One could feel the pain in her heart as thirty-four-year-old Tinuke Johnson (not real names) recounted her ordeal.
Showing our correspondent a swollen ankle, she said she would not have been r*ped if she had stayed indoors on the night of Friday, February 21, 2014.
Johnson said that she left home on the evening of that day to visit a friend at a hangout on Babs Animashaun Street, Surulere, Lagos.
“That night, I was waiting to meet a friend, but the person was not around. Then, a young guy in his twenties, who was with his friend, approached me. He introduced himself as Kunle. We chatted for some time. I discovered it was late when I checked my watch. It was 1.30am. He pleaded with me to go with him to his house and after much pressure, I agreed. All the while we spoke, he didn’t introduce his friend. But as we made to go, he followed us,” she said.
Johnson explained that she had taken to prost:tut:on last year, after her shop had been demolished by government. According to the single mother, she needed to take care of her children and other family members.
She said she and the men boarded a taxi to a house located at 36, Abosede Kuboye Crescent, in the Eric Moore area of Surulere. She explained that she decided to give her phone number to the taxi driver, when she noticed that it would be difficult for her to find her way when leaving.
Johnson said, “When I got to the house, there was no sign that there was any other person in the room. Kunle had s*x with me and left the room. After he left, another guy opened the door and said he was next. It was my first time of seeing him that night. While forcing me to lie down, I confronted him.
“He forcefully covered my mouth and said I shouldn’t make a sound. I was so scared, because I didn’t know if he was holding a gun. That was how, one after the other, they kept coming. In all, they were seven. I did not know where they came from. I was traumatised and managed to ‘flash’ the taxi driver, who immediately called back. I quickly told him I was being r*ped and that he should get help for me. I later learnt he went to mobilise other taxi drivers. Then they called the police.
“The seventh guy, tall and dressed in black, forced me to lie down. I refused; I was so scared. I begged him, but he threatened me, saying, ‘You don’t try me!’ He pushed me down. All the while, the taxi driver kept calling my phone. Somehow, I managed to answer it. He asked me to make a noise, because they couldn’t find which flat I was in. That was when the guy tried to snatch the phone from me. It fell apart while trying to snatch it from me. At that point, the taxi driver could no longer reach me,” she said.
Johnson added that she told the men she wanted to use the toilet and they ordered her to use the one in their flat. According to her, she refused, for fear that they coud harm her there. She said it was at that point she heard the police blowing the siren.
“They said to one another, ‘The police are around! The police are around!’ They ran in different directions. Desperate to escape, I rushed out of the room into the veranda and jumped into the next compound, spraining my ankle in the process. I didn’t even take my clothes. I ran in my underwear.”
The disturbed woman said she hid under a car until 3.30am.
Mrs. Gibson (not real name), who lives in the compound which Johnson jumped into, told SUNDAY PUNCH that when she first saw her on Saturday morning, she mistook her for a mentally challenged person. She said Johnson wore only underwear, had a swollen ankle and her body was covered in dirt.
“She explained that she was not mad and she had been r*ped. Her eyes were bloodshot, as if she cried all night. She begged me to help her. After listening to her story, I cleaned her up, gave her some clothes, and went to the neighbourhood association chairman to report the incident,” Mrs. Gibson said.
Chairman, Alaka Estate Extension Residents Association, Mr. Tunde Kuboye, said Gibson brought the matter to the notice of the association the next day during the association’s meeting.
He said, “Like any other last Saturday of the month, the leaders of the association were meeting on February 22 when Gibson stormed the venue. She was distressed. She told me what happened and I decided to inform the police. I called the Divisional Police Officer of Bode Thomas Police Station, Mr.Oliver Esirim, who soon sent some officers. The policemen took her (Johnson) to the police station, where she made a statement.”
Kuboye said the policemen returned with Johnson about an hour after to identify the house.
One of the residents in the house where the r*pe took place, Mr. Adekunle Adeniyi, promised to ensure that the suspects’ were ejected and arrested.
“I learnt one of the occupants and some of his friends r*ped the lady. I was infuriated, so I went back to confront them but they had escaped. As I was telling the guard to find them, Kuboye came in with the lady and some policemen. They were the ones who explained the whole matter to me.
“After the lady had confirmed the suspects’ apartment to the policemen, I ensured that the guard threw out the belongings of the boy who brought the lady. He is not a tenant. He was given the accommodation free of charge by a relation of mine, who is his family friend. I have had enough of him. I live here with my wife and kids. In the middle of the night, he and his friends would be quarrelling and making a noise, disturbing other occupants. On a number of occasions, I have had to come out to warn them,” he said.
The taxi driver who took Johnson and the two men to the house, Mr. John Okon, said he left after waiting for over an hour and the men did not come out to give him his money as promised.
Okon said, “I told a fellow taxi driver what they had done, when I spoke with the lady. It was then we decided to inform the police. When we got to the house with the policemen, we couldn’t identify the place. The lady’s number also didn’t go through. We didn’t know she had jumped into the next compound,” he said.
A senior policeman at the Bode Thomas Police Station told our correspondent that the DPO had given instructions that the house should be constantly monitored, in order to arrest the suspects.
When contacted, the Deputy Public Relations Officer of the Lagos Police Command, Mr. Damasus Ozoani, said he was unaware of the incident and promised to respond with details. But at the time this report was submitted, no response was received from the deputy PRO.