Obafemi Kolawole, a political associate to one Ganiyu Oladiran, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party in Ilesa, was on September 23 convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment with whipping.
A.B Abdulkareem, the trial judge, while finding Mr. Kolawole guilty noted that although the corroboration of a second prosecution witness was limited to assault, it does not corroborate penetration which is the vital ingredient necessary for rape.
However, the medical report tendered by one Dr. Isawumi corroborated the needed penetration necessary to convict the accused.
The judge thereafter held that Rachel Ojimi, the prosecution counsel and a Chief State Counsel at the Ministry of Justice, had been able to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt.
He, however, struck out the charge of indecent assault since it carries a lesser punishment.
According to the prosecution, Mr. Kolawole, on 15th September, 2007, raped a pregnant lady (names withheld to avoid stigmatization), a member of the then Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN (now All Progressives Congress, APC) who was pregnant at the time of the incident.
The event occurred after the 2007 gubernatorial election in Osun State.
The prosecution charged Mr. Kolawole before the State High Court on a two-count charge of rape and indecent assault contrary to Sections 358 and 360 of the Criminal Code cap 34, Vol II, Laws of Osun.
Four prosecution witnesses were called namely: the pregnant lady, Lawal Sikiru, Dr. A.I Isawumi, and Olatunji Arojo, a police Sergeant and the Investigating Police Officer; while Mr. Kolawole testified in his defence, along with Mr. Oladiran, Adediran Kehinde, Adewusi Olowolodu and Olayinka Alege.
At the trial, the lady said that on September 15, 2007, the convict and his cohorts, who are not Police Officers came to arrest her at her house at about 7:30p.m. for an unknown offence. On sighting them and knowing their antecedents in the vicinity, she took to her heels. The convict pursued, caught up with her, and beat her up.
Having overpowered her, the lady said the convict stripped her naked and raped her, and that when her cry for help became unbearable, he covered her mouth.
According to her, her neighbours in the compound had gone to the Mosque because it was the period of the Moslem fast. Thereafter she was bundled into a waiting jeep to join two other men whom she found in the same predicament as her.
The lady further testified that they were driven to Mr. Oladiran’s house and tied to a tree where the trio were mercilessly flogged; the convict later untied her and plucked out her pubic hair, put it in her mouth and swallowed with dry gin. Thereafter, he went ahead to insert a tin opener into her vagina and poured dry gin all over her body. Then he raped her again.
The second prosecution witness, Mr. Sikiru, testified that on the fateful day, he was one of the two naked men in the waiting jeep; the other was one Gbadamosi Lasun.
He stated further that he had earlier received his own share of the beatings before being bundled naked into the jeep belonging to Mr. Oladiran when the lady was brought in naked, and that the trio were driven to Mr. Oladiran’s house and tied to a tree where they were beaten and the contents of dry gin was poured all over their body.
According to him, the lady was untied by the convict who plucked out her pubic hair, inserted a tin opener into her vagina, before going ahead to pour the dry gin into her (vagina) and then sought the consent of the Chief (Mr. Oladiran) to have another round of sexual intercourse with her.
The Chief consented and she was taken to the boot of the jeep from where they heard her shouting for help.
The medical examination conducted on the lady three days upon presentation after the incident at LAUTECH by Dr. Isawumi revealed that there was penetration and that the swap taken from the defendant was full of alcohol.
It was also discovered medically, that as at the time of the incident the lady was pregnant.
Mr. Arojo, the IPO, on his own part, testified that the lady and others were brought to the State Police Command Monitoring Unit at Okefia by Mr. Oladiran who claimed that the lady, and the others, whom he got arrested were the ones who assaulted him after the April 2007 Gubernatorial Election in the State.
According to him, while receiving the statements of all concerned, and conducting investigation into the matter, it was discovered that Mr. Oladiran’s captives, that is, the lady and the others, were indeed the victims, and the supposed complainants and cohorts were the accused persons and were consequently charged to court.
Mr. Kolawole (the convict) in his own defence, denied the allegations made against him. He admitted going to the lady’s house on the fateful day and arresting her, but denied stripping her naked; rather, he said he handed her over to his colleagues, who drove her and other captives to Chief’s house, where they were later handed over to the police. His other witnesses also admitted that the lady and others were driven to the Chief’s house.
Mr. Oladiran, while testifying for the defence, claimed his co-accused at the Magistrate Court who arrested the defendant and the others were his sympathizers.