Wednesday 21 June 2023

MEMORY LANE: When Lagos Man Gets Life Sentence for Raping His Girlfriend

Sexual assault is a serious crime that violates the dignity and rights of the victims. It can have lasting physical, psychological, and social consequences for both the survivors and their families. In Nigeria, s€‎xual assault cases are often underreported, poorly investigated, and rarely prosecuted. However, some recent court judgments have shown that justice can be served for the survivors of sexual violence.

One such case is that of Eniola Wasiu Ibrahim, who was sentenced to life imprisonment by Justice Rahmon Oshodi of a Lagos Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Court, Ikeja, on December 1, 2021. Ibrahim was convicted of raping his girlfriend without her consent at his residence on June 6, 2021.

The prosecution presented four witnesses, including the survivor and her supervisor, who testified before the court. The survivor narrated how Ibrahim invited her to his house on a Sunday afternoon and locked the door behind her.

He then carried her to his bedroom and forced himself on her, while taking nude pictures of her. She said she tried to resist him and broke a glass with her leg, but he threatened her with a cutlass and continued to abuse her.

The survivor said she was able to escape when Ibrahim’s landlord called him on the phone and said he would report the incident to the police. She said Ibrahim’s friend came to his house and begged her not to be angry. She said she reported the matter to her supervisor, who took her to a hospital and a police station.

“When I got to his house, we entered inside, a room and a parlour apartment. So, I sat in the parlour, and he told me that he was happy that I came to his house. He asked me what I wanted to eat and I told him I had eaten at home and that I was okay.

“I informed the defendant that I did not want to stay long. He said that he likes my hair and also me. He asked me where I came from, and my age. He then asked me about my genotype.  I responded that I don’t know.

“He said at this age I am supposed to know my genotype. Thereafter he hugged me and was romancing me. So, I told him I want to go and he said that I could not go, that I have not stayed long. After that, he went and locked the door.

“He then carried me from the parlour to the room, and unto the bed. He now forced my trouser open, and he slept with me and he took several photographs of me while naked. He forcefully had s€‎x with me, and I was shouting and struggling.”

The survivor further told the court that she used her leg to hit a glass and the glass got broken.  “He then left me, and my wristwatch was broken. When he stood up, he started abusing me that I will pay for everything I damaged in his house before I leave his room,” she said.

She said that the defendant brought out cutlass to threaten her when she was crying and shouting.

“I was now begging him that he should not use the cutlass on me. So, he gave me my clothes to wear, and he said he would call his friend to come before his landlord called him on the phone and said he would report what happened in his room to the police.

“He went out of the room to meet the landlord. The landlord said that he was hearing noise coming out of his room, and the defendant said nothing  happened. Then his friend  came to his house. He now  explained to his friend everything that happened. The friend now begged me that I should not be angry,” she said.

Ibrahim denied raping his girlfriend and claimed that they only had romance and flirtation. However, the court rejected his defense and found him guilty as charged by the Lagos State government.

The court relied on the testimony of the survivor, the medical report, and the evidence of the landlord, who confirmed hearing noises from Ibrahim’s room.

Justice Oshodi said he considered all the materials and submissions of the counsel in the case. He said he also took into account Ibrahim’s plea for mercy

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