A prosecution witness, Inspector Nkem Ejelonu, on Tuesday told the Domestic Violence and Sexual Offences Court in Ikeja how a former student of the University of Lagos (UNILAG), John Otema, allegedly raped a female undergraduate of the institution and stole her underwear.
Ejelonu, the Investigating Police Officer (IPO) in the case, gave the testimony while giving evidence during the trial of Mr Otema who is charged with three counts of rape and assault occasioning harm.
Otema is accused of raping two students of the institution.
Ejelonu, who is attached to the Adeniji Adele Police Station and has 20 years experience in the Nigerian Police Force, said that following the allegation of underwear theft by Student X (name withheld), she executed a search warrant to find the missing clothing.
Led in evidence by the state prosecutor, Mrs Arinola Momoh-Ayokanbi, Ejelonu said: “Student X said the defendant left with her pant, bra and handkerchief after he raped her in his car.
“I went to the Igbosere Magistrates’ Court to sign a search warrant on Feb. 6, 2018, we went to the defendant’s house at No. 6, Adeleye St., Bariga Lagos to execute the search warrant, the items were not found.
“We found only kitchen knives and on Feb. 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 pant, bra and handkerchief but I could not find anything, hence the search of his house,” she said.
Earlier in her evidence, Ejelonu narrated how the police was alerted about the rapes by UNILAG officials.
“On Feb. 5, 2018, two officers from Alausa came to our office that they received a distress call from UNILAG that they needed our support.
“The then Divisional Police Officer (DPO), Ayodele Onujose, detailed myself and Seagent. Osasua, we went to UNILAG and saw the school counsellor and we went to the security cell and we saw the two girls who were about 19-years-old,” she said.
The IPO also told the court how the first complainant, Student X was allegedly raped by the defendant.
“On Jan. 17, 2018, the defendant offered to give her a ride in his car on campus, he took her to DLI, had sexual intercourse with her and took away her pant, bra and handkerchief,” she said.
Ejelonu also told the court how another complainant, Student Y (name withheld), was allegedly raped by Otema.
She said: “Student Y said sometime in 2018 she saw the defendant on campus and they went to the canteen to buy food, the defendant went to the bank and gave her back N2, 000 for the meal.
“Then both of them became friends, she told the defendant that she already had a boyfriend but he said that they should be friends with benefits.
“Student Y said she demanded for a laptop and the defendant gave her N20,000 and promised that he would give her N30,000 later.
“On Jan. 30, 2018, the defendant picked her up and took her to his house and wanted to sleep with her and she demanded for N100,000. The money was not given to her.
“He had sex with her, during that period her boyfriend called her, the defendant dropped her off on campus at 11.30pm.”
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, the vehicle is with the exhibit keeper at the Adeniji Police Station,” she said.
NAN reports that 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 had asked the court to declare the police officer a hostile witness on the ground that she was in communication with the defence.
“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 and during her evidence, she did not disclose some specific details that was in her report, that is why I wanted it to be admitted into evidence,” she said.
Justice Abiola Soladoye declined Momoh-Ayokanbi’s request noting that the court would only declare a witness to be hostile by watching the witness’s body language and not due to whom the witness is presumed to be communicating with.
NAN reports that according to the charge, Otema had sexual intercourse with Student Y without her consent on Jan. 31, 2018 in his home at No. 6, Ajileye St., Bariga, Lagos.
On 17th January, he had unlawful sexual intercourse with Student X around DLI in UNILAG, Akoka, Lagos, he also physically assaulted Student X by hitting her several times on the face, strangling her and biting her back.
The offence, the prosecution said, contravened the provisions of sections 173 and 260(1)(2) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2015.