A 19-year-old girl was gang-raped by her three friends in a neighbourhood in Iju area of Lagos State.
The young woman was said to be a very close friend to the rapists identified as Habeeb Adisa (25), Kehinde Aderinoye (25) and Ilyas Ogundimu (27).
The victim, a hair stylist, who spoke with PUNCH, admitted she summoned the courage to speak about her ordeal because she did not want them to go free and do the same to someone else.
Narrating how she was violated by the three men whom she trusted most in their neighbourhood, Adenike told our correspondent that not once did she suspect within the two years she knew them that they had such a heinous plan for her.
Calmly, but with a lot of anger and pain showing in her eyes, Adenike said, “I became friends with them as neighbours two years ago when my mother first rented an apartment in the area.
“Kehinde began to make advances to me. But I told him we were friends and did not want to be in a relationship with him. I have always rejected his advances.
“Later he would tell Habeeb and Ilyas to approach me to appeal on his behalf to accept his proposal, but I made them to understand that I could not go out with him. But we still talked and sat together in the neighbourhood as friends.”
Unknown to Adenike, the gentle disposition of her three friends was just a façade for the plan they had hatched on how to sexually assault her.
On Wednesday, June 17, 2015, an opportunity presented itself for the rapist friends to put their plan to work.
Adenike said, “In the morning of that day, around 9.30am, I went over Kehinde’s house like I usually did sometimes when I had nothing to do at home. I trusted them completely and usually went there to while away the time.
“Habeeb and Ilyas were there also. We were just talking when Habeeb suddenly came to me and picked me up. He threw me on the bed and I told him that I didn’t like that kind of play. I said, ‘If this is part of your playful habit I am not up for it.’
“But as he threw me on the bed, before I could stand up, he lay on me and pinned me down firmly. Kehinde quickly came over and started to remove my underwear. That was when I knew what they wanted to do. I struggled with them but they pinned me down and took turns to rape me.
“When I was screaming, one of them quickly went to the CD player, which was on at the time and turned on the music to maximum volume so that it would drown out my voice.”
When they finished, the three friends smiled in relish, it was learnt. They told their prey to pretend that what happened to her was a mere sexual encounter.
“They told me to just forget what happened and keep it between the four of us. But I realised that if I was afraid of stigma and kept it to myself, they would walk free and even boast to their friends about what they did to me. They would surely do it to someone else,” Adenike said.
Bruised and battered, Adenike summoned the courage to approach someone she trusted in the neighbourhood and narrated what happened to her. She was immediately advised to go to the Iju Police Division and report the incident.
As soon as she reported, some landlords in the area rose in the men’s defence.
Adenike’s mother said that because the parents of the rapists are landlords in the area, they first threatened her that if she decided to make the issue a police case, she would lose.
But on Thursday, after the police had arrested the suspects, our correspondent witnessed as families of the culprits and other residents of the area came out to the police station to beg Adenike’s mother.
Adenike’s case highlights the increasing incidence of sexual offences in Nigeria, where majority of sexual offences go unreported.
On Friday, the spokesperson for the Lagos State Police Command, Mr. Kenneth Nwosu, told our correspondent that the suspects had been charged to court.