‘How alumni raped UNILAG student, stole her underwear’
An Ikeja Domestic Violence and Sexual Offences Court heard yesterday how an alumni of the University of Lagos (UNILAG), John Otema, allegedly raped a student of the institution and stole her underwear.
A police officer, Inspector Nkem Ejelonu, made the disclosure while giving evidence at the trial of Otema who is facing a three-count charge of rape and assault occasioning harm before Justice Abiola Soladoye.
He was alleged to have raped two students of the institution.
The IPO narrated to the court how the first complainant was allegedly raped by the defendant.
According to her, the defendant on January 17, 2018 offered to give her a ride in his car on campus and took her to the Distance Learning Institute (DLI), allegedly had sex with her and took away her pant, bra and handkerchief.
Ejelonu, who was the Investigating Police Officer (IPO) in the case and attached to the Adeniji Adele Police Station, said she signed a search warrant at Igbosere Magistrates’ Court on February 6, 2018 following complaint of theft of underwear by the victim.
Led in evidence by the prosecutor, Mrs Arinola Momoh-Ayokanbi, Ejelonu told the court that the victim informed her that Otema went away with her pant, bra and handkerchief after he raped her in his car.
The IPO said when they visited the defendant’s house at 6, Adeleye Street, Bariga, Lagos to execute the search warrant, they did not find the items.
“I had earlier visited the scene of the incident, which is the area of Distance Learning Institute (DLI) of UNILAG, to check if I could find the pant, bra and handkerchief, but I could not find anything, hence the search of his house,” she said.
Ejelonu told the court how another complainant, also a student, was allegedly raped by Otema.
According to her, the second student said sometime in 2018, she saw the defendant on campus; they went to the canteen to buy food but that the defendant later went to the bank and refunded her N2, 000 for the meal.
According to the IPO, both of them became friends despite that she told him that she already had a boyfriend.
She said during the relationship, the second victim demanded a laptop and the defendant gave her N20,000 with a promise to give her N30,000 later.
The IPO told the court that on January 30, 2018, the defendant picked up his victim, took her to his house and wanted to sleep with her.
She claimed that she resisted, demanded N100,000 so that the defendant would let her go, but he insisted and had his way, while the money was not given to her.
“He had sex with her, during that period her boyfriend was calling her. The defendant took her bag and dropped her off at campus at 11.30pm.”
She said the case was charged to court on February 7, 2018.
Ejelonu had told the court that the police were alerted about the rape by UNILAG officials.
She said on February 5, 2018, two officers from Alausa came to the station, saying they received a distress call from UNILAG and needed their support.
“The then Divisional Police Officer (DPO), Ayodele Onujose, detailed myself and Sgt. Osasua. We went to UNILAG and saw the school counsellor and we went to the security cell and we saw the two girls who were about 19-year-old,” she said.
While being cross-examined by Mr Fred Onyeka, Otema’s defence counsel, the IPO said the defendant’s car was still in police custody.
“One of the complainants said he had sex with her in the vehicle. The vehicle is with the exhibit keeper at Adeniji Police Station,” she said.
During Ejelonu’s evidence-in-chief, the IPO’s report was rejected as an exhibit by the court following Onyeka’s objection that the prosecution did not include it in their proof of evidence.
Following the rejection of the report by the court, the prosecutor, Momoh-Ayokanbi, asked the court to declare the police officer a hostile witness on the grounds that she was in communication with the defence.
“I want to seek the leave of the court to declare the witness a hostile witness. When she came to court, she was asking if I was for the defence.
“I also noticed that she was having conversations with the defence counsel and the defendants and during her evidence, she did not disclose some specific details that was in her report. That was why I wanted it to be admitted into evidence,” she said.
Justice Abiola Soladoye declined Momoh-Ayokanbi’s request, noting that the court would declare a witness hostile by watching the witness’ body language and not due to whom the witness is presumed to be communicating with.
Justice Soladoye adjourned the case till May 9 for continuation of hearing.