Thursday, 23 May 2013

Kolade Arowolo still insisting his 'murdered' wife killed herself

For those who saw the injuries on late banker, Titi Arowolo, you will all agree that it didn't look self-inflicted. But the man standing trial for her murder is still insisting she killed herself. 

Kolade Arowolo was in court yesterday May 22nd and told the court that Titi actually attacked him with the knife and eventually turned the knife on herself. He said: "I'm not that kind of person. I loved her so much".

Explaining what happened on June 24th 2011, Kolade said he and his wife had sex on that day. He said they'd agreed to stay indoors throughout the day since it was his birthday, adding that he, however, went out to withdraw money which they would use in celebrating his birthdayContinue..

 He said on returning home, an argument ensued, causing his wife to slap him. He said, “On June 24, 2011, after we had sex, we made some commitments one of which included that she (Titilayo) would no longer be running off to her parents’ home whenever we fought and we decided that we would do everything possible to make the marriage work. We decided that we would stay indoors till evening.
“I went out around 10am to withdraw money from the bank and I bought some items. On the way, I picked up my mechanic because he needed to repair my car. On getting home, about an hour later, the security guard and the mechanic helped me to take the items to my apartment and he (mechanic) drove the car away.
"On getting home, I realised my wife was completely dressed and she said she was going out. As I pleaded with her, she started shouting, saying that Aunty Toun (Stepmother) and Aunty Labisi told her to leave the house. She was very angry and she slapped me.”
Akolade said he ran to the house of his next door neighbour and told his neighbour’s mother, Mrs. Hannah Alaka, to intervene.
He said Mrs. Alaka called Titilayo and spoke to her by the corridor leading to the staircase and convinced her not to go out.
Akolade said he and his wife returned into their apartment and he proceeded to fuel the generator when he received a phone call from his sister-in-law, Folake Oyakhire.
He said he and Folake shared the same birthday.
Akolade said, “After speaking with Folake, she asked to speak with her sister so I started looking for my wife all over the place. I called out her name but she did not answer. On getting to the entrance to our room, I slipped and almost fell. As I attempted to hand over the phone to my wife, she stabbed me in the arm with a kitchen knife.
“She stabbed me again this time on the left side of my chest. I tried to wrest the knife from her and she started screaming, ‘I will kill you and kill myself.’ In the struggle, she stabbed me in the navel.
“Later. I asked my wife why she did this and she started apologising. I then decided to get help for her but I could not find the key to the main door to the house.”
Akolade said he scattered the wardrobe, where his wife said she had kept the keys but still could not find them.
He said, “After attempting to force open the door of the house with no success, I decided to jump from the balcony and I met the security guard and mechanic there. I jumped into my car and drove towards the Aswani Police Division.
“On my way to the station, I met some traffic policemen and I explained to them that my wife needed help. They were telling me to take care of myself first since I was covered in blood. While I was still explaining to them, an oncoming vehicle knocked me over and I fell unconscious.
"When I regained consciousness, I found myself in a strange environment and was told that it was a Good Samaritan that had rescued me. I later made a telephone call to my mother. It was the person who picked up the phone that told me that my wife was dead.”
While being cross-examined by the Director of Public Prosecutions, Mrs. Olabisi Ogungbesan, Akolade told the court that his wife was alive the last time he saw her.
He said he sustained more injuries than her and even debunked the report of the pathologist, Prof. John Obafunwa, who had asserted in his testimony that Titilayo was stabbed 76 times, saying it was not possible for a human being to inflict such wounds on oneself.
Ogungbesan, who debunked Akolade’s testimony, said, “Akolade, why did you not inform the mechanic, neighbours or even your security guard that your wife was bleeding  instead of going to the police station? Why did you not use your mobile phone to call for help?
“If you did not stab your wife to death; then who did? You said your wife was mentally unstable, are you a certified psychiatrist? Since it has been established that you were the last person to see her alive I put it to you that you stabbed your wife to death.”
Akolade answered that his wife had taken alcohol that morning.
He said, “If you had seen her that day, she was even more powerful than me. She overpowered me. I was not thinking clearly that day. That was why I ran straight to the police station without telling neighbours. It was possible that she stabbed herself to death but it was not 76 times.”
Justice Lateefa Okunnu, adjourned the matter till September 17, 2013, for the final address of counsel. (Punch)
I'm sorry but his explanation makes no sense to me. Besides, Titi's family confirmed back in 2011 that he frequently battered her.

Rape: ‘We won’t close orphanage’

MAY 20, 2013 BY COMFORT OSEGHALE LEAVE A COMMENT : The Ogun State Government says it will not close down the Light of Hope Orphanage, Akute, Ogun State, over allegations of sexual abuse against its Director, Mr. Olatayo Atunde. This was made known in a statement on Sunday by the State’s Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs. Elizabeth Sonubi. She said, “It should be noted that before his remand in prison, the state government had ordered that Atunde should not visit the premises of the orphanage. “His wife who was allowed to take over the management, gave an undertaking not to interfere with the ongoing judicial process or take action which will intimidate the children. “Logistic challenges associated with outright closure of the home should be appreciated. Two officials of the Ministry of Women Affairs have been detailed to constantly monitor the orphanage since the beginning of the case and visit the home every other day.” Atunde was arrested on April 4, 2013 by the Zone 2 police command after he was accused of rape by two minors living at the orphanage. Following the arrest, the girls were handed over to Project Alert, a non-governmental organisation on violence against women. Two weeks later, the Ogun State Government took custody of the girls, but returned them to the orphanage a few days later. PUNCH Metro had on April 30 reported the return of the minors to the orphanage. Four days before the report, Atunde was arraigned at the Ota magistrate’s court on four counts and remanded in Ibara, Abeokuta prison. The case was adjourned until May 30, 2013. Defending government’s decision, Sonubi added, “The children needed to be where they would be comfortable and the orphanage is the only home they have ever known. “Also we don’t want a break in their education; one of them is sitting for the ongoing JSS III examination. “Meanwhile Project Alert, which petitioned the police over the allegation against Atunde, demanded money to accommodate the children. “The relatives of the children invited to take custody of them rejected the offer to take up such responsibilities.” Counsel for Project Alert, Mr. Benjamin Odeh, however refuted the allegation. He said, “I was present at the meeting in Abeokuta when the girls were handed over to the state government. At no time during the meeting was a demand ever made for money. “The girls were already in our care before the government intervened and Project Alert still offered to continue keeping them until they were able to complete their JSS III exams. “If Project Alert demanded money, the Ogun State Government should be able to tell us how much was demanded. This allegation is false. The government is just trying to defend its surprising action.” Source:

Graphic photo: Woman bathed with acid by rejected lover

23 year old Blessing Ikhumhi, a student of Edo State School of Health Technology was bathed with acid by her ex-boyfriend Cyril Okosun after she ended things with him. According to the story by Guardian, On March 23rd 2013, Cyril asked to speak with Blessing after she ended their relationship and thinking he wanted to talk reconciliation, she agreed to see him. He visited her house and as she went out to talk to him, he bathed her with acid. Blessing is now blind in both eyes and battling to stay alive at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), Benin City where she is a patient. Read Blessing's account of what happened after the cut... “He was my boyfriend and we had arguments in February. He beat me to the extent that I was not able to go to school for three days. I told him I was no longer interested in the relationship. He later tried to forcibly take my telephone, but I refused to give it to him. I told him he was not the one who bought it for me.” “On March 23, he called and asked me to meet him in front of our house. I refused initially, but he insisted, so I came out. He asked: “Do you mean you don’t want me again?” I said: “No! I was no more interested in the relationship. And immediately, he poured the acid on my face. Since that day, I have been on admission at the UBTH and the doctors say I might not see again except I am flown to India where my eyes could be restored." “I never knew he would have the heart to pour acid on me. I made a mistake. I have learnt the biggest lesson of my life. My prayer now is that God should touch kind-hearted Nigerians to come to my aide so that I would be able to get treatment abroad, since my parents cannot afford it.” Doctors in the hospital believe she may never see again except she is flown to a specialist hospital in India, where her sight could be restored. Cyril Okosun is in police custody in Benin Source:

You call it love, she calls it violence

One of the latest stories of domestic violence is that of the 23-year-old Blessing Ikhumi whose boyfriend, Cyril Okosun, reportedly bathed with acid, ostensibly for daring to voice her decision to discontinue with a relationship she considered abusive. That was on March 23. Though they were never married while the relationship lasted, Okosun was controlling and abusive, as the damaged young lady claims. Blessing, a student of Edo State School of Health Technology, says sometime in February, her ex-boyfriend beat her to the point that she could not attend school for some days. While she survived the beating, she is currently battling for her life at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, where the doctors have told her that she needs expensive surgery overseas to regain her sight. This is very urgent, the doctors say; else, she risks losing her sight permanently. Domestic violence is real and it goes on all around us all the time. In most cases, experts say, women are the victims; though research currently suggests that men also experience domestic violence. Researchers from King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, and the University of Bristol found that domestic violence can be a vicious cycle. They say domestic violence can often lead to victims developing mental health problems, and people with mental health problems are more likely to experience domestic violence. The research, published in the journal PLOS ONE, discloses that worldwide estimates suggest that over their lifetime, between 15 and 71 per cent of women experience physical or sexual violence from a partner. An online resource portal,, notes that abuse can be sexual when the aggressor attacks the victim’s sexual organs, engages in forced sexual activities, pressures the victim to have sex, or commits rape (including marital/partner rape). Experts also say it could be physical, such as pushing, shoving, grabbing, slapping, punching, restraining, etc. It could be physical intimidation (blocking doors, throwing objects), use of weapons or stalking. It may be emotional or psychological — threats and coercive tactics, controlling what the victim can and cannot do, undermining a victim’s self-worth and self-esteem, humiliation, denigration, blaming the abuse on the victim, name-calling and yelling. It may also be economic, such as maintaining control over finances, withholding access to money, making the victim financially dependent or not allowing the victim to work or go to school. According to a Consultant Psychiatrist at an earlier encounter, Dr. Oluyemi Ogun of the Federal Neuro Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba, Lagos, domestic violence can have an enormous effect on a woman’s mental health. She says, “It is now well accepted that domestic abuse is often the main cause of depression, anxiety and other mental health disorders. It may also lead to sleep disturbances, eating disorders, drug abuse, suicide or attempted suicide.” But then, what would make an otherwise loving partner turn abusive? Consultant Psychologist, Dr. Adeola Martins, says two most common reasons for intimate partner violence are alcohol abuse and uncontrollable anger. She says a person’s social standing, education or proper upbringing is no protection from improper behaviour during intoxication. Again, she says, uncontrollable angry reactions could be as a result of the abuser’s perception of being humiliated by the spouse. “Just as in alcohol-induced violence, the aggressor loses both the capacity to reason and the ability to logically monitor his reactions. The next thing you see is that he pounces on his victim and will not be assuaged until he draws blood.” Martins notes that in extreme cases, the abuser ‘rewires’ the victims psyche by giving her the impression that she can’t cope outside the abusive relationship, especially where the victim depends on the abuser for financial security. She also says sometimes, where it’s the husband who abuses the wife, he might threaten to send her packing and deny her access to the children, especially if the children are still very young. “That is why you see many women endure sordid abuse in the hands of their partners, sometimes leading to morbidity and, in many cases, death,” Martins says. The Executive Director of Project Alert, a non-governmental organisation that caters to the needs of abused women and their children, Dr. Josephine Effah-Chukwuma, expresses surprise that a woman could continue in an abusive relationship, warning that you could only be addressed as a “Mrs.” When you are alive. Her Sophia Home in the heart of Lagos rehabilitates women who have escaped abusive relationships. She cautions, “You might worry that seeking help could further endanger you and your children, or that it might break up your family. However, getting help is the best way to protect you and your children.” Meanwhile, domestic violence has negative implications for children of the relationship, experts say. Professor of Guidance and Counselling at the University of Lagos, Mopelola Omoegun, notes that domestic violence affects children, even if they’re just witnesses. She warns, “If you have children, remember that exposure to domestic violence puts them at risk of developmental problems, psychiatric disorders, problems at school, aggressive behaviour and, on the long run, low self-esteem.” Source:

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Rape victims insisted on returning to orphanage – Ogun

The Ogun State Ministry of Women Affairs on Thursday said it was right to return two key witnesses in a case against the Director of Light of Hope Orphanage, Akute, Mr. Olatayo Atunde, to the orphanage. The witnesses, (names withheld) aged 13 and 14, had last month, accused Atunde of raping them. Project Alert, a non-governmental organisation on violence against women, took the case up, prompting Atunde’s arrest and arraignment at the Ota magistrate’s court. At present, Atunde is being remanded in Ibara prison pending an advice from the state’s Directorate of Public Prosecution. But the government returned the girls to the orphanage despite its promise to keep them in one of its shelters. The Commissioner for Women Affairs, Mrs. Elizabeth Sonubi in a telephone interview with PUNCH Metro, said that the girls insisted on their return to the orphanage. “It was the decision of the girls to return to the orphanage. They were not happy staying with us and said they were no longer interested in going back to Project Alert either. “They were made to sign an undertaking that the decision was theirs before we took them back,” Sonubi said. Legal Counsel to Project Alert, Mr. Benjamin Odeh, however, slammed Sonubi’s response. He said, “I am surprised by the government’s reason. Going by the Child Rights Act, those girls are below 18 and by law, cannot be seen to make adult decisions. Whatever undertaking Sonubi is claiming they wrote is not legally tenable. “Besides, this case is in court; it is a case by the Ogun state government against Atunde; the same state that is supposed to be protecting and caring for the girls. All it has done by this action is to compromise the case and frustrate the effort of the prosecution. “One does not need to be a lawyer to understand the legal implications. How can children who have been raped, be returned to the scene of the crime, an orphanage run by the wife of the accused? Meanwhile sources at Tunde Sebanjo Street, Akute, where the orphanage is situated told PUNCH Metro that the girls were kept in isolation upon their return. A source said, “The girls were locked up in a room, separate from the other kids for a while. To my knowledge, they have been warned not to speak to anyone concerning the case again.” Mrs. Atunde however, denied the claims. She said, I don’t know where you got your information from. How could I have locked the girls up? They are children. That allegation is false. I have no further comment.” Source:

Girl, 12, raped in Benin

By Gabriel Enogholase BENIN- Residents of Ekpenede Street in Benin city yesterday woke up to find a 12 year old girl who was allegedly raped by unknown man soaked in the pool of her blood flowing from her virginal. The girl who gave her name as Osagioduwa could not walk even as a sympathizer brought a wrapper to cover her. Speaking softly, the victim said she was raped inside one primary school by a man who also hit her severally, saying that she pretended to have fainted to enable the alleged rapist have his way. Osagioduwa who said her parents were dead said she lived in a church and was looking for a place to lay her head when the incident occurred. “I went out with my cousin and we saw a man. We told him we were looking for a place to sleep and he told us to go to the police station but we ran away. “Another man told us her sister would help us. He took us to his house and after he took us to one school and I said I wanted to sleep.” “He grabbed me from the back and closed my mouth. He hit me on my neck and I could not shout. He lay on top of me. I woke up and manage to run away.” Various groups including the Association of Orphans and Vulnerable Children and the Child Protection Network were called and they invited the police who took her to the hospital. A member of the group, Lucy Bello said investigation showed that the act was committed at Ogbe Primary School. Bello said victim was severely injured in her virginal but said doctors had stitched the wound. Aged grandmother of the victim who gave her name as Rose called for the arrest of the alleged rapist. She said the victim left home on Sunday when they returned from church. The grandmother who said she was 80 said the victim’s father was dead but that her mother was living in the village. She said she had searched for the victim and concluded that she might have gone to see her mother. Source:

Teacher arrested for fondling 14-year-old pupil

A 24-year-old teacher, Phillip Ebong, was arrested on Wednesday by the Gowon Estate Police Division, Akowonjo, Lagos, for allegedly victimising a 14-year-old pupil (name withheld) and banning her from attending his classes. Ebong, who teaches Physics and Chemistry at the Dee Jewels International College, Gowon Estate, Egbeda, was arrested during school hours after a complaint was lodged at the police station by Spaces for Change, a non-governmental organisation on youth development, on behalf of the pupil and her guardian, Mrs. Theresa Amaechi. A copy of the petition made available to PUNCH Metro revealed that Ebong began harassing the victim from the first day of her enrolment in the school in January 2013. The petition read, “On repeated occasions, Ebong invited the victim to the staff room informing her of his desire to have an intimate relationship with her. Consequently, the victim became a regular visitor to the staff room during break periods. “On such visits, he made sexual advances to her which often involved kissing and hugging. Several times, Ebong followed her home, waiting at the gate to avoid being seen by her guardian.” The petition alleged that under much pressure from Ebong, the victim eventually invited the teacher to her guardians’ home while they were away. Ebong was alleged to have cajoled her to expose her private part, after fondling her breasts and kissing her. It was said the harassment became too persistent, that the victim allegedly earned the title, “Uncle Phillip’s wife,” among her classmates and friends. Amaechi told PUNCH Metro, “The victim is a timid girl. I did not know the extent of the harassment she was facing until she opened up to me last Friday. Earlier, she had told me Ebong was asking her for a relationship and I told her to reject his advances. I thought it would stop at that. “I was shocked when she told me last week that she was no longer interested in staying in the science class; she wanted to switch to the arts and when I asked why, she said it was because Ebong had banned her from his classes. “Apparently, she had told him that I was aware that he had asked her for a sexual relationship. The revelation angered him. He even went as far as threatening that she would fail her examinations,” As of the time of Ebong’s arrest, the school principal was said to be busy as the SSS III students were taken the WAEC examination. However the school proprietor, identified as Mrs. Azubuike, who was alerted to the development, rushed down to the school. She said the victim never made a formal report to the school. She said, “We don’t condone such acts here. Had we been informed on time, we would have taken appropriate action.” When confronted, Ebong allegedly denied the accusation. He blamed the entire situation on his interest in his students’ success. He said, “I am close to all my students; that is what I was taught in the College of Education that a teacher had to be friendly. I just took an interest in the victim because I noticed she was not taking her homework seriously. All this talk of my touching and kissing her, they are all lies. I admit going to her house but it was because I wanted to see her guardian.” Executive Director of Spaces for Change, Mrs. Victoria Ibezim-Ohaeri, said Amaechi came to her with the case on the same day her ward confided in her. She said, “We are prepared to seek legal redress in the court should the school and police fail to investigate this matter and exercise full disciplinary action against Ebong. “Our investigation has also shown that there are other students currently being abused by this same Ebong. “These acts of misconduct are not only indicative of poor supervision and negligence on the part of the school authorities, but also amount to continuing breeches of the victim’s fundamental human rights.” As of press time, PUNCH Metro gathered that the police had obtained statements from the victim’s classmates and friends. The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Ngozi Braide, when contacted, said, “I will let you know when I have the full details.” Source:

6 pregnant teenagers nabbed for intending to sell babies

Enugu – The Enugu State Police Command on Tuesday arrested six pregnant young girls in a home where they were allegedly being prepared to deliver their babies for sale. The Public Relations Officer of the command, Mr Ebere Amaraizu, said in a statement that the girls were arrested at No. 7, Anyansi Lane, Ogui in Enugu. He alleged that the girls, aged between 16 years and 17 years, had negotiated with people who would buy their babies after delivery. Amaraizu confirmed the arrest of three other persons in connection with the incident, saying that investigations are in top gear on the incident. The police spokesman said the girls were smuggled out of their guardians’ homes. In a related development, four persons have been arrested for allegedly stealing a 12-day old male child from the mother after delivery in an unnamed maternity home on Ebony Paint road, Awkunanaw, Enugu. Amaraizu said the arrest of a couple led to the arrest of two others allegedly involved in the incident. He said the police had recovered the stolen child, who is in good health, while the suspects were helping the police in its investigations. (NAN) Source:

Tailor faces trial for raping 15-year-old girl

A 27-year-old tailor, Sulaimon Jelili, has been arraigned before an Osogbo magistrate’s court for allegedly raping a 15-year-old girl (name withheld). The charge sheet obtained on Friday stated that Jelili committed the crime at Opele compound, off Sabo road, Osogbo, on May 7, 2013. Police prosecutor, Inspector Solomon Oladele, said, “Jelili gained access to the girl’s room through the ceiling. “He was caught by members of a vigilance group, who took him to Oke Baale police station.” The accused pleaded not guilty to the three-count charge of rape, threat to life and molestation – all punishable under sections 212, 86 and 360 of the Criminal Code Cap 34 Vol. 11, Laws of Osun State of Nigeria, 2003. Oladele said the accused did not only rape the teenager, but also threatened to kill her and one Owolabi Kabira with a machete. He explained that the accused person entered the victim’s room through the ceiling and forcefully had carnal knowledge of her without her consent. Counsel to the accused person, Mr. Okobie Najite, said the alleged offences were bailable and that the accused should be presumed innocent until the contrary is proved. Najite subsequently urged the court to grant the accused person bail in the most liberal terms. The Magistrate, Mr Mohammed Lasisi, granted the accused person bail in the sum of N100,000 with two sureties. Jelili, however, failed to meet the bail conditions and was remanded in custody. Source:

Cripple ordered his boys to rape me –Victim

A 23-year-old lady (name withheld) on Friday told a Benin Chief Magistrate that a cripple ordered four men to rape her.
The victim told the court, presided over by Chief Magistrate Peter Edo-Asemota that the cripple, Saturday Enabulele, and the four men committed the offence on April 13, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.
The accused persons, including Enabulele, Moses Okoeki, Osasumwen Enina, Junior Odubu and one other person now at large, , are facing a 12-count charge before the court.
They, however, pleaded not guilty.
The accused were charged with rape, forcefully having unlawful carnal knowledge without the consent of their victim, unlawful filming or recording of the assault.
Other charges are stealing the victims wallet containing money and phone, unlawfully and indecently assault, malicious damage of her pants, skirt and blouse, and obscene publication.
The offence contravened sections 516, 355, 451,357, 360, 390(9), 233(B) and 357 of the Criminal Code.
The prosecutor, Mrs. Evelyn Okunrobo, had appealed to the court to listen to the rape victim’s experience.
The victim told the court that Enabulele was her friend’s lover, and that her friend took her to the cripple’s house to sleep since she had no accommodation.
She said that on the said day (April 13) on her way to work, the four accused stopped her and said Enabulele wanted to see her.
When she refused, they took her purse containing the key to her office and she was thus forced to follow them.
She said on getting to the house, the cripple accused her of severing the relationship between him and his girl friend.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Man nabbed over wife’s death in Lagos

LAGOS — Operatives at the homicide section of the State Criminal Investigations Department ,SCID, Yaba , Lagos, have arrested a man who allegedly murdered his wife during a scuffle over his alleged affair with his wife’s employee, in Lagos.
The deceased, Endurance Ajisegiri, was the Managing Director of Speech Transition Company Limited.
Vanguard gathered that following the alleged affair with her employee, Endurance left her matrimonial home in Shasha area of Lagos for her parent’s in Ibeju-Lekki area.
Several entreaties made to settle the scores between the couple reportedly failed, until two weeks ago when a family friend to the Ajisegiris reportedly came to pick Endurance to her husband’s house.
Circumstances under which Endurance eventually died was not clear as at yesterday, but Vanguard gathered that shortly after the mediator prevailed on Isaac to reconcile with his wife, she had to be rushed to a hospital in a pool of her blood, where she was later confirmed dead.
Apparently suspecting there could be more to the mere injury in Endurance’s neck, doctor of the unnamed hospital was said to have contacted policemen at Shasha division, who arrested Isaac.
Although operatives at SCID told Vanguard that Isaac maintained he did not know what led to the death of his wife but they were of the view that she could have been stabbed in the neck with a sharp object.
Sources told Vanguard that a deep cut was noticed close to Endurance’s jagular.
Sources  further disclosed that two other persons, Isaac’s mother and his sister had  also been arrested over the issue.
Father of the deceased, Mr Johnson Agbobonye, told Vanguard that the only consolation would be for the Police to ensure that his daughter’s death was avenged by rendering justice to his family.
According to him; “The feud started after my daughter discovered that his husband was going out with her staff and sacked the lady in question. But her husband would not let her be since the sack of the lady. She later left her home when Isaac turned her into a punching bag. We were in support of her decision so as to prevent the unknown.
I was not not home the day a family friend came to pick her to her husband’s place, for I would have kicked against the action. Now he has made do his threat by killing the bread winner of the family”, said 68 year-old Agbobonye in an emotional laden voice.
Operatives however said the suspect would be charged to court at the end of investigation.


Ogun returns rape victims to orphanage

The orphanage
Two teenage girls (names withheld), who were allegedly sexually abused by the director of Light of Hope Orphanage Akute, Ogun State, Mr. Olatayo Atunde, have been returned  to the orphanage.
The state government, two weeks ago took custody of the girls from Project Alert, a nongovernmental organisation on violence against women.
The government, which waded into the issue after police detectives from the Zone 2 command arrested Atunde, said it was for the safety of the girls.
The government had also claimed in a press statement to THE PUNCH on April 17 that the orphanage was not properly registered.
The statement said, “The orphanage is still undergoing the registration process with the state’s Ministry of Women Affairs.”
When PUNCH Metro visited the orphanage on Monday, activities were in full swing. Employees went about their duties while the voices of children chanting nursery rhymes could be heard from one of the buildings in the vast compound.
One of the victims, aged 13, emerged from an outbuilding in the compound and politely greeted our correspondent as she walked past.
Both girls were supposed to be witnesses in Atunde’s prosecution. They were absent last Friday at the Ota Magistrate’s Court when he (Atunde) was arraigned on four counts. Atunde was denied bail and is being remanded at the Ibarra prison, Ogun state.
But his wife told our correspondent on Monday that she did not know why the girls were returned to the orphanage.
She said, “It was the state government that brought the girls here last week. We were not told the reason for the change of heart.”
Executive Director of Project Alert, Mrs. Josephine Effah-Chukwuma, expressed disappointment at the development.
She said, “I am not aware that the girls have been returned to the orphanage. When we were invited by the state government two weeks ago, we met with the Commissioner for Women Affairs, the Attorney General of the state and the Special Adviser to the Governor on Millennium Development Goals.
“They promised me that they would keep the girls safe. I heard both girls were being accommodated at the Stella Obasanjo Children Home at Abeokuta. When the issue of how one of the girls could finish up her junior WAEC came up, I offered to take them back because the exam is already at hand and their school is at Akute. The government told me that they would consider the option.”
Effuah-Chuwkwuma said the development was a waste of efforts by her NGO and the police to get the girls and others like them who still live at the orphanage, justice.
She said, “This is not a good sign. This case is in court; they should not have been taken back to the scene where they were raped.”
Officials of the private secondary school where the victims are students told PUNCH Metro that the girls had yet to resume classes.
One of the teachers in the school said, “We had hoped they would be allowed to at least finish the session with us because one of them is due to write her Junior WAEC but we have not seen them since we resumed.”
There was no response from the Ogun State Commissioner of Women Affairs, Mrs. Elizabeth Sonubi. She did not reply the calls or text messages to her phone.



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