Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo of an Ikeja Special Offences Court on Tuesday refused to give an order to protect a witness in a rape case involving a student of Lagos State University (LASU), Afeez Ogunbowale.
Taiwo said she would not give the order because representatives of LASU were not in court to respond to allegations by defence counsel.
The counsel, Bisi Salau, had at the resumed trial of the case, alleged that LASU authorities were intimidating student-witnesses in the case.
He also alleged that the authorities banned students from giving evidence in the rape case.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Salau also accused LASU authorities of interfering in the trial.
Ogunbowale was charged with raping two female students.
“I will like to bring to the attention of this honourable court that LASU has been intimidating our student-witnesses in this case.
“We had to issue a subpoena to summon the student-witness that testified in court today; if not, he would not have come.
“We seek the protection of the court to ensure that Agoro, our witness that came to testify today, is adequately protected in this matter,” Salau said.
NAN reports that on November 4, 2019, the complainants who are Muslim students dressed in niqab, narrated how they were allegedly robbed by five men and raped by Ogunbowale and one other person at large.
The women told the court that they lost their virginities to the attack.
On Tuesday, the first defence witness, Kolawole Agoro, who was led in evidence by Salau, provided an alibi for Ogunbowale.
Agoro, a fourth year student of LASU, said that Ogunbowale was his coursemate and that they were both studying for an examination in the school premises during the time the alleged offences were committed.
“We were in school studying and we did not leave until 6a.m. on April 18, 2018. We were in school before 8pm. on April 17, 2018, and I did not lose sight of Afeez Ogunbowale on campus.
“A roommate called Mayorkun was also present; once the school gates are closed at 10p.m., students are not allowed to go out of the school premises.
“It is not possible for him to have committed a robbery at 3a.m. because he was in the school premises.
“It would be very hard for him to go out of the school and very dangerous moving around in the area at that time,” Agoro said.
While being cross-examined by prosecution counsel, O.A. Bajulaiye-Bishi, Agoro said that he and the defendant were study partners and not roommates.
“I never met the victims, the defendant and I are always together because we offer the same course.
“There are four gates in LASU which are always shut by the security at 10p.m,.” Agoro, a student of Chemistry Education, testified.
According to the prosecution, the defendant committed the alleged offences alongside others who are now at large, on April 18, 2018, at the Okokomaiko area of Lagos.
“The defendant and four accomplices, while armed with a gun, knife, machete and bottle, robbed the students of their phones, power bank, ear piece, gold chain and N1,200.
“The defendant and one of his accomplices who is now 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.
The judge adjourned the case until September 30 for continuation of trial.