Got this sad report from The Nation,just for refusing to date a fellow youth corps member, Temitope
Adedewe’s whole life ambition seems to have run into a cul-de-sac.
First, she was battered, so much so that she lost two teeth and landed in a hospital; then her NYSC certificate was with-held, the effect of which has caused her to miss an opportunity to sit for a scholarship award examination by her Ife National Descendants Association – something which would have opened the gates for her to go further her studies in her choice university in the United Kingdom.
Temitope also faces the bleak prospect of not being able to apply for her master’s degree in Nigeria or even get a meaningful job worth her qualification.
Adewewe’s nightmare began when in June of 2015; a male corps member of the same batch (Batch A 2015/2016), Oluwabusiyi Adeola Bolarinde started making advances at her. She had known Bolarinde from their undergraduate days at the History Department of Obafemi Awolowo University, but said she always stayed away from him “because he was the aggressive type.”
“The first time I spoke to him was when we were in camp.” Adewewe said. Both however got posted to the same local government and place of primary assignment, giving Bolarinde the opportunity to start pressing her for a relationship.
“When we got posted to the same school and had to stay in the same lodge, the boy started asking me out. He said he had always liked me even while we were in school but didn’t have the courage to approach me because of my countenance. I told him there and then that I was not interested but he persisted and I in turn insisted.”Bolarinde’s persistence soon took a nasty turn, when in December that year, he resorted to insulting Adewewe. With every attempt to woo her failing, he suddenly decided to make her life miserable. “He became very hostile and started insulting me at any given opportunity. Sometimes, I returned the insults and at other times, I just ignored him. This continued until January when things took a worse dimension.
It is one thing to rain insults on someone and a completely different thing to get physically abusive. Adewewe was thus totally unprepared for what soon followed.
“On the 23rd of January at the Corpers’ Lodge of Mary Slessor Technical Secondary School where we both served, Bolarinde suddenly went violent and beat me up. We had just returned from the weekly Community development Service (CDS) three days earlier on the 20th; I wanted to recharge my phone line, but the network told me I had to register my line because my sim had been blocked. Still a stranger in the environment, I asked someone where I could do the registration; the person told me he knew someone who knew the place, not knowing that the person he had in mind was Bolarinde. Of course I refused to go with him, but this person offered to go with us if that would make me feel comfortable. So I agreed and we went.Bolarinde’s story
“There, they said I had to pay N600 for the registration, but I told the officer I didn’t have that amount of money on me. Just then, Bolarinde said to the man, “Do it for her, I’ll pay, she’s my girlfriend.”
I immediately refuted the statement, which made the man to start making jest of him that his girlfriend was denying him. He insisted that I was his girlfriend, to which I said ‘Who is your girlfriend? If it’s a joke, stop it.’ I paid the man N200 and left.
“That was on Thursday. On Saturday, I was sitting in the lodge. By this time, the Batch B corps members had joined us in the house. There were like eight guys. Normally around 5:00 pm, the guys would go out and fetch water. The house was in a very thick bush, so we used to lock our doors early. On this particular evening, we’d already locked the door. I was in the sitting room when I heard a knock on the door, I was scared, I asked who was at the door and the person just responded, “Me.” I insisted the person mentioned his name before I opened the door, which he (Bolarinde) finally did.
“When I opened the door, he complained that he had been standing at the door all day. He then told me that for all the gragra (resistance) I’d been doing, I only had a day left for him to show me ‘pepper.’ I ignored his threat and told him that if he had gone to fetch water like his male colleagues, he wouldn’t be standing there telling me rubbish. This was around 5pm. Around 7pm, he started sending me threat messages. One of them read, “Let this be the first and last time I’ll knock and you won’t open the door.”
“I asked who was sending me messages because I didn’t have his number. He then asked me to check his profile picture. When I checked and saw he was the one, I told him never to send me messages again. He started insulting me and I returned the insults. Later I came out of the room to charge my phone. By this time, people had already returned to the lodge and they were discussing in the sitting area. He came in and started cussing in Yoruba, and it was just the two of us that understood what he was saying. The other guy that understood Yoruba was downstairs. Part of what he said was, “Some people think they are fine; that’s why everybody is asking them out and they’re forming.”
“But I was in no mood to stomach or banter insults, so I left the sitting room and went into my room. The next thing I heard was a kick at the door and Bolarinde came into the room and started beating me with his belt. I screamed and people rushed into the room and pulled him away from me. But before then, blood had already started oozing out of my face and body because it was the iron end of the belt that he used on me. Someone asked me to go and wash off the blood on my face, but as I was going to the bathroom, he came by and told me he wasn’t done with me yet.
“For want of something to say, I said ‘So you dare come to my room to beat me with a belt?’But the next thing I saw was a blow to my mouth. For the second time, he started beating me again. There was a hammer on the floor in his room, in a twinkle, he picked it up with his leg and banged it on my mouth. That’s how I lost my teeth. Everything happened so fast. This was around 11pm. It was already too late for me to go to the hospital. In fact, it was later I noticed the bite on my face. I didn’t and still can’t recall the exact time he bit me.”
When The Nation called Bolarinde for his side of the story, his initial response was somehow aloof. “The Nation newspaper? Wow! So, you want to publicise my story, right? Well, when I see official notice to that effect, I will respond sha.”Wasn’t Adewewe aware of the ‘code of conduct’?
This reporter tried to underscore the importance of him giving his side of the story to make for a balanced report. Bolarinde promised to call back because according to him, he was “somehow busy” at the moment and couldn’t speak.
After waiting for his call to no avail, this reporter placed another call to him, taking more pain to explain why it was in his best interest to give his account of the story, since the other side was going to be published anyway.
Bolarinde however maintained his position, citing the NYSC code of conduct, which he said does not allow corpers to give audience to the press. He said “I am still a corper because my certificate is still being withheld by the NYSC. I’m also aware that some media houses went to the headquarters to confirm issues there… If I deem it fit to express myself, I probably will.”
Almost inadvertently admitting that a fracas indeed took place, Bolarinde said, “The thing is just that something happened, yes. The person involved went to report to the authority. Now that… in short, I have nothing to say for now…. You have tried ma, at least I don’t know you and you don’t know me, and you have called on two occasions.”
Adewewe said she had gone to a nearby hospital the following morning since the incident took place the previous night when it was too late to visit any hospital.The National Youth Service Corps headquarters Abuja is yet to officially respond few days after femalecorps member Temitope Adedewe, was battered and her two teeth removed with a hammer by a male corps member.
On reaching the hospital, she recounted, “The nurse asked what happened to me. I explained. She asked me three questions: Are you dating him? Are you sleeping with him? Did you collect money from him? I said no and she insisted I go and get a police report before they begin any treatment, saying that this one has gone beyond normal fighting and that the boy may be in a cult, to have beaten me to the point of using a hammer to remove my teeth and giving me a very big bite on my face. That was how I went to the police station at Arochukwu. Besides, this incident happened in our place of primary assignment and not at the NYSC camp in Umuahia.”
At the station, Adewewe said the sergeant who took her statement refused to believe her story, insisting that she had to have been in a serious fight to have sustained such kind of injury. To confirm her story, he followed her to the lodge and picked up three corpers who witnessed the incident. At the station, three of them gave the same account, which made him arrest and put Bolarinde in a cell until they were able to reach Mr Ikeagu Valentine, the Local Government Inspector or LI.
The sergeant who handled the case, in a phone chat with The Nation said they released the corper to the LI immediately, after he pleaded and promised to resolve the matter amicably as a body and give the police a feedback. He added that he has been transferred but that he handed the file to another officer as is expected
“Since then, we have not heard anything from them.” He said. “We also learnt that both of them were queried. I really don’t know much about the case again, because we were expecting them to get back to us.
“We had wanted to charge the boy to court, but the plea of the Local Government Inspector and the decision of the state secretariat to look into the matter made us hands off.
Adewewe corroborated the sergeant’s story: “When the LI came around, the DPO told him that he was going to charge the boy to court. The LI then told him that it’s an NYSC matter and that it would be better settled by the NYSC. However DPO told him then that it wasn’t just an NYSC matter anymore, since it happened in Arochukwu and the victim (I) could have died in the process with NYSC being far away in Umuahia. He said since the incident happened in his jurisdiction, it behoved him to do something about it. At this point, the L I begged him not to take the case to court, and that they should allow him present it first to the NYSC, and let them find a way of resolving it amicably. The DPO then said the boy should bear the medical bills before being released to the LI that Monday.”
Thereafter, Adewewe said she wrote her statement and was given a police report to go to the hospital for treatment. She however recalled that on her way to the hospital, “LI called me and said he was giving us query, which we should both respond to, and that if he sent it to the Zonal Inspector (ZI), they would seize the boy’s certificate and not allow him to pass out with us. He said I should allow him comment that we have settled the matter to a good extent and that he had agreed to pay. He implored me not to allow the matter get to the NYSC, that it should just end with the police alone.
I then said to him, “Sir, you have not even allowed me to get to the hospital to know how much the treatment will cost and you’re already trying to close the case?”
I couldn’t understand it. But he eventually sent the file to the NYSC state secretariat and commented that everything had been settled.”
At the hospital, she said an initial cost of N9,500 was incurred while the doctor told her she would have to return after her wound had healed. He said this was so because she would need to have an implant to replace the lost teeth. Adewewe said the total amount she spent was N18,000, covering the hospital bill and transport fare for herself and another corper the LI assigned to follow her, so she would not inflate the medical bills. She said this money was refunded to her.
Something to hide?
Fast forward to her next appointment with the doctor, she was told that the implant would cost N300,000 for the two teeth she lost. She reported to the officer handling the case, who requested for the presence of both their parents. At this point, the LI again pleaded that calling for their parents would be taking the matter too far. “LI told the officer to close the case. But the officer said he couldn’t do that unless he was providing a solution, so that if the case resurfaces in the future, they can be able to say this is what they did in their division, not that they would just close it and it would be like they’d collected bribe.
“Later the officer asked me what the NYSC had done about the case and I told him I had yet to hear from them; and that in fact, the L I had practically closed the case from the very first day. The officer now asked me to take it to the ZI myself, that for the LI to want to bury the case; he must have something to hide. I did as he told me. On reporting to the ZI, he told me that the L I never mentioned that a weapon was involved. He just told him that two people fought, one of them had her teeth removed and that they had resolved the matter.”
But for the police officer’s advice to call the Zonal Inspector’s attention to the matter and her heeding it, the case was as good as closed. Adewewe said when the ZI found out that it was a hammer that was used to remove her teeth; he felt a need to reopen the case. “We were invited to Umuahia to state our sides of the story and it was as if the boy had been trained to twist the whole thing. He lied to the point of saying I was the one who brought a hammer to his room, that my teeth was already paining me, and that he even had someone who could witness to his claims. After he spoke, I was asked to speak, and I did. The LI, whom they said brought a witness, was also seated. I was so surprised.
“According to those who constituted the panel, Bolarinde’s witness told them that we had been dating and that it was when we got here that we started fighting. Wondering why I hadn’t been told to bring my own witness, I asked if I could also bring one witness, since I had three witnesses, who had testified from the beginning
To my surprise, Mrs Akuma, one of the NYSC personnel in the state started raising her voice and threatening, “What is it? Do you want them to kill him? Where do you expect him to see N300,000? If it was your husband that did this will you be requesting for money?”
“She also accused me of taking the matter to the ZI even when the LI was trying to settle it quietly. She said what has happened has happened, and if I do not allow the matter to die down now, she would show me that she’s a woman like me and that I would have her to contend with.
“Around March, we were again invited to Umuahia, where Mrs Akuma set up a panel and asked us to state our stories again. She then passed judgement that I committed a breech in communication by reporting to the police. Again, I told her I had to because the nurse at the hospital insisted I brought a police report before I could be treated. She said, for that, both of us would face the same punishment. Rudely shocked, I said, “Ma, I’m the one who lost her teeth in this matter, why would you serve me the same punishment as the one who removed my teeth?
“Mrs Akuma then shared the hospital bill equally between the two of us. She also said we’d both serve extra 21 days, me for breech in communication and the boy for fighting.
Reacting to the judgment, the sergeant (who handled the case) now turned inspector said, “I don’t know why the state NYSC responded in that manner. Is it a crime for someone who committed an offense to be reported to the police? Do NYSC laws now supersede the laws of the federation?
“Fast forward to April 14th when certificates were issued, I was not given mine. When I asked why, the LI told me to go to the secretariat. At the secretariat Bolarinde and I were asked to see the state coordinator, Mrs Francesca Ifon, who said she didn’t know about the case earlier, and that if we decided to settle there and then, she would release our certificates to us. She asked us to go and write an undertaking that we would resolve the matter without going to court, and return for our certificates. But by the time we returned to her office, she had left.
“We saw Mrs Akuma who said she had already transferred the case to Abuja; that the judgment she gave the first time was a mistake. She said she had to wait for a feedback from Abuja. It was as if she was trying to make good her threat to “show me that she is a woman and that I would have her to contend with.”
Adewewe lamented that Mrs Akuma dismissed her despite telling her she needed the certificate to sit for an examination that would qualify her for a scholarship to study for her masters abroad. “She said she would get back to us whenever Abuja was ready to release the certificates.
“After a while, I called her and she told me not to disturb her again until she gets a feedback from Abuja. I didn’t call her again, only for me to go to Ibadan last June and meet a colleague who told me that Bolarinde has been given his certificate. A batch B corps member also called to ask me if I’m aware that Bolarinde has started doing his masters at the University of Ibadan. I didn’t believe him initially until I called my own classmate that’s also in Ibadan; he confirmed that it’s true and that he even helped Bolarinde with an assignment recently.
“I also called the LI that same June to ask how far with the release of the certificate and guess what he told me. He said “I thought they’ve given you people a photocopy of your certificates.”
“Now how can you seize our certificates and still give out the photocopy? Probably realising he had goofed; he then said he was mistaken. That’s how I put two and two together to know that something was indeed amiss.”
Also her NYSC discharge certificate, which was withheld for purportedly breaching the NYSC code of conduct and reporting the matter to the police in Arochukwu, Abia State, where the incident happened, is yet to be issued to her. This is despite a strong allegation that her assailant, Oluwabusiyi Adeola Bolarinde is already studying for his master’s degree at the University of Ibadan, which could not have been possible if he didn’t produce his NYSC discharge certificate.
The corps’ Director of Public Relations, Mrs. Abosede Aderibigbe was not available for comments on the issue. Efforts to reach her on phone were also abortive, as her phones were switched off and she did not respond to text messages.
A source at the Welfare Department in Abuja, who spoke to The Nation on condition of anonymity, however, admitted that they are aware of the case and have started looking into it.
He said steps are being taken to resolve the issue, and that a concrete decision is expected to be reached on the matter next week.