexual encroachment on stepmother
A Sharia Court sitting in Magajin Gari, Kaduna State, on Tuesday, sentenced a teenage student, Anas Sidi-Baba, to one year imprisonment over sexual encroachment on, and criminal intimidation of, his stepmother.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that after the defendant had pleaded guilty of the offence, he told the court that he was enchanted by his step brothers.
My step brothers enchanted me and made me become a drug addict. Sometimes, I go naked; and sometimes, I do wake up late at night to pray, he said.
The Judge, Murtala Nasir, however, granted the convict a bail option of N20,000 and that he must also pay N20,000 as compensation to the complainant.
Earlier, the Police Counsel, Sgt. Aliyu Ibrahim, told the court that on Dec. 5, at about 6.00 pm., one Fatima Sidi-Baba of Unguan Sanusi, Kaduna, reported the incident to the Metro police division.
The counsel said that Sidi-Baba went into her room while she was asleep and that most times, he would come in naked.
On Dec. 3, at about 2.30 am., she saw him while using his cell phone’s torch to peep into her window. She came out and held him, while the phone along with a stick of cigarette fell off his hands,” he said.
Ibrahim, who said that the offence was punishable under Section 232 of Sharia Penal Code, prayed the court to sanction Sidi-Baba accordingly and also order him pay N20,000 as compensation for the fear he usually instilled in his stepmother.
Edited by ‘Wale Sadeeq