Afeez Ogunbowale, a suspended student of the Lagos State University (LASU) accused of raping two students of the institution, has appealed to the judge presiding over his case to discharge and acquit him.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Ogunbowale made the appeal to Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo after testifying on Wednesday before an Ikeja Special Offences Court.
“I want this honourable court to discharge and acquit me.
“Since the start of this case, the press has been on my neck, I cannot move around freely.
“I want the court to discharge and acquit me so that I can be a free man again,” Ogunbowale said.
Earlier in his evidence-in chief, the defendant denied raping or robbing the female students.
Led in evidence by defence counsel, Mr Bisi Salau, he said that on the night of April 18, 2018, which was the time the alleged offences were committed, he was in the school premises preparing for his examination which began in May 2018.
“It has always been my routine to be in school to prepare for examination, I usually arrive in school at 8pm and leave at 8am the following day.
“I usually go to school with my roommate, Mayorkun Olaiya, and my coursemate, Kola Agoro. I wrote the examination and generated the results online with my phone.
“I was arrested in September and the offence allegedly happened in April. I have never touched a gun or used a gun on anyone.
“I had paid my school fees for 300 level before I was suspended by the school and was on a grade point of second class upper, almost first class, when I was suspended,” he said.
While being cross-examined by prosecution counsel, Mrs O.A Bajulaiye-Bishi, Ogunbowale said that he was from the Faculty of Education of LASU.
He said that though he was not familiar with the complainants, they claimed to also be from the Faculty of Education.
The defendant also denied begging the two complainants for forgiveness when he was confronted by them at a police station.
The judge adjourned the case until Oct. 26 for continuation of trial.
NAN reports that during proceedings on Nov. 4, 2019, the complainants who were dressed in niqab, had narrated how they were alleged robbed by five men.
They were allegedly raped by two members of the gang – Ogunbowale and another, who is at large.
The women had told the court that they lost their virginities to the attack.
According to the prosecution, the defendant committed the offences alongside others who are at large on April 18, 2018, at the Okokomaiko area of Lagos.
“The defendant and his accomplices while armed with a gun, knife, machete and bottle, robbed the students of their phones, power bank, earpiece, gold chain and N1,200.
“The defendant and his accomplice who is at large had unlawful sexual intercourse with the complainants.
“The offences contravene Sections 260(1) and 297(2)(a) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2015,” Bajulaiye-Bishi said.