Bassey Victor, has been working as a barber in a shop along Raji Oba,
Iyana Ipaja area of Lagos.
married to a Delta State indigene, a businessman who often travelled for
days, entrusting the care of the home and children in the hands of his
travelled out of Lagos for work, she became a victim of a heinous crime
she could not have imagined would ever happen to her.
told our correspondent her story in the office of the Esther Child
Rights Foundation she had run to for help.
façade cracked, spilling out the evidence of her trauma. She cried. The
tears spilled out in torrents.
physical and psychological trauma that had been brought upon her since
that afternoon in March. Her expression alone told a million stories.
with my family that he once even approached my husband, pleading with
him to open a barber’s shop for him.
clipper to the barber to have a haircut and it seemed it did not work
well. He left it with Bassey to have it repaired. I asked for the
clipper back because it had been there for too long and he said he
needed money for the repairs. My husband gave him the money.
there to have a haircut, I would leave them with him. He would cut their
hair and send them home.
on the head of one of them and I asked if he was using our clipper but
the children said they did not know.
gave some excuses that it still did not work well after the repair. The
last time I asked, that day in March, he told me that the clipper was
his shop, allegedly told Rachael that he had something to do along his
residence and he could stop by and get her the clipper.
the entrance as he went inside. His younger brother was at home. While I
waited outside, he spoke in their dialect to his younger brother. The
boy then went out.
he was trying to locate the clipper. His younger brother lingered
around outside too. He then spoke to the boy again in their dialect. The
boy suddenly pushed me inside the house. Before I knew what was
happening, Bassey had locked the door.
no idea what he was trying to do. I asked him if he was mad. I was so
angry I was looking for any object around the room to just hit him and
me. I asked what he wanted to tell me that he could not say while I was
outside and had to tell his younger brother to push me inside.
long time that he had feelings for me. I told him he must be stupid
because he knew I was married and knew my husband. He suddenly grabbed
me and I screamed for help. He punched me till I found it difficult to
struggle with him any longer.
slammed me on the bed. When he was done raping me, he let me unlock the
door but I made sure I took the torn underwear with me.”
the apartment, she then realised why nobody came when she screamed. She
said the compound was deserted.
Rachael cried alone at home. She could not leave the house. She waited
for her husband to arrive from his journey. It was not a discussion that
could be made on the phone.
she would never be allowed to cook for her children or husband and
neither can he ever have intercourse with her.
investigating officer. Bassey was arrested and later arraigned at the
Ogba Magistrate’s Court, Lagos, for rape.
with other conditions which he could not meet for two weeks and so,
remained in the Kirikiri Prisons.
daughter came to her house to beg her one night. She later realised that
the daughter was living in Bassey’s house as his “wife.”
She then said, ‘Is it not the same way he raped this one (her daughter)
and impregnated her before her father sent her out to live with him
(Bassey)? I was shocked. I told them the matter was not in my hands
anymore,” Rachael said.
bail conditions and left the prison custody, he started to spread the
story around the neighbourhood, making people to jeer at her.
would come to my house and tell me they heard some bad things about me
and ask me what really happened. Everybody expected me to start telling
them how he raped me. I have become a symbol of shame. I cannot count
the number of times I have seen people, pointing and laughing at me on
the street when I pass by,” she said.
postponed sitting because of holiday and another sitting in which Bassey
was never brought to court from prison, Rachael alleged that the
prosecutor, Inspector Ayorinde Ezekiel, told her that the next
adjournment was Monday, August 28.
family of Bassey gave me N300,000, would I accept it? He later told me
that five per cent of whatever they pay me would be his. I told my
husband about it and he decided to call the prosecutor. I asked him to
tell Mr. Ezekiel that whatever they decide to pay, they should take it
to court,” Rachael said.
went to court and were told that the case had been heard on August 21
and had been struck out.
out what happened, Ezekiel told her it was struck out by the magistrate
because she did not appear that day.
deliberately gave them a wrong date so that he could tell the court to
strike out the case.
officer, Omoh, he told Rachael that he did not know why the case was
struck out too, saying he was not in court that day (August 21).
could strike out a case simply because the plantiff (Rachael) was not in
court on a single sitting.
after advice from family, Rachael had to go to the hospital to have
herself tested. She took the test report which showed some
about Rachael’s allegations but the prosecutor insisted that there was
no truth to all her claims.
you the wrong date? It is not possible for any prosecutor to make an
allegation to a court to strike out his own case. No prosecutor will do
matter. She cannot stand before me and say these things she has told
you. She is the one who forgot the date. I was trying to reach out to
her about the day of the sitting but there was no way.
defend the case that she was on her way but the magistrate opened the
file and said the case was too long and that if she (Rachael) was still
interested, she could go back and make further arrest and bring him
(Bassey) back to court.
came later and I told her it had been struck out. I asked why she was
not in court and she said ‘somebody’ gave her another date. I told her
that was not the end of the case. I asked her to go back to the station
and that she could still get the man rearrested. I refuse to be provoked
this morning about what she told you.”
offer he allegedly made to the woman, the prosecutor said, “You are a
man. If your wife was raped, would you collect money? They (Rachael and
her husband) were the ones who came to me and said the family of the man
were begging with N300,000. How could I have gone to meet the other
party and told them to bring money?
her money, she should take it because the case had no substance and no
evidence. You said they raped you but you have no evidence; that was why
I told her to collect the money.”
who expressed surprise that the case had been struck out, has told
Rachael to get herself a dedicated lawyer. He has also told her that
anytime she wanted Bassey rearrested, he would make the arrest.
allegations against him by Rachael. When our correspondent spoke with
him, he said he could only give a full account of what really transpired
the day Rachael followed him to get the clipper in a court and if he
the neighbourhood and people are making jest of her. But she is the one
who has been spreading falsehood about me. The same people she has been
telling the story are the ones making jest of her.”
relationship between them as being rumoured in their neighbourhood,
Bassey said none existed beyond the fact that he was Rachael’s
Rights Foundation, Mrs. Esther Ogwu, explained that there was the danger
that more victims of rape might never summon the courage to speak out
when they realise that cases of victims like Rachael never got resolved.
justice is being served in this case. We believe the prosecutor has a
lot to explain about how a case could be dismissed simply because the
plantiff who had never missed a court date did not appear.
court at the hearing which the victim and her husband did not have the
opportunity to attend because they were given a different date?
police to make a rearrest and charge the suspect to court because if
cases like this are handled this way, the outside world would continue
to view us as a country where laws don’t matter.”