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Alleged rape: How I was discharged and acquitted by court – Aje Olumayowa

BUT for the interven
tion of the Attorney General of Lagos State, the ambition of Mr. Aje Olumayowa to become an architect could have been aborted. Mr. Aje now a Masters’ degree holder in Architecture from theUniversity ofLagos, UNILAG could have been languishing in prison for allegedly conniving with two others to kidnap, rape, brutalize, take and spread nude pictures of a lady on the social media, allegations he knew nothing about.
The incident happened in June 2013 when he was a 400-level student at the UNILAG. Narrating his ordeal in the hands of the police, who detained and tortured him in the course of investigating the allegations, Olumayowa said he knew no peace until May 12, 2014 when the court discharged and acquitted him on the advice of the AG of Lagos State.
Lamenting that the incident prevented him from going abroad for further studies, he said: ‘’This all started in June 2013 when a certain man claiming to be a ‘soldier’ approached me in my 400-level studio/class at the Department of Architecture, UNILAG asking after a dog breeder who was my classmate.
He said the enquiry was about a post circulating on Twitter and if I knew anything about the post. I told him I didn’t know anything about it. I got back into the class to call out my classmate whom he was looking for and whatever discussion he had with the man I did not know.
A few days later while on Twitter going through my timeline, I saw a blog post claiming a dog breeder (names withheld here) had been arrested in connection with kidnapping, raping, brutalizing and spreading nude pictures of a certain UNILAG student, and that two others Aje Olumayowa and Babajide Ademuyiwa (correct names: Babajide Ajayi), 400-level students of the Department of Architecture UNILAG, who were spreading the nude photos were on the run.
‘’I was dumb-founded and totally confused; a lot of blog posts published the same ridiculous news. I could not comprehend how my name became linked with this. While in class, I was inundated with calls from different places; from friends and relatives in Warri, Ondo, Ibadan, Port Harcourt and even a friend from the U.S asking ‘What happened….’ ‘What did you do…’’Mayowa why? Etc. A colleague who wasn’t in the class at that point in time called to tell me that her elder sister had just spoken to her on the phone about a newspaper publication claiming her colleagues were on the run and asked if she knew us.
I stepped out of the class to get a copy of the newspaper (not The Vanguard), I wasn’t thinking straight anymore. On my way out of the department, I received a call from an unknown number, it was my classmate Jide. I was fuming and confused. I told him to meet me at the department. When he came I kept asking him random questions; he too seemed confused. Our H.O.D, summoned me to his office and I had to drag Jide along, hoping he might have some insight into what was going on.
The H.O.D showed me the publication. I told him I had no knowledge of what the publication was about and that I could not have been on the run when I was always attending lectures.
A day or two later, the H.O.D sent for me and showed me a police invite from the Adeniji Adele police station, asking him to release the following students (our names inserted) to the police. It was then my colleague, Jide explained how he was dragged into the situation, stating how the man who claimed to be a ‘soldier’ and some policemen approached him with a false story of his fellow dog breeder which I myself had no affiliation with or even knew; that he had kidnapped, raped and brutalized a certain girl, and he was on the run. So, they needed Jide’s help to lure the dog breeder out by feigning interest in buying a rare breed of dog, of which Jide did help and didn’t know why he was being implicated after helping out. But, why my name was in the mix-up, Jidedidn’t know. The H.O.D advised us to go with our lawyers to the station to get to the bottom of the matter.
‘’On the 4th of July 2013, I fully recall that date because that was the first time in my life I would step in a police station for any reason, I went to the Adeniji Adele police station voluntarily with my lawyer with a view to resolving the mix up and getting back to school quickly to prepare for the FESSA awards (Faculty Awards). On getting there, the policemen led by the Divisional Police Officer (D.P.O.) irrationally descended on me, making baseless and spurious allegations concerning nude photos against me. I couldn’t comprehend what this angry man was saying as there was no shade of evidence whatsoever to substantiate the wayward allegations. I was unjustifiably detained till the 8th of July 2013.”
While I was in custody, the alleged victim they claimed had been raped was brought to the station in the company of her supposed mother and I was paraded before them. When asked if I knew her, I said ‘No.’ She was asked if she knew me and she said she didn’t know me. The D.P.O. then cut in to say, ‘This is the Aje Olumayowa. She then claimed she heard I was the one spreading her nude pictures via Twitter.
Now, the D.P.O. brought a printout showing a tweet/post from an account clearly owned by a female with the said nude picture and another printout showing my tweet quoting that said tweet: ‘Wow SMH’ (meaning – shaking my head). I was almost laughing but my anger fought back, in my mind. ‘So this is why I am here? I wondered’.
‘’After trying to explain how Twitter works, and how in no way I spread the nude pictures of the supposed rape victim, and that I actually gave a negative comment because her nude picture seemed disgusting because she appeared to have deliberately posed naked, the D.P.O. tried to find another way around it by alleging that I owned the other account that posted the nude photo and I had somehow deactivated the account. I strongly felt I was being unjustifiably held in prolonged detention and lost my comportment. I gave the D.P.O. a piece of my mind and boldly stated to the D.P.O’s face that he was biased, unprofessional and incompetent.
“A hot exchange of heated words between the D.P.O and I ensued. He swore to teach me a bitter lesson and there and then began to make calls announcing abrasively he was bringing journalists. The D.P.O forced my back to the wall and took my snapshot. It was this snapshot of me taken by the D.P.O. at the Adeniji Adele police station alongside that of the Babajide Bashorun that would later be posted on the story published in the Vanguard’s publication of 30th of August 2013 and republished by numerous social media blogs even while court proceedings were still on.
‘’Previous posts by newspapers (not The Vanguard) on 27th of August 2013, claimed I was on the run and that I had spread nude pictures of a certain girl on the internet. The Vanguard publication of 30th August 2013on the otherhand alleged that the Babajide Bashorun guy, my colleague Babajide Ajayi and I, had kidnapped, raped in turns, brutalized, taken nude pictures, spread the nude pictures online and threatened to kill the said victim, which fully contradicted the previous posts.
‘’Now let’s go back a bit before the second publication. I was eventually charged to court on the phantom allegations of the DPO after four harrowing days in detention. The case kept on being adjourned due to lack of substantial evidence for months and not one day did the said victim come to the court. I got to see the Babajide Bashorun face to face for the first time in my life at the court.
‘’Upon a petition dated 12th of September 2013 to the Attorney General’s office by Adeniyi Quadri, Esq. of Imolola Law Chambers, the office of the Attorney General retrieved the case file from the police and carried out a professional review of the case. The Attorney General’s office subsequently issued “Legal Advice” which exculpated Babajide Ajayi and I from all phantom and cooked up charges culminating in our discharge by the honourable court on 12th of May 2014.
This experience has been harrowing and made me faulter in my studies. I had to undergo an extra year to conclude my undergraduate programme.
I could not go outside the country for my masters’ degree apprehensive of embassies chancing upon the publications made about me, and the extra year caused by this experience negatively impacted upon my academic performance and record. I am grateful to God that the court cleared me of any wrong doing and to my loving parents that I was still able to do my masters’ programme. Today, I am a proud holder of a Masters Degree in Environmental Design (MED- Architecture).’’ The A.G.’s legal advice proved my innocence and then the court endorsed it.

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