I didn’t know she was underage, ex-UNILAG lecturer tells court
Dr Afeez Baruwa, an ex-lecturer in the University of Lagos accused of raping a 17-year-old admission seeker (name withheld) has said that he had consensual sexual intercourse with the teenager.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Baruwa made the claim on Friday while testifying for five hours before an Ikeja High Court.
Led in evidence by his counsel, Mr Olanrewaju Ajanaku, Baruwa described himself as a community leader at Abesan, Lagos, and an academic who worked as a project supervisor at the Distant Learning Institution (DLI) of the university from 2010 to 2015.
He said that the father of the complainant, also a community leader at Abesan Low Cost Housing Estate, where they both lived, was known to him and had approached him to aid his daughter to gain admission into the institution.
Baruwa said that in the early hours of July 23, 2015, the man dropped off the teenager at his home and they both left for university for him to resume work and also to help her with admission.
He said: “We arrived Unilag at 6.05a.m., and we went down to my friend’s office where I use as my study room as well as supervision contact.
”As we were going upstairs, we saw about seven Muslims observing their normal early morning prayer.
“In the office, we were talking generally; then I offered her tea or coffee, she settled for coffee and she made it for herself. All this while, the door of the office was open and there was no way I could put on the air conditioner.
“She told me that as a result of the coffee, she was feeling hot and that I would need to shut the door. I responded that it was too early in the morning (before 7a.m.) for us to be alone.
“She told me to lock the door that after all, she was mature enough, and I did. After that, she picked up a textbook to read. She sat on a single chair while I sat on a three-seat chair.”
The former lecturer said he fell asleep but was woken up after about 20 minutes by the complainant who, he claimed, was fondling him.
“Her hands were all over me and I woke up and I looked at her. By then, she had already removed the buttons of her blouse and I did suck her breasts.
“She said she needed to pull her white shirt so that it will not be stained and she had her jeans trousers on. We were romancing each other in that position, my lord.
“She told me that she wanted me to have sex with her and I replied that there was no way I could practise unsafe sex with her; this was some minutes past 7a.m. .
“She sucked my penis and I thereafter released, and around that time, one of my students came in, but we had dressed up,” Baruwa said.
He said after the sexual contact, he, the complainant and the student went to the Commercial Center in the institution to make enquiries about her eligibility to study mass communication with her UTME score of 211.
According to him, they got information that the score did not qualify her to write post UTME, and he advised her to apply to study English with the score.
He said after they left the Commercial Center, the teenager went to see some friends and came to his office later to say farewell to him and thank him for his efforts in helping her to seek admission.
Baruwa said: “She offered to give me a hug as a sign of appreciation and I obliged her, my lord. When we hugged, she moved her hands toward my penis. This was a few minutes after 10a.m.
“There were a lot of students outside the office, they sat around the stairs waiting to go in for the next batch of lectures. I told her to be conscious of the students that were outside.
“She threatened to shout and create a scene if I refuse to have sex with her and I told her like I did early in the morning that there was no way that I could have unsafe sex with her and she told me to look for a condom.
“My lord, I was scared because I noticed the desperation in her. I left her in the office and went downstairs to look for a condom. When I returned, I locked the door and turned the other way to wear the condom.
“When I turned back to meet her, she had already removed her jean trousers; that was how we had sex. About 10 to 15 minutes later, she told me that she was okay.
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“I teased her that she was self-centred because I was yet to release. I put back my clothes and went to the toilet to clean myself. We stayed in the office for another 20 minutes before I saw her off to the bus stop.”
Baruwa denied raping the complainant and said he had known her before she was introduced to him by her father.
According to him, he took her on three or four occasions to the university and he thought she was aged 23 years or 24 years, because she was plump, until she allegedly told him she was approaching her 19th birthday.
Baruwa told the court that a week after the sexual encounters, he received a text message from the complainant’s father threatening to deal with him for what he did to his daughter.
He said that on Aug. 3, 2015, he was arrested by the police who were accompanied by the complainant and her father.
“It baffles me my lord, I got to realise that it was a complete set up because I contested against her father for the Chairmanship of Abesan Community Development Association, which I won.
“I believe it is a way of getting at me. The complainant was never drugged by me, the coffee she took she prepared by herself.
“We spent over five hours together and we were both active. There were no symptoms of being drugged, my lord. As far as I am concerned, I am innocent of the allegation against me,” he said.
While cross-examining the defendant, Mr Y. G. Oshoala, a Deputy Director in the state Directorate of Public Prosecution, disputed Baruwa’s claim of innocence.
“Did you inform her father that you would be having sexual intercourse with her? Do you know a child below 18 years is incapable of giving consent to sex?
“If the sex was consensual, why does the medical report state that there was severe injury to her private part? Did her father give her to you as a wife? What will be your reaction if your personal office is used for sexual intercourse?
“As a muslim, is it good conduct to have sexual intercourse with someone you are not married to? Why did you lie to the complainant’s father that you worked in Unilag and not DLI? Was it to prey on his daughter?” Oshoala queried.
Oshoala submitted that a lot of Baruwa’s claims were not reflected in his statements to the police.
Responding, Baruwa said: “I am not a permanent staff of Unilag, I do not work where they process admission, but I can make enquiries and assist.
“I was not aware that she was not yet 18 years old. I would not be happy if my personal office was used for sexual intercourse, I didn’t expect us to have sex on that day.
“I never told her father that she accompanied me to Unilag before; no religion permits having sex with someone other than your wife. I have no personal office in Unilag.
“I never deceived people about the employment status at Unilag.”
Following Baruwa’s cross-examination, Ajanaku informed the court that the former lecturer would be the sole defence witness, adding that the defence would consequently close its case.
Justice Josephine Oyefeso adjourned the case until Oct. 10, for adoption of final written addresses.
NAN reports that the prosecution alleges that the former lecturer raped the teenager at 9.25a.m. on July 23, 2015, in Room 8, at the Faculty of Business Administration Annex building of the University of Lagos.
The alleged rape occurred when she was in his office to make arrangements for her admission into the university.
Following the rape allegation, the university put up a disclaimer in respect of Baruwa.
Rape violates Section 258 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011, and can be punished with up to life imprisonment.