Poly student, Oyo govt trade words over ‘rape by soldier’

A 23-year-old National Diploma 2 Mass Communication student of Eruwa Polytechnic on Monday narrated how she was allegedly raped under a tree by a soldier attached to Operation Burst, the anti-crime outfit set up by Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State.

The incident was said to have happened in Eruwa between 10.30pm on August 29 to 3:30am on August 30 this year while the student was returning after seeing off a friend.

She said she was raped repeatedly for five hours before she was let off the hook by the rapist soldier.

According to her, the soldier allegedly ordered her to climb the motorcycle while threatening to stab her with a knife.

She said: “It happened on Friday, August 29, 2014.

“I was coming back to my room after seeing off a friend.

“He accused me of being a cultist for moving about around that time, but I denied it.

“He then ordered me to climb his motorcycle, but I pleaded with him that he should let me go.

“He removed a knife and said that he would stab me if I refused to obey him.

“So scared, I climbed the Okada and he took me to the Operation Burst office in Eruwa.

“When we got there, he forcefully led me to a dark area under a tree and ordered me to remove my dress to enable him see if I had tattoos on my body.

“I told him I did not have tattoos and that he should let me go.

“He then removed the knife again and said that he would slaughter me like a ram if I failed to ‘cooperate’ and that I would be buried like many other girls who had failed to cooperate in the past and nobody would trace my death to him.

“Sensing danger, I removed my clothes.

“He ordered me to lie down under the tree and had sex with me several times while I was crying.

“He raped me till 3.30 am and I complained of catching cold.

“He entered into the office and brought out a bottle of beer.

“He gave it to me to hold for him.

“Later he said he was going to bring a blanket for me to cover my body.

“I waited for about 30 minutes, but when he did not return, I dressed up and ran away.”

The victim’s counsel, Leke Adeosun, backed her story, saying rape “had become a routine ritual amongst the soldiers and officers of the Operation Burst Ibarapa office.”

Adeosun said: “In the morning of Saturday, August 30, 2014, the victim called her parents on the telephone and told them what happened.

“It was the parents that came to brief our office.

“We thereafter advised that the victim should report to the Police Station at Eruwa, which she did.”

When the matter was reported to the security outfit, the girl identified the rapist among other security operatives paraded before her.

To worsen her ordeal, the Eruwa General Hospital, where she went for test, did not help matter.

According to her, on arrival in the hospital, the doctor she met told her to buy hand gloves, which she did.

She said: “The doctor told me to lie down and use his phone torchlight to examine my private part and wrote a report that although there was no trace of semen, the private part had been tampered with.”

It was gathered that the doctor claimed he could not carry out test on the inner part of the vagina because the hospital did not have the facilities to carry out such test.

The victim’s lawyer said a soldier called him at 8.25pm on Sunday informing him that the Army had commenced court martial trial on the indicted soldier, but that the student must appear to testify.

Responding, the Special Adviser to Governor Ajimobi on Media, Dr. Festus Adedayo, said Operation Burst “had investigated a case of rape levelled against one of its operatives by a student of the Eruwa Polytechnic, Ibadan and found it to be baseless.”

According to him, although test conducted on the lady to confirm if she was indeed raped proved negative the suspect has been recommended for disciplinary measure for abandoning his duty post.

A statement released by Adedayo on Sunday said the outfit’s Second-in-Command, CSP Elijah Bawa, had ordered a probe into the incident.

Adedayo said: “Immediately the outfit was informed of the allegation of rape against the said soldier, he dispatched an investigation team to Eruwa.

“The team met with the Divisional Police Officer for the Eruwa Division, DSP Kayode Adigun, who disclosed that the 23-year old Mass Communication student of the school lodged a complaint with the command that she had been raped by the soldier who was also an operative of the anti-crime outfit.

“The outfit’s Second in Command and the DPO took the complainant to the Eruwa General Hospital for medical examination, the result of which they said proved negative.”

Adedayo’s statement said “The test on the lady was conducted by a Dr. Jesimi Gamdu and all the physical manifestations of rape were not found on her.”

The state government however assured that “The soldier will, however, be charged for abandoning his duty post in the night without permission against standing instructions in the Operation Burst’s code of conduct.”

But Adeosun on Tuesday afternoon described Adedayo’s statement as a reflection of the mindset of the people currently at the helm of affairs in Oyo State.

His position, according to him, “stems from the fact that the Nigerian Police Force are still investigating the case… because as at about 3.30pm or thereabout, on Monday, 8th September, 2014, our client was invited to the Oyo State Criminal Investigation Department of the Nigerian Police Force at Iyaganku, Ibadan to make further statements to the Police on this case, and lawyers from our office accompanied her there. It was right there in the presence of our client and lawyers from our office that police officers from Eruwa Police Station handed over the case file to special detectives of the Anti Social Behaviour section of the Criminal Investigation Department of the Nigerian Police Force, Iyaganku for further investigation.”

He thus called on “all persons of good conscience to join us to demand for justice for this innocent lady as it has now become obvious that the Oyo State Government is desperately out to ensure that no investigation is carried our and all evidence are destroyed.”

Former President of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Oludare Ogunlana, had earlier petitioned First Lady, Patience Jonathan, and acting Inspector General of Police, Suleiman Abba, over the matter.

Ogulana, who alleged an attempt to silence the victim and deny her justice, wants the urgent intervention of Mrs. Jonathan and Police authorities.