We Were Robbed, Raped by Fellow Student, Women in Niqab Tell Court
By: Moji Eniola, The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)
Wednesday, 6 November 2019.
Two Muslim students of the Lagos State University (LASU) on Monday narrated before an Ikeja Special Offences Court how they were allegedly robbed and raped at gunpoint by a fellow student.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the students, who were both wearing niqabs (Islamic garment which covers the body leaving the eyes uncovered), in lengthy testimonies (2.10pm to 4.13pm), revealed to the court that they lost their virginities in the attack.
They made the claims while testifying as prosecuting witnesses during the trial of a fellow student of LASU, Afeez Ogunbowale, over allegation of armed robbery and rape.
Led in evidence by Mrs. O.A Bajulaiye-Bishi, the prosecuting counsel, the students, who were roommates, told the court that they were 200 level students when the alleged rape and armed robbery occurred on April 18, 2018.
The witnesses told the court that at around 3 am, the light of a torch was flashed into their apartment, awaking them suddenly and five men, including Ogunbowale, who were armed with a gun and machetes, forced themselves into their apartment.
Student A (name withheld), 23, told the court “they took three phones, a gold chain, earpiece, power bank and N1,200. Three of the men left, leaving the defendant and one other person who I cannot identify.
“The defendant told the other guy ‘I want to sleep with these girls’. The defendant went to the toilet with my roommate while the second man tried to rape me. The second man could not penetrate me because I had an asthmatic attack and the second man left me to swap places with the defendant.
“The defendant came and had sex with me while I had the asthmatic attack and my roommate was screaming and pleading for him to leave me alone and he said in pidgin English ‘if she wan die, make she die’.
“The other three men came back into the apartment and saw the chaos. They told the two other men that this was not what they came here to do and they assisted in looking for my inhaler. My inhaler was found and they all left my apartment.”
Student A told the court that they lodged a report at the Ojo Barracks and they were referred to the Mirabel Center for medical examination and counselling.
“The case was transferred to the Festac police station then to the Ikeja Police Station. When the defendant was apprehended and brought to the Ikeja Police Station, he was shocked when he saw us there.
“He went on his knees and said to us in Yoruba ‘Alhaja please’,” Student A said.
While being cross-examined by Mr Bisi Salau, the defence counsel, Student A said that she recognised Ogunbowale as her assailant because she had seen him a number of times on campus. She noted that the residence where the alleged crime occurred belonged to her aunt.
“I was a virgin until the day that incident occurred, I cannot remember the exact date I went to the Mirabel Center. When I reported the incident at the Ojo Barracks, they called to inform the Vice-Chancellor of LASU about it.
“The five men who came to our apartment were armed with a gun and the defendant was the one who carried the gun, he touched me with the gun.
“The defendant has a group of friends in my class and his friend sent me a friendship request on facebook.
“When I looked through his friends’ list, I saw the defendant’s photograph which I gave to the campus Department of State Security (DSS) official.
“I saw the defendant on campus and alerted the campus security. He was apprehended in September 2018,” Student A said.
Student B (name withheld),20, while giving her testimony narrated how Ogunbowale allegedly raped her.
“The defendant took me to the toilet and pointed a gun at my head, that day I was still a virgin and it was difficult for him to penetrate into me. He said to me ‘you never do am before.’
“He took me to a chair and raped and the second man left my roommate and exchanged places with him and raped me as well.
“After we had reported the incident to authorities, we were examined and counselled. We had to go there over a long period of time but we had to cut that short because of our exams.
“We could not even take some of our medication because our school examination,” she said.
NAN reports that earlier, Ogunbowale plead not guilty during his arraignment for five-counts of armed robbery and rape.
According to Bajulaiye-Bishi, the defendant committed the offence alongside others who are now at large on April 18, 2018, at the Okokomaiko area of Lagos.
“The defendant and his accomplices while armed with a gun, knife, machete and bottle robbed the students of their phones, power bank, earpiece, gold chain and N1,200.
“The defendant and his accomplice who is at large had unlawful sexual intercourse with the complainants.
“The offence contravenes Sections 260(1) and 297(2)(a) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2015,” she said.
Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo ordered that Ogunbowale continue to enjoy the bail that was granted to him by Justice Yetunde Adesanya before the case was transferred from Adesanya’s court to her court.
She also warned the defendant that neither he or his friends should threaten witnesses otherwise his bail will be revoked.
“The defence counsel Mr Bisi Salau who is from the chambers of Mr Lanre Ogunlesi, a reputable Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) has undertaken to drop his qualifying certificate to ensure the defendant report to court,” she said.
This case was adjourned till Nov. 25 for further hearing.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)
Update: We Were Robbed, Raped by Fellow Student, Women in Niqab Tell Court
Thursday, 7 November 2019
Following our post dated 6 November 2019, (which can be found here), findings reveal that the two Muslim female students involved in the assault are not Niqobites although the case reported remains valid.
In a welcome address delivered by the President (Amir), Alabidun Mudathir Mahfuz of the Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria, Lagos State University, (MSSN LASU) Branch, on the 6th of November, 2019 at the Press Conference of the 1441A.H/2019 Annual jihad Week, he sated the following;
“Away from the Jihadweek, it’s very pertinent that we use this medium to comment about a NEWS released yesterday as regards some purported Niqabites who were said to have been raped in April 2018. The society wants to categorically state that from what we have gathered, the students are indeed Muslim sisters of Lagos State University but not Niqabite as they had to use the Niqab in court in order to conceal their identity in order not to be stigmatized.
“The society wants to unapologetically state that we condemn the act in totality and we will give the University management and the victims the much-needed support and we shall not rest on our oars until all involved are going to be brought to book and punished accordingly.
The Muslim Students Society, Lagos State University branch is so much concerned about the welfare of all her members and as such would not condone or tolerate any act of victimization, assault or any form of molestation on any of her members. We are a peace-oriented society but our silence should not be taken as an act of cowardice.”
Also, in a follow-up phone conversation with the Amir, he confirmed the validity of the case but stated that the sisters involved are not Niqabite. Although, the Executives of MSSN LASU are also taking steps to ensure that the matter is given the much-needed attention and will also do a press release to that effect.
In summary, from our findings with the Hijab Rights Advocacy Initiative, we deduce the following;
1. It is clear that the case actually occurred and the sisters involved are members of the Muslim students’ community in LASU.
2. That the sisters are not Niqabites. The Niqab was an emergency measure taken to cover their faces in court for the avoidance of identification and possible stigmatisation.
Finally, MPAC, Nigeria and the Hijab Rights Advocacy Initiative would like to reiterate that regardless of tribe, religious affiliation or dress-code, we totally condemn this evil act and do not condone assault nor molestation of our women.
As Muslim advocacy groups, we are committed to advancing the course of justice for all and especially to protect Muslim rights.
In a verse of the Qur’an, Allah addresses the Muslims as pace setters,
“You are the best nation produced [as an example] for mankind. You enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and believe in Allah.” (Sūrat āl ʿim’rān 3:110)
MPAC, Nigeria and the Hijab Rights Advocacy Initiative shall continue to follow up with the case to ensure justice is delivered and champion efforts to ensure zero-tolerance to sexual predators. We shall keep you updated as the events unfold.
MPAC, Nigeria is collaborating with Hijab Rights Advocacy Initiative (Muslim women based NGO that caters for the rights of Muslim Women who choose to wear the Hijab in Nigeria) on this and other areas to secure the rights of Muslim women to use the Hijab.
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