Rape is becoming a norm in Nigeria. So sad.. 15-year-old Semisola Olona (not real names) was allegedly raped by a commercial tricycle rider, known as Mr. Lati Ajoje.
Olona, a senior secondary one student in a Lagos school, said Ajoje was her mother’s customer and she knew him before the incident. Olona’s mother runs a canteen in Iyana Ipaja, Lagos.
She told Punch that she never believed Ajoje would rape her because he was a frequent customer at her mother’s shop. In tears, Olona, who claimed she was a virgin before the incident, narrated how Ajoje took advantage of her. She said she was on her way to her mother’s shop on January 15, 2016, when she met Ajoje who offered to drop her off at the canteen.
“I didn’t suspect anything. I even thanked him as I boarded his keke (tricycle). When we got to the bus stop, he turned and faced another route. I asked him if he wasn’t going to my mum’s shop again. He didn’t answer me. I told him to stop me at the bus stop but he refused.
“He then told me to be patient and said he only wanted to go and collect something at Water Estate. I insisted I wanted to drop off. He didn’t listen to me, he ignored me. He got to where he was going and he stopped at an uncompleted building and told me to get down. I asked him why, he said he wanted to tell me something. I told him I didn’t like the place he brought me and I was already feeling uncomfortable. He just carried me forcibly and entered the building. I was struggling. I even had to bite him but he didn’t bulge.
He carried me into a room in the uncompleted building. “He removed my clothes. I told him I would rather he killed me than do anything to me. But he said he wasn’t going to kill me but he would still have sex with me. That was how he forced himself on me and raped me,” she said.
Olona said Ajoje threatened to kill her if she ever told anybody about the incident. “After raping me, he used one rag to clean me up. After he finished, he gave me N200. But I told him I wasn’t going to take his money. I was afraid to tell anybody because he had said he would kill me. But eventually, I had to tell my sister who told my mother. I have not seen him again since then. He no longer comes to my mother’s shop,” she said.
The President of Touch a Heart Foundation, Lawrence Bassey, who is currently handling the case, said the organization felt obliged to take over the case when Olona’s mother reported the incident to it. “The victim’s mother said her child was raped and presented a police report. We have taken her to the Mirabel Sexual Assault Referral Centre. After some tests, one of the doctors told the girl’s mother that she was actually raped and she has been given some treatment,” he said.
Saturday PUNCH learnt that the case was also reported at the Gowon Estate Police Division. The investigating police officer in charge of the case has said that the police are still looking for a way to arrest the rape suspect. But Bassey said the suspect has been seen on the road operating his tricycle numerous times without attempts by the police to arrest him.
“The police have just refused to do their job and make the arrest. He is well known in the area. “Few days ago, the IPO told us he can’t go around looking for a rapist. He said we should go and look for the suspect ourselves. We have started the investigation on our own since the police said we should handle it ourselves.
“The suspect has yet to be found. We met with the chairman of the Keke operators in the area where Ajoje operates and he promised to get back to us. They took us to his mother, who also said that Ajoje is on the run and nobody has seen him. We have informed the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Person, Office of the Public Defender and the Public Advice Centre about this matter,” he said.
When contacted, the Divisional Police Officer of the station, Mr. Festus Otabor, a chief superintendent of police, he explained that the complainant had the right to ask for him, if the IPO refused to act on the case. “On a case of such magnitude, they should have made attempt to see me. I cannot hear of such case and just let it go. I am happy that you are informing me about the issue.
They need to come back and talk to me. It is a serious issue,” he said.