An undergraduate of the University of Lagos, on Tuesday, explained to a Lagos State Special Offences Court in Ikeja, how eight undergraduates of the same institution allegedly gang-raped and blackmailed her with the video footage of the sexual assault.
The 19-year-old gave an account of the incident while giving evidence during the trial of some of the suspects.
Five of the suspects, Moboluwaji Omowole, 19; Chuka Chukwu, 19; Peace Nwankaba, 19; James Aguedu, 20; and Osemeka Josephine, 20, were arraigned on Tuesday on three counts of defilement of a child, permitting the defilement of a child on a premises and procuration (inducing any minor girl under the age of 18 to go from any place or to do any act with intent that such a girl may be, or knowing that it is likely that she will be, forced or seduced to illicit intercourse with another person).
Other students, who are alleged accomplices to the crime, are still at large.
According to the prosecutor, K. A. Momoh-Ayokanbi, the defendants and others at large committed the offences in January 2017 on the premises of UNILAG, Akoka, Yaba, Lagos.
The offences, according to Momoh-Ayokanbi, contravene sections 137, 138 and 140(1) (a) of the Criminal Law of Lagos, 2015.
The victim, who was 17-year-old at the time of the incident, on Tuesday, told the court that she became friends with Nwankaba, who was her roommate when she moved into the school’s hostel during the 2016/2017 academic session, adding that Nwankaba lured her to be gang-raped.
She said, “I had three roommates, including 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 in January 2017.
“One day, around noon, Peace called me on the phone and asked if I was around and if I wanted to hang out with a boy called Yinka (now at large) at the High Rise, which is a staff quarter in UNILAG; but at that time, I did not know what High Rise was; I told her and she said it was a hostel where people stayed.
“I told her I was not sure about hanging out and that I would think about it; she cut the line and called me again within the space of five minutes, but this time, it was Yinka, who was talking to me. He told me that it was supposed to be a hangout and Peace would be there; at that point, I agreed and since I didn’t know where the High Rise was, Yinka and Peace told me to meet them at the Jaja Hall, a male hostel in UNILAG.
“When I got there, I only met Yinka, who was with James, and I asked after Peace, but he told me that she was at the High Rise.
“When I got to the High Rise, I was led into a small building behind the High Rise, where I met Seriki (now at large) and a group of boys, but was assured by Yinka that Peace would come.
“James led me up the flights of stairs and we got into a room; there were boys on the corridor. I entered into the room with Seriki and James, but Yinka stayed outside; when I got into the
room, I met two boys and a girl; the boys were Emmanuel (at large), I cannot remember the name of the second boy, and Josephine.
“When James and Seriki entered the room, Josephine and the two boys left and at that point, it was clear to me that Peace was not in the High Rise. Yinka then asked me to have sex with him, I said no but he forcefully removed my clothes; at this point, two other people, who were peering into the room, entered and held me down while Yinka forcefully had sex with me.
“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.”
The victim further told the court that she was subjected to further sexual assault by some of the defendants and their accomplices following the alleged gang rape.
She added, “When they were molesting me, there was a guy, who was sitting down making a video recording of all that was happening on a phone. My first instinct was to get the phone from him but I was outnumbered. At the point when they were leaving, they led me outside the building and they told me that they had a footage of what happened.
“They said if I didn’t want to be popular in school, I had to answer them anytime they wanted to have sex. They collected my number and shared it among themselves.”
She further told the court that because she did not know how to handle the situation, she kept everything that happened to herself, as she was scared that she would get into trouble because of the video.
The victim added that on two other occasions, she was subjected to more gang rape by members of the group, who now included Simi, Randy, Idowu and Eddy (all at large), noting that the assault occurred at Chukwu’s parents house at the Pako area of Yaba.
She added, “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 the Jaja Hall and that there was a footage of the incident and I wanted to get away from it.
“I had a friend (name withheld), who belonged to the same organisation in the school as me; he liked me and 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 Ecobank to withdraw money, but unknown to me, he wanted me to see the school counsellor.
“The school counsellor beckoned to me and I saw my bio-data with her; she asked me to follow her and at that point, I knew who she was.
“I thought I was going to be expelled from the university; she pulled out a form and asked me to state what happened and I told her everything. She told me that the school was behind me and promised that the perpetrators would be caught.”
The victim added that the counsellor asked her to lure Omowole (first defendant) to a place on the school premises, where he was arrested and taken to the office of the Dean of Student Affairs, and he provided the names of his accomplices.
The presiding judge, Justice Sururat Soladoye, adjourned the case till March 18 for cross-examination of the victim and the hearing of the bail application of the defendants.
The judge ordered that the defendants be remanded in the Kirikiri Medium Security Prison.