Ten persons — nine men and one woman — were last week arraigned and remanded in prison custody in connection with the torture of the three women. Those arraigned on a 19-count charge bordering on conspiracy, attempted murder, sexual assault, maliciously administering of poison, obtaining money by false pretence and deprivation of liberty were the market leader, Isiaka Waidi, Buhari Yusuf, Abdullahi Haruna and Saheed Adisa. Others were Lateef Tijani, Ahmed Adisa, Azeez Akinosun, Jimoh Busari, Adekunle Adenuga and Oloruntoyin Dauda.
The Director of Public Prosecutions, Mrs. Idowu Alakija, had told the court that the defendants had tortured the trio of Nike Salami, Juliana and Joke Agomo, for allegedly stealing pepper at the market. Alakija said the women were beaten up, stripped and pepper was rubbed over their bodies by the suspects who are members of the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC).
Led in evidence by Alakija, the witness, whose testimony was translated to both English and Hausa Languages, identified some of the defendants who participated in subjecting her and members of her family to the gruesome ordeal. She said on the fateful day, the market leader (first defendant) stormed her house with some persons looking for Nike and forcibly took her to the market for allegedly stealing pepper.
Agomo said she ran in panic looking for her husband and thereafter saw him in company with two OPC members who ordered them to go to the market. "I was at home when Baba Oloja (1st defendant) came and demanded to know the whereabouts of my daughter. I told him that I did not know the whereabouts of my daughter Nike and he started searching the house. "When he sighted her at the gate, he gave me a slap. As I rushed to tell my husband, he and another man named Tinrin had dragged my daughter away.
"When we got to the market, we met Juliana and Nike naked and being tortured. The first defendant now pulled me over, stripped me naked and rubbed pepper mixed with hot gin on my face and private part. They used cane to beat me up saying that I am the mother of thieves," she said. The witness said they were subjected to hours of torture at the "shrine" and detained while the first defendant demanded the sum of N250,000 from her husband for their release.
She said her husband managed to raise N20,000 which they later accepted after much pleading. According to her, the first defendant thereafter proceeded to their residence and instructed the owner to evict them which the man did. Agomo said it was while sleeping on the street that the little baby staying with her died. She said following the development, her husband raised some money and she relocated to her home town where she was advised to forget the incident.
Agomo said it was in December 2013 that a human rights activist, Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin, traced her to the place after watching a video of the incident on the internet. According to her, the police later came and took her to the State Anti-Robbery Squad office in Lagos and took her statement for further investigations.
She therefore asked the court to do justice in the case. Earlier, Justice Ipaye granted a N250,000 bail to each of the defendants with two sureties in like sum and the case was stood down. The matter was then adjourned till July 14 for continuation of trial.
VIDEO: Gruesome: Mob Sodomizes A Woman over Alleged Stealing of "Pepper"