By Henry Ojelu

An Ikeja Domestic Violence and Sexual Offences Court was held spellbound yesterday, when a police officer, Inspector Nkem Ejelonu narrated how an alumnus of the University of Lagos, UNILAG, John Otema, allegedly raped two students of the institution and stole one of the victims’ underwear.

rape

Otema is standing trial before the court over a three-count charge of rape and assault occasioning harm. The offences contravene Sections 173 and 260(1)(2) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.

While being led in evidence by the state prosecutor, Mrs Arinola Momoh-Ayokanbi, Ejelonu who is attached to the Adeniji Adele Police Station stated that on January 17, 2018, the defendant offered to give the first student (name withheld) a ride in his car on campus and in the process had sexual intercourse with her, took away her panties, bra and handkerchief.

The witness said following an allegation of underwear theft by the student, she executed a search warrant to find the missing clothing.

She said: “The student said the defendant left with her panties, bra and handkerchief after he raped her in his car. I went to the Igbosere Magistrate’s Court to sign a search warrant on February 6, 2018.

Father rapes his 2 daughters, remanded

“We went to the defendant’s house at 6, Adeleye Street, Bariga, Lagos, to execute the search warrant. The items were not found. We found only kitchen knives and on February 7, 2018, the case was charged to court.

“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 panties bra and handkerchief. But I could not find anything, hence the search of his house.”

Ejelonu also narrated how the Police were alerted about the rapes by UNILAG officials.

She said: “On February 5, 2018, two officers from Alausa came to our office, saying they received a distress call from UNILAG and needed our support.

“The then Divisional Police Officer, Ayodele Onujose, detailed me and Sergeant Osasua. We went to UNILAG, saw the school counsellor and we all went to the security cell, where we saw the two girls who were about 19-year-olds.”

Friends with benefits

Ejelonu also told the court how another complainant (name withheld), was allegedly raped by Otema.

She said: “The second student said sometime in 2018, she saw the defendant on campus and they went together to the canteen to buy food. The defendant later went to the bank and gave her N2,000 for the meal.

“After they became friends, she told the defendant that she already had a boyfriend, but he suggested that they should be friends with benefits. The student said she demanded a laptop and the defendant gave her N20,000 with a promise that he will give her N30,000 later.

“On January 30, 2018, the defendant picked her up and took her to his house. When he wanted to sleep with her, she resisted and demanded N100,000 from the defendant. He, however, insisted on having sex with her.

“The defendant had sex with her during that period and later dropped her off at the campus at 11.30p.m.”

While being cross-examined by Mr Fred Onyeka, Otema’s defence counsel, the IPO revealed that the defendant’s car was still in police custody.

“One of the complainants said he had sex with her in the vehicle, so the vehicle is with the exhibit keeper at the Adeniji Police Station,” she said.

During Ejelonu’s evidence-in-chief, the IPO’s report was rejected as an exhibit by the court based on Onyeka’s objection that the prosecution did not include it in their proof of evidence.

Following the rejection of the report by the court, Momoh-Ayokanbi, the state prosecutor asked the court to declare the Police officer a hostile witness on the grounds that she was in communication with the defence.

She said: “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. During her evidence, she did not disclose specific details that were in her report. This is why I wanted it to be admitted into evidence.”

Justice Abiola Soladoye declined Momoh-Ayokanbi’s request, noting that the court would declare a witness to be hostile by watching the witness’s body language and not due to whom the witness was presumed to be communicating with.

She then adjourned the matter till May 9 for a continuation of trial.

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