A 23-year-old female student of the Department of Mass Communication of Ibarapa Polytechnic, Eruwa in Oyo State, has alleged that a soldier (name withheld) attached to a special security outfit in the state, ‘Operation Burst’ raped her three times in the night of Friday, August 29, this year, under a Dongoyaro tree. The lady, a National Diploma (ND) II student (name withheld), said the soldier allegedly threatened to kill her with a two-edged knife if she did not cooperate. This, according to her, took place in the premises of the Ibarapa zonal office of the Operation Burst at Secretariat in Eruwa.
The lady sobbed as she narrated her ordeals to newsmen in Ibadan yesterday. She also appealed to well-meaning Nigerians, including President Goodluck Jonathan and his wife, Dame Patience to intervene for her to get justice on the alleged rape.
President of the Students’ Union Government (SUG), Ibarapa Polytechnic, Atilola Olatunji; a legal practitioner, Mr. Ola Adeosun, and the lady’s guardian, Oludare Ogunlana, had earlier addressed a press conference on the incident.
The lady explained that she was arrested on an allegation of being a cultist by the soldier at about 10:30p.m on the fateful day after she saw a friend of hers off in Oke-Ola area of Eruwa, adding that the soldier was not satisfied that she was not a cultist and took her to the zonal office at Secretariat. She alleged that she saw other soldiers and security agents at the zonal office premises, torturing some other people, including students.
With tears in her eyes, she said: “At about 10.30p.m on Friday, August 29, 2014, while returning to my apartment, having escorted a friend out, a soldier stopped me and asked where I was going to at that period of time. I told him I was going to my apartment, more so that there was no curfew in Eruwa on that day.
“He said I must be a cultist to be moving about around that time, but I denied it. He ordered me to climb his motorcycle, but I pleaded with him that he should let me go. He removed a knife and said he would stab me. So scared, I climbed the Okada and he took me to their Operation Burst office.
“On the way, I saw a woman whom I called for assistance. The woman pleaded with the soldier but he refused. He took me to the office. On getting there, I heard screams of some people being tortured in the building.
“The soldier forcibly led me to a dark area under a dongoyaro tree and ordered me to remove my dresses for him to see the cultist tattoos on my body. I told him I have no tattoos on my body and that he should let me go. He then removed the knife again and said he would slaughter me like a ram and that I would be buried like many other girls, who had failed to cooperate in the past, and nobody would trace my death to him.
“I later agreed by removing all my clothes. He ordered me to lie down under the tree and he had sex with me three times, while I was crying. Around 3.30a.m, I was catching cold and he went into the office and brought a bottle of beer. He gave it to me to hold for him. Later, he said he was going to bring a blanket for me to cover my body. I waited for about 30 minutes, but when he did not return, I dressed up and ran away from the place.”
The student, as gathered, reported the incident to her parents that also reported the case to their lawyer. Thereafter, a complaint was lodged at the police station in Eruwa. The police reportedly contacted the relevant military authorities and the purported victim was taken to the Operation Burst office, where identification parade was conducted.
The lady was said to have identified the suspected soldier, simply identified as Ignatius, who allegedly admitted raping the girl. It was also gathered that the lady was taken to a private hospital for appropriate test.
A legal practitioner, Mr. Ola Adeosun, said the lady was instructed by the hospital to buy hand gloves before a doctor attended to her. In conducting the test, Adeosun said the doctor “instructed the victim to lie down, and thereafter used his GSM phone’s torchlight to look into her vagina and thereafter wrote his report where he stated that although he did not see semen/sperm therein, the victim’s vagina had been tampered with.
“On being probed on the reason the doctor did not check inside the vagina for semen, we were embarrassed when the doctor informed our client that the hospital does not have the facilities to carry out such ‘an elementary’ test.”
The lawyer said the first statement in which the soldier allegedly admitted that he had carnal knowledge of the lady had been substituted with assault against the girl.
Shockingly, the Oyo State Government has denied the allegation of rape against the soldier. A statement issued on September 7, 2014, by the Special Adviser on Media to Governor Abiola Ajimobi, Dr. Festus Adedayo, said: “The Oyo State anti-crime outfit nicknamed Operation Burst, has said it had investigated a case of rape levelled against one of its operatives by a student of the Eruwa Polytechnic, Ibadan and found it to be baseless.
“The outfit, however, said the Nigerian Army had recommended the officer involved for disciplinary measures for abandoning his duty post.
“The crime-fighting outfit made this known in a release issued by the outfit’s Second-in-Command, CSP Elijah Bawa, at the weekend. According to the Operation Burst, immediately the outfit was intimated with the allegation of rape against the said student, he dispatched an investigation team to Eruwa.
“He said the team met with the Divisional Police Officer for the Eruwa Division, DSP Kayode Adigun, who disclosed that the 23-year-old Mass Communication student of the school lodged a complaint with the command that she had been raped by the soldier who was also an operative of the anti-crime outfit.
“Upon being told that she had not destroyed what could amount to an evidence if the case was true, said the outfit’s second-in-command, the divional police officer (DPO) took the lady complainant to the Eruwa General Hospital for medical examination, the result of which proved negative.
“When interrogated about the process of the rape, said the Operation Burst, the allegedly raped lady said she had left her hostel and was seeing her friend off at about 2230 hrs and when she was returning, she was accosted by the Operation Burst operative who accused her of being a cultist.”