Saturday, 15 March 2014

Gang-rape: How Female Students In Kwara Institution Live In Fear

The last may not have been heard about the incessant rape of female students of the Kwara State College of Health Technology, Offa in Offa local government area of the state by gangs of several men at a time. ABDULLAHI OLESIN writes.

Irked by the rampant rape cases in the college, the Commissioner of Police last week said he would recommend the closure of Kwara state College of Health Technology, Offa over the alarming rate of gang-rape cases, saying, “I don’t know what is wrong with that school. If I have my way I would close down the school. And I am going to recommend to the state government to close down the school”.

The state police commissioner, Mr. Ambrose Aisabor told journalists that the cultist was arrested on February 22, 2014 at Rondo area in Offa where five boys of the same school, gang-raped the victim, name withheld.
“Two suspects were arrested; the lady and a male student of the school. They confessed to the crime while efforts are still on to arrest the fleeing suspects”, he said.
The female suspect, Awotola Mary stunned journalists when she advanced reasons why she lured her friend to be gang-raped by five of her cult members who are also students of the School of Health Technology, Offa.
Mary told journalists at the police headquarters in Ilorin that she was also gang raped much earlier by four boys before she was later initiated into the cult group.
She said she lured her friend to be raped by her cultist friends because she declined joining them in spite of all efforts and pressures mounted on her.

The female cultist also said that she regretted her action having been arrested by the police and more importantly that she was not gaining anything from the cult activities.
“I did not gain anything from cultism. I regret all my actions”, she said soberly.
The police have in the last four weeks paraded six students of the institution over alleged rape offences. The police also claimed that three other offenders, also students of the college are now at large.
The first three students of the college that were arrested and subsequently prosecuted by the police for allegedly gang-rapping a female colleague are Olorunshola Temidayo, 22, a resident of Lamodi area, Offa, Ikuologun Ayodele (at large), Popoola Tolulope (at large) and Tunde a.k.a of London (at large) According to the police, the case was transferred from the divisional police headquarters, Offa, to the department of investigation, Ilorin.

The police First Information Report (FIR) which detailed the charges against the accused during their arraignment before an Ilorin Magistrate’s Court, on February 14, 2014, stated that around 6:00pm, Temidayo (1st accused) took the victim of the same institution to the birthday party of one Akededolu Femi in his residence at Lamodi area, Offa, where he drugged her by mixing palm wine with ‘Ponche’ hot drink.

The first accused, after discovering that his female colleague was heavily intoxicated took her to his room and had carnal knowledge of her twice without her consent before calling on the other three accused, (all at large) who also had carnal knowledge of her without her consent.

Later, the victim was said to have shouted for help as she fell unconscious, which attracted the intervention of Adekunle Jimoh, the landlord, who rescued her and took her to the General Hospital, Offa before she was referred to the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital.

The charge sheet added that the accused used the privilege of being the ‘Man O War’ instructor to the victim to lure her to the place where she was allegedly raped.

Barely two weeks after the arraignment of the above suspects, another set of students of the same school were apprehended for similar crime. Those arrested and paraded on Thursday, March 6, by the state Police Command were Akinsola Oluwaseun (M) and 18-year old Awotola Mary (female) who was said to have arranged with five students to gang-rape her friend (name withheld).

One of the suspects, Oluwaseun, was arrested while the remaining four are at large, according to the Commissioner of Police, Ambrose Aisabo who paraded the suspects before newsmen.

Also recently, a student of the college, Aluko Opeyemi, 23, was arraigned before an Ilorin Magistrate’s Court for allegedly posting the photograph of a student who was gang raped, on the internet.
Opeyemi allegedly posted the picture of a fellow student, who was allegedly gang raped by her colleagues on the internet while he was instructed to look after her during her treatment.

According to the Police First Information Report (FIR), instead of the accused to take care of the victim, he took her photograph and posted it on the internet. It added that investigation revealed that the accused intentionally took the picture of the victim and posted it on the internet by using ‘2GO’ with the intention of tarnishing the reputation of the victim.

But the Provost of the College, Mallam Sheu Olalekan Ajide denied involvement of any of his students in the incessant rape cases in Offa.

Ajide told LEADERSHIP Weekend “The commissioner of police wrote us a letter which we had since replied that those people could not be traced in our college. We maintain high standard of discipline in our college which we will continue to maintain.

“I wish to stress that those paraded by the commissioner of police are not our students, we have not got any case of rape in our college hostel. Obviously, all these cases of gang raping are not committed within the college but outside the college.

“We maintain high standard of discipline in our college which we will continue to maintain. This gang raping by the people paraded by the commissioner of police – these boys and girls are not our students as claimed by them. In our college, any student caught with any act of indiscipline is normally expelled”.

But, independent investigation by LEADERSHIP Weekend showed that there were cases of gang raping of female students of the institution by their male colleagues said to be members of cult groups.

Some female students who volunteered information on the development but who do not want their names in the print for security reasons, confirmed that there were incidences of gang raping of their colleagues.

However, they claimed that the rape cases were perpetrated in the female hostels outside the college campus.

It was gathered that most students of the institution live outside the campus and most of them live in secluded areas such as Bintinlaye and Rondo.

The respondents said that most of the rape cases were not reported by the victims and people close to them because the perpetrators of the heinous acts are alleged cult members.

A male student also confided in LEADERSHIP Weekend that “the secluded areas where the students live and indecent dressings of most female students aided the rape cases.

When contacted, the state’s commissioner for Tertiary Education, Science and Technology, Alh. Aliyu Wahab Opakunle, said he paid an inspection visit to the college on March 4, 2014.

He said, “The provost of the college explained to me that the culprits are not his students. That the incidences did not happen in the school campus,” he stated.

The commissioner however said he had instructed the provost to map out strategies that would ensure that such incident do not happen in the school.

And as a preventive measure, he hinted that the state government will make more hostel facilities available to the school, so that more students would live in the campus.

“There will be increased hostel accommodation to ensure proper monitoring of students. The students should always move in groups and alert the school authority of any suspicious movement in and around the campus,” Opakunle stated.


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