By Henry Ojelu
A student of the University of Lagos, UNILAG, yesterday narrated before an Ikeja Domestic Violence and Sexual Offences Court how she was allegedly raped by eight fellow students and blackmailed with a video recording of the assault.
The 19-year-old student of the institution made the revelation after the arraignment of five of the eight students: Moboluwaji Omowole, 19; Chuka Chukwu, 19; Peace Nwankama, 19; James Aguedu, 20, and Osemeka Josephine, 20.
Three other students that allegedly participated in the act are still at large.
Led in evidence by state prosecutor, Mrs K. A. Momoh-Ayokambi, the victim told the court that she was deceived by her roommate, Nwankama who took her to a high rise building in the school where she was raped.
She said: “In no particular order, the following took their turns – Daniel, James, Yinka, Bolu (first defendant), Seriki, Emmanuel and two other people whose names I don’t know. They were eight men.”
“After they did that, they all came into the room, including Josephine, and started playing music. Four of them held me down and were touching me all around, while Josephine was either kissing or dancing with one of them.
“At 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 didn’t know if those downstairs were part of them.
“Eventually Josephine kissed me and they made comments like it’s 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.
“My first instinct was to get the phone from him, but 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.
“They said if I don’t want to be popular in school, I have to answer them anytime they want sex. They collected my number and shared it among themselves,” she said.
The victim further 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).
Friend, UNILAG counsellor to the rescue
She told the court that to add to her ordeal, rumours about the video tape began to make rounds in the school premises.
She said: “I 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.
“I had a friend (name withheld) who we both belonged to the same organisation 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.
“Unknown to me, he reported to the school authorities and on March 1, 2017, he told me to follow him to a bank to withdraw money but unknown to me, he wanted me to see the school counsellor.
“The school counsellor beckoned to me, I saw my bio data in her hands, she asked me to follow her and at that point I knew who she was.
“I 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 me and that the culprits will be caught.”
She further said the counsellor 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 Centre for three days where parents of the arrested students tried to persuade her not doing anything about the case.
She added: “From the Medical Centre, I went home and stayed for three weeks. During that time their parents were trying to bribe my family with between N3 million and N5 million.
“My family declined, as my mother and brothers were very supportive.”
The victim said when she returned to school, the story was in the news and she was harassed as a result.
According to her, “a journalist posted the story on two popular blogs and one of the defendants created a fake account revealing my identity.
“My photograph was also taken by some of Chukwu’s (second defendant) friends and one Eddy (at large) in the school premises.
“The people who raped and defiled me are in the same clique. They went to the same secondary school called ISL. I don’t know the full name of the secondary school.”
Justice Sururat Soladoye adjourned the case until March 18 for cross-examination.