A student of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) on Tuesday told an Ikeja Domestic Violence and Sexual Offences Court that she was gang-raped by eight fellow students and blackmailed with a video recording of the assault.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Miss Z (name withheld), a 19-year-old student of the institution made the revelation while giving evidence during the trial of five students over the alleged crimes.ADVERTISEMENT
The students are -Moboluwaji Omowole, 19, Chuka Chukwu, 19, Peace Nwankama, 19, James Aguedu, 20 and Osemeka Josephine, 20.
They face a three-count charge of defilement of a child, permitting the defilement of a child in a premises and procuration.ADVERTISEMENT
Other students who are alleged by authorities to be accomplices to the crimes are still at large.
Miss Z who was 17-years-old at the time of the alleged gang rape was led in evidence by Mrs K.A Momoh-Ayokambi, the lead state prosecutor.
In a lengthy testimony which lasted for 2 hours and 10 minutes, she gave an explicit account of her ordeal.
Narrating the events that led to the alleged gang rape, she told the court that she became friends with Nwankaba (the third defendant) who was her roommate when she moved into school hostel at the 2016/2017 academic session.
She alleged that Nwankaba, her friend and roommate lured her to be gang raped.
â€œI had three roommates which included Peace Nwankaba, during the course of being in the room, Peace and I became friends, she even introduced me to her parents on our matriculation day between Jan. 13 to 17 2017.
â€œOne day in the early afternoon around 12pm, Peace called me on the phone and asked if I was around and asked if I wanted to hang with another boy called Yinka (now at large) at High Rise which is a staff quarters hostel at UNILAG.
â€œAt the time I did not know what High Rise was, I told her and she said it was a hostel where people stay.
â€œI told her I was not sure that I will think about it, she cut the call and called me again within the space of five minutes but this time it was Yinka who was talking to me.
â€œHe told me it was supposed to be a hang out and Peace will be there. At that point I agreed and since I didnâ€™t know where High Rise was Yinka and Peace told me to meet them at Jaja Hall, a male hostel at UNILAG.
â€œWhen I got there I only met Yinka with James (fourth defendant). When I saw Yinka I asked of Peace and he said she is at High Rise.â€
She said when she got to High Rise, she was led to a small building behind High Rise where she met Seriki (now at large) and a group of boys but was assured by Yinka that Peace will come to the premises.
Miss Z said: â€œJames led me up a flight of stairs and we got into a room, there were boys outside the corridor because some of the boys who were downstairs had come upstairs.
â€œI entered the room with Seriki and James but Yinka stayed outside, when I entered the room I met two boys and a girl. The boys are- Emmanuel (at large), I cannot remember the name of the second boy and Josephine (the fifth defendant).
â€œWhen James and Seriki entered the room, Josephine and the two boys left and at this point it was clear to me that Peace was not in High Rise.
â€œYinka then asked me to have sex with him, I said no but he continued forcefully persisting and removing my clothes at this point, two other people who were looking into the room entered the room and held me down while Yinka had forceful sex with me.
â€œIn no particular order, the following took their turns â€“ Daniel, James, Yinka, Bolu (first defendant), Seriki, Emmanuel and two other people who I donâ€™t know their name. They were eight men.â€
Miss Z said that following the alleged gang rape, she was subjected to further sexual assault by some of defendants and their accomplices.
â€œAfter they did that they all came into the room including Josephine and they started playing music. Four people held me down and were touching me all around while Josephine was either kissing one of them or dancing with one of them.
â€œAt a point, Josephine asked if she could kiss me while I was trying to fight off the people around. I was thinking of leaving but I was outnumbered and I didnâ€™t know if those downstairs were part of them.
â€œEventually Josephine kissed me and they made comments like its not that bad etc. When they were molesting me, there was a guy who was sitting down and video recording all that was happening on a phone.
â€œMy first instinct was to get the phone from him but I thought I was outnumbered. At a point when they were leaving, they led me outside the building and they told me they had a video of what happened.
â€œThey said if I donâ€™t want to be popular in school, I have to answer them anytime they wanted to have sex. They collected my number and shared it among themselves,â€ she said.
Miss Z said she did not know how to handle the situation and kept everything that happened to herself because she was scared she will get into a lot of trouble because of the video and that her father will be very angry.
She said she felt victimised and in bondage. She also said that she gave Nwankaba her roommate the benefit of doubt thinking that she was unaware of what happened to her.
â€œI was still talking to Peace as I assumed she did not know what happened. I trusted her, she introduced me to her parents during matriculation and we were in the same room,â€ she said.
Miss Z told the court that a week or two after the alleged incident she was on more than two occasions subjected to more gang rape and sexual assault by the members of the group who now included Simi, Randy, Idowu and Eddy (who are all at large).
She alleged that some of the assault and defilement occurred at Chukwuâ€™s (second defendants) parents house Pako area of Yaba.
Miss Z told the court that to add to her ordeal, rumours about the video tape began to make rounds in the school premises.
â€œI started hearing stories and the narrative was as though I wanted it. Henry, a friend of Peace told me that I was popular at Jaja Hall and that there was a video and I wanted to get away from it.
â€œI had a friend (name withheld) who we both belong to an organization in school. He liked me and he is the type to find out about everyone he likes. When he heard about the story and video he asked questions.
â€œUnknown to me, he reported to the school authorities and on Mar. 1, 2017, he told me to follow him to Ecobank to withdraw money but unknown to me, he wanted me to see the school counselor.
â€œThe school counselor beckoned to me, I saw my biodata in her hands, she asked me to follow her and at this point I knew who she was.
â€œI thought I was going to be expelled, she pulled out a form and asked me to state what happened and I told her everything, she told me the school was behind my back and she said they will be caught, â€ Miss Z said.
She said the counselor asked her to lure Omowole (first defendant) to a place within the school premises where he was arrested, taken to the office of the Dean Student Affairs where he provided the names of the rest of his alleged accomplices.
The student said she was admitted at the UNILAG Medical Center for three days where the parents of arrested students tried soliciting her to not doing anything about the case.
â€œFrom the Medical Center, I went home and stayed for three weeks, during that time their parents were trying to bribe my family with between N3million to N5million.
â€œMy family declined as my mother and brothers were very supportive,â€ she said.
Miss Z said when she returned to school, the story was in the news and she was being harassed as a result.
â€œA journalist posted the story in Nairaland and Linda Ikeji blog and one of the defendants created a fake account revealing my identity.
â€œMy photo was also taken by some of Chukwu (second defendant) and one Eddy (at large) in the school premises.
â€œThe people who raped and defiled me are in the same clique, they went to the same secondary school called ISL, I donâ€™t know the full name of the secondary school, â€
Justice Sururat Soladoye adjourned the case until March 18 for cross-examination of Miss Z. (NAN)