A student in Lagos with special needs (name withheld), on Wednesday 15th January, wept and swooned in court on glimpse of a school proprietor, who allegedly despoiled her six years ago.
The drama crystallised at an Ikeja Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Court, when the defendant, Onyiriuka, stood in the witness box.
The student, who has a speech impairment and learning difficulty, collapsed in the witness box upon seeing the 45-year-old Onyiriuka.
She said repeatedly that she did not want to see the suspect’s face.
Justice Abiola Soladoye had to tell the student to calm down.
The judge told the student that she had the option of coming to court on another date to give evidence.
“You can also testify as we go on, I can give you a break if you need one.
“Do not be afraid; he is not coming for you; you are protected by God and the court,” the judge said.
Soladoye stood down the trial to enable the student to calm down to give evidence.
After an hour, the case was announced in court and the student, after being counselled by a staff of the Lagos State Ministry of Justice, came back into the courtroom to testify.
Led in evidence by the state counsel, Mrs Arinola Momoh-Ayokanbi, the student, who was only 13 years old when she was allegedly raped, narrated how Onyiriuka, also a pastor, allegedly defiled her.
“I know him; his name is Pastor Timothy; he slept with me. He took me to his house three times, opened his trouser, opened his pants and put his penis in my vagina.
“He came to my mummy’s house, he sat on a chair, held a cane and told me not to tell anyone.
“He said if I tell anyone, he would beat me and kill me. He slept with me once in my mummy’s house.
“He is our pastor and the owner of the school,” she said.
During cross-examination by defence counsel, Mr A. C Abarah, the student said that some of the acts of sacrilege took place in the school proprietor’s apartment, which was downstairs of a storey building.
She said Onyiriuka was caught in the act by her mother when he defiled her in her bedroom.
“When my mother entered my room, I was naked. When she saw Pastor Timothy, she was shaking,” the witness said.
She said her mother reported the defendant to the police and she was taken to a hospital for medical examination.
Following the cross-examination, the prosecution announced that it was closing its case against Onyiriuka.
Justice Abiola Soladoye adjourned the case until February 24 for defence.
Onyiriuka is a resident of NIdowu Bale St., Oke-Ira, Kekere, Ajah, Lagos, and the proprietor of a school located at Power Line, Oke-Ira, Kekere, Ajah, Lagos.
He is facing a charge of defilement contrary to Section 137 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State
The prosecution alleged that the school proprietor, who is remanded, defiled the student on October 21, 2013 when she was 13 years old.
Section 137 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011, prescribes life imprisonment for anyone found guilty of defilement of a child.