Scandal rocks SARS Department in Abeokuta, officer accused of raping suspect’s wife
Wife of a suspect being investigated by SARS operatives alleged that one of of the officers took advantage of the investigation to rape her twice in her home at gunpoint.
Alleged sex scandal rocks Police unit in Ogun State. A special police outfit, the Zonal Intervention Squad (ZIS), an arm of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) based in Abeokuta, Ogun State, is enmeshed in controversy of Sexual Assault.
According to THE NATION, a sergeant attached to the squad of special police outfit is fingered in the rape of the wife of a suspect the squad was investigating for alleged inter-state robbery and fraudulent practices.
The Police Sergeant (names withheld), a special detective in charge of tracking criminals and their accomplices, is accused by the suspect’s wife, Oluwakemi (surname withheld), of raping her twice at gunpoint in her home in Abeokuta.
The woman, who said she was compelled to flee the country shortly after the police sergeant allegedly raped her the second time, said she decided to open up, following alleged threats by the errant policeman to deal with her if she spills the bean on their encounters.
The 39-year-old woman said she was yet to overcome the trauma she went through at the hands of the Police Sergeant.
Reliving her ordeal in a conversation with our correspondent, Oluwakemi, the victim of the alleged rape, opted to speak in Yoruba “so that my explanation will be clear to you.”
She said: “In 2015, I started working (as sales supervisor) at a lounge inside the MKO Abiola Stadium in Abeokuta. By
early 2016, I started receiving calls from a stranger, and I told my husband about it.
“I told my husband that the caller identified himself to me and said that he wanted to find out some things about him (husband). My husband does not live with me because he has other wives, but he visits regularly. My husband said I should ask him to come to my place of work if he needed any information. The policeman called me again and I told him to come over to where I was working if he had anything to ask me about my husband.
“When he showed up, he identified himself as an operative of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) attached to ZIS. He started saying that he would have disgraced and brutalised me if I was not a woman. He said he had been trailing one Ibrahim and found my GSM number on his mobile telephone.
“I responded by telling him that the person he had just mentioned is my husband. Then he said my husband was a robber and he was trying to track him. I told him that my husband is not a robber but a printer and businessman whose printing press is located in Ago Iwoye area of Ogun State, where he also has another wife that operates a big shop. He said he would need my cooperation to get to my husband, but I told him that my husband was not a criminal and that he should not be disturbing me.
”The people around us did not know what was going on because the conversation was just between us. He tried to intimidate me by saying that I was once arrested when my husband was being trailed by the police. But I told him that the case he was talking about was about a disagreement my husband had with his business partners over money and that I was eventually released. After that, he left.”
Oluwakemi said he thought the matter had ended only to realise later that she was gravely mistaken, as the Police Sergeant, according to her, showed up again a few weeks later. This time, however, he was not there to ask Oluwakemi about her husband’s whereabouts. He and some friends he came with, she alleged, simply enjoyed themselves at the lounge and asked her to pick the bill.
She said: “He returned a few weeks later with some of his friends and bought a lot of drinks and refreshments without paying a dime. He simply dropped the bill on me. I could not refuse it because he is a policeman.
“A few months later, I left the employ of the lounge to concentrate on my small business at Ijemo in Abeokuta. I guess he went to my former place of work but he was told that I had resigned. He called me on my mobile phone and accused me of running away, saying that he had information on my shop and residence.
“I was shocked the day he showed up at my shop. He took some drinks and other provisions without paying a dime. He also visited my shop at other times, taking items away without paying a dime. I could not prevent him from taking the items away because I was hapless and there was no one I could call to fight for me since he is a policeman.’’
Oluwakemi alleged that her ordeal at the hand of the Police Sergeant assumed a different dimension when he allegedly visited her residence when her children had gone to school and other neighbours had gone out, and raped her at gunpoint.
She said: ”I was at home in my residence at Oke Ejigbo area of Abeokuta in October 2017 when I was told that someone was looking for me. My children had just left for school and I was not expecting any visitor. I was shocked when I opened the door to our apartment only to find the policeman standing at my door.
“I asked him why he had to trail me to my residence when I was not a criminal. I also reminded him that I had told him where my husband lived. He asked me to cooperate with him to arrest my husband, promising to share the money he would extort from him with me.
”I told him that if my husband was that rich, there would have been no need for me to work as hard as I was doing or obtain a loan from a micro-credit organisation called LAPO for my business. He then explained that his team had located my husband’s printing press and residence in Ago Iwoye but had not been able to apprehend him. He said the only thing that could make him leave me and my husband alone was for him to sleep with me, but I declined.
“I could not accede to his demand for sex because I am a decent and hardworking housewife. I told him that since he had found my husband’s business address and residence, he did not need to come to me again, not to talk of demanding an affair with me. But he pulled up his shirt to show me his pistol and forcibly slept with me.
“I told my husband about what the policeman had done to me and he was very angry. In early February 2018, he again visited my residence. He came in an ash coloured Camry car at about 11 am and raped me at gunpoint. I could not raise the alarm because he was usually armed with a pistol.”
Realising that she was allegedly being turned into a sex machine by the policeman, Oluwakemi said she was left with no choice but to move out of the house a few days after she was allegedly raped the second time.
”He raped me because he was armed and the house I lived in then was usually deserted in the morning. The only person around was our landlady, who is physically challenged. It was for this reason that I moved out of the building a few days later before I left for Saudi Arabia in June, 2018, courtesy of my husband.
”I came to Saudi Arabia on June 8, 2018 and he arrested my husband a few days later and started threatening me with messages on IMO (a phone application), warning that I risked arrest if I ventured to return to the country. I had to ask my boss in Saudi Arabia to get me a new mobile phone in order to prevent him from sending me further threats.
”My husband was hard up at the time he was being hunted by the police simply because he stood surety for someone that later jumped bail. He actually stood surety for one of his friends, who was remanded in prison pending the perfection of his bail. It was from there that the police started their problem with him, saying that he is a robber.
“My husband is not a robber. He has receipts for all the items in his possession, including his vehicles. He would buy cars, use and resell them, and none of those who bought cars from him has ever complained that he sold stolen cars to them or that someone complained to the police that my husband stole their car.”
Our correspondent contacted the spokesperson of Zone 2 Police Headquarters, Ms Dolapo Badmus, but she said she was unaware of a petition Oluwakemi’s husband claimed to have submitte
d to the zonal police headquarters over the matter and sundry allegations. On her request, a detailed enquiry was forwarded to her whatsApp platform and short message service, but she has since not reverted to our correspondent, and did not also answer the calls our correspondent placed to her mobile phone penultimate Saturday.
Allegations baseless, contrived, says Police Sergeant
Our correspondent sought the reaction of the Police Sergeant at the centre of the controversy, but he denied the rape allegation, saying that it was contrived by the woman and her husband in their bid to escape justice.
He said: ”Actually, I should not be the one to respond (to the allegations). A petition had been submitted at the Force Headquarters regarding this matter, and it is currently being investigated. Even our Zonal Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Ms Badmus, is in the know of the case and she has reverted to your office on this matter.”
Told by our correspondent that Ms Badmus was yet to respond to our enquiries on the matter, the Police Sergeant asked: ”Did the woman (Oluwakemi) speak with you directly?”
“Yes, she spoke to me directly from her base in Saudi Arabia,” said our correspondent.
Then the Police Sergeant said: ”The woman in question (Oluwakemi) was out of the country before her husband was arrested. What really happened was that we had been looking for a man called Dele, who specialised in using master keys to steal cars from where they were parked.
“Along the line, we arrested one Godwin in Ughelli, Delta State, during which more than 30 vehicles were recovered in the operation. It was discovered that some of the vehicles were allegedly given to Ibrahim (Oluwakemi’s husband).
“But we could not arrest him, so we tracked his (mobile) phone and got his wife’s number, through which we tried to get her husband. That was why I trailed her to where she was working.
“She admitted that Ibrahim was her husband but that they were no longer together because he had abandoned her. Even the woman admitted that she was arrested and detained at the state police headquarters in Eleweran, Abeokuta, and subsequently charged to a court when her husband was accused of hijacking a truck.
“She also said that she was prosecuted because her husband transferred part of the proceeds of the loot to her bank account. Hence, she agreed to cooperate with us because she said that she didn’t want to suffer again for a crime she didn’t commit. So, I said if she wanted us to help her, she should also help us, and we started calling her.
“I remember that there was one particular Sunday when she said Ibrahim would be in Ijebu, and we even trailed their first daughter to the house she claimed to be her husband’s residence. But along the line, I guess they reconciled and she stopped cooperating with us.
“When I could not reach the woman any longer, we started using our informant in Ijebu to get him(her husband). Then her husband called me after we arrested his second wife and one of his aides who was working with him to operate a wonder bank, saying that all my discussion with his first wife had been relayed to him. He then told me that his wife was no longer in the country.
“In fact, three days after we arrested Ibrahim, his wife (Oluwakemi) called me on the phone with an international number, saying that her husband was not a robber but a businessman. But I asked her not to call my phone number anymore.
”Before we arrested Ibrahim, he had written a petition against us, and the matter was referred to the Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID), Alagbon, Lagos. I am not the one investigating the case. There is an IPO, but my responsibility is to track suspects.
”Let her bring out the proof that I raped her, if it is by word of mouth or messages. You are free to carry out checks whether I carry pistol around as official rifle. Where did she make a report when I allegedly raped her? The reason she travelled abroad is because her husband knew that we could only get him through the woman.
“She complained that her husband was no longer visiting her and took my team to Ago Iwoye where her husband was living with his second wife. She took us to the shop her husband was using (as printing press) and the second wife’s shop. May be she made up with her husband or probably he gave her some money and she decided to change her mind.
“Nobody forced her when we discovered that we could no longer get her husband through her. Instead, we explored other options to arrest her husband. We tracked her husband to Ibadan through one of his employees that ran his wonder bank in Ibadan where I think he has another wife.
”I never visited her residence at Oke Ejigbo in Abeokuta. She is not my taste. Why would I rape someone at gunpoint? I am a professional and trained police officer. I wouldn’t do that. My visits to her were to get her husband through her; nothing more.
”After we arrested the said Godwin at Ughelli, Delta State, he mentioned Rasheed and one Dele. Ask Ibrahim how he got his cars. It was through Dele. He claimed he didn’t follow the suspects to the scene of robbery, but he got his cars from robbers.
“He wrote a statement to that effect. Even though he claimed he was not at the scene of the robbery, he bought the stolen cars and was asked to produce the said Dele; Dele had been arrested several times for robbery.”
Informed about the Police Sergeant’s response to her allegations, Oluwakemi said she was more than ready to confront him face to face, if the latter insisted that he never came to her residence at Oke Ejigbo to rape her.
She said: ”I am crying out now to reveal what he did to me. If I had reported the matter to the police, there was the tendency that it would not see the light of day. You know he is a SARS operative, and with the way they usually terrify people, I fear for my life because of the way they might harass me. He cannot say it in my presence that he did not visit my residence or rape me twice.
”As to whether I took them to Ago Iwoye to arrest my husband, that is not true. I only told him where my husband lives. I did not take him to my husband’s residence, neither did I accompany him to Ago Iwoye to arrest my husband. It was even he who told me on the phone that he had visited my husband’s residence. I even sent some of the messages he sent to me to my husband.’’
Ibrahim’s petition to the police
Ibrahim (Oluwakemi’s husband), in a petition to the Police Zone 2 Headquarters in Lagos, among others, accused the Police Sergeant of unnecessary intimidation, harassment and raping his wife at gunpoint.
He said his trouble began the moment he stood surety for one Dele, who had been freed on bail by a court but could not perfect his bail one year after.
In the petition addressed to the Assistant Inspector General of Police, Zone 2 Headquarters, Lagos, Ibrahim alleged threat to his life and illegal confiscation of his property by men of the Zonal Intervention Squad, Obada-Oko Police Unit, Ogun State.
Ibrahim also accused a member of the police special squad of raping his wife.
In the petition dated March 18, 2019, Ibrahim’s lawyer, Tunji Busari of Cognate Solicitors and Zita Agwunobi Chambers,
said his client stood surety to one Oladele who was charged to court on a trump up allegation of armed robbery, and was freed following a suit (No. MSH/6C/2015) challenging the arrest.
He said Oladele had been freed by the court but the police refused to release his cars and his ATM card with which the sum of N5,000,000.00 was withdrawn from his bank account, among other alleged forcible confiscation of his household items by the men of the Zonal Intervention Squad at Obada Oko Police Unit, Ogun State.
Busari said immediately Oladele was released, men of ZIS started trailing one of his sureties “in person of our client, Mr. Ibrahim, for acting as a saviour and for sponsoring a petition dated 11th June, 2018 against the aforementioned men of the unit, reporting their illegal operations to the Inspector General of Police, F.C.T Abuja for targeting and arresting an innocent Nigerian who was pursuing his legitimate business by hanging a pent-up charge of armed robbery on his neck and thereby confiscated the victim’s properties like cars, cash and household items and raped the victim’s wife to negotiate the victim’s release.
“Our client was being trailed for quite a long time, but when he could not be hounded by these dark angels, one of our client’s staff was arrested in order to get to our client in person of Mr. Abolaji, who was eventually released to one surety who happened to be our client’s friend, in person of one Mr. Shina”.
The said Mr. Shina, according to the petition, was allegedly cajoled into believing that “our client’s staff had some interview at the unit office situated at Obada-Oko, Ogun State, at a time in the month of June, 2018. When Mr. Shina got to the ZIS office, they prevailed on him by threatening to sniff life out of him if he failed to co-operate with them in order to get our client arrested at all cost.
”That was how our client was arrested at Sango-Ota and whisked away to their office at Obada-Oko without any complaint against him and neither has he ever robbed in his life, let alone being armed.”
The petition further reads that “his illegal arrest was made on the 22nd day of June, 2018 with severe torture and inhuman treatment for almost two months to confess to their prepared in-office allegations that never existed anywhere. While in custody, our client’s address and details about his various homes and Business offices were obtained from him.
“One of our client’s wives, who was in a friend’s naming ceremony party at Oru Ijebu, Ogun State, was trailed and traced upon collecting her number from our client, who was in their detention cell. Our client’s wife was arrested with some of his friends at the party, obtained some cash from them and illegally confiscated a Lexus Jeep belonging to one of the well-wishers at the party that day.”
The solicitor to the petitioner stated that the purpose of arresting Mr. Ibrahim’s wife was to trace all his properties and their locations by manipulating his wife.
“In the course of releasing our client in one of the various, ultimate searches for his properties scattered within Ibadan, Oyo State, and Ijebu in Ogun State, one of the Police Sergeants in the unit raped Mrs. Oluwakemi, boasting to snatch her from our client at gunpoint by threatening to terminate her life should she fail to co-operate with him.
“In the course of this police pressure, torture and unprofessional activities running contrary to the law of the land, particularly the Police Act which conditions the method of operation of policemen in discharging their duty of criminal prevention, investigation, prosecution of offenders in court and general administration of criminal justice and constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as altered), the aforementioned men of the unit wildly swung into action and seized 18 assorted Toyota and Honda CRV brand of cars from the office of our client at his car shop where he sells cars.”
Busari noted that to his client’s chagrin, “the aforementioned bad eggs of the Police went ahead to confiscate our client’s company documents as they threatened to render him poor on earth before sending him to the great beyond if he should try to expose them. Our client’s cell phones, electronic household furniture and foodstuffs were even not left out of their seizures.
“Our client was not in any criminal picture or wanted list before he stood surety for Mr. Oladele, who was discharged and acquitted but they (men of ZIS) still converted his cars to their own personal use fraudulently”.
Busari said in the petition that two policemen, identified as Abel and Saheed, attached to the fiery squad, visited Ibrahim where he was remanded and warned him not to make any attempt to recover his seized cars.
“Our client received the dreadful visit of two of the Police Sergeants in the case while in prison pending perfection of our client’s judicial bail from court, with severe threats that they knew he would be freed by the courts, but if he valued his life, he must not make any attempt to recover the seized vehicles, among other items. Otherwise, our client would not be lucky to have escaped being killed in cold blood as his friend was lucky to escape overseas. This threat was issued on him on the 6th of November while he was released by the court shortly after.
“Our client has been hiding himself in his fatherland because of the fear of being killed together with his family while his business empire had collapsed as all the cars confiscated at the pleasure of the men of the above mentioned unit have eaten deep into his finances and therefore left him into financial virus… while those customers to whom he sold those cars …had been troubling him with legal actions to take over their property through phantom allegations.
He said: ”Dele was arrested on trumped up charges by ZIS operatives. They claimed he was involved in car theft, using master keys, so they took all his cars and other valuables. Dele was granted bail but was unable to perfect the bail as there was nobody to stand for him for over one year, and the case had no headway because it was contrived by the police to keep him shut after hugely extorting him.
”When I learnt about what he was going through, I carried out checks and got to know that he was truly being caged by the policemen in a bid to corner his cars and valuables. I then decided to stand as surety for him and he was released from remand and subsequently freed from the case.
“The ZIS operatives felt their misdeed would be uncovered since Dele must have briefed me about his travails in their hands, hence, they decided to come for me too after finding out about me.
“Dele has since relocated to Europe after he was released from prison, while his vehicles are still with the police squad. He said he did not want to fight to reclaim his vehicles because of what he went through in the hands of ZIS operatives.
“They really dealt with me while I was in their custody. I was slapped many times and didn’t believe I could still hear clearly. They also inhumanly treated my other wife, Adejoke, several times, even in my presence.
”Throughout my two-month detention without trial, none of those they claimed were my victims came there to confront me or showed up. I also did not see the person or persons who purportedly wrote a petition against me. Moreover, I told them where I bought some of my vehicles, but they did not go there to find out at all.
”Yet, one of them had the effrontery to rape my wife at gunpoint. I am crying out now to the world and I am prepared to ask my wife to return to the country to confront him (the policeman). If he hadn’t raped my wife at gunpoint, I would not have said so.
“The sexual molestation of my wife, Oluwakemi, is very painful, because she was not the one the police were looking for. The first time and second time were devastating to me emotionally, and the more reason why I decided to relocate her abroad after the Police Sergeant raped her the second time at gunpoint. I believe her because she forwarded some of the messages he sent to her phone to me.
”I did not do any wonder bank business and I am not an armed robber, contrary to what they want you (reporter) to believe. The only reason why they arrested me was to silence me permanently, so I would not have my cars and other property they took away back, like they did to Dele. When they failed to realise their intention, they quickly arraigned me before an Ifo Magistrate Court and alleged that I robbed someone of his car at Papalanto.
”As God would have it, a High Court sitting in Abeokuta, presided over by Justice P.F. Oduniyi, freed me on bail, but operatives of ZIS continued to threaten my life and subject me to undue harassment. If they have any evidence or proof that I have robbed anyone, let them bring out such evidence. If there are people they claimed I defrauded in several parts of the country, let them bring those victims out.’’
She can’t substantiate her claims, says ZIS Commander
Contacted, the Commander of ZIS, Mr Gbenga Megbope, a Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP), faulted Ibrahim’s allegations, saying his petition to police authorities was meant to divert attention from his crimes and pervert justice.
”The matter is in court, but we are looking for him now because we learnt that he has been released on bail. He has jumped bail several times and lied against one of my men, saying he raped his wife. The question is: where was she raped? In her house or a hotel? At which police station was the incident reported? He said terrible things in a petition to the police and we are making efforts to re-arrest him now.
”We were not aware that he was freed on bail. But we later got to know that he had been freed. He had also defrauded many people in Abuja where he operated a wonder bank and his victims are looking for him. I don’t know why he should be freed while the court is still awaiting a legal advice from the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP). But if the court has released him, we cannot query the right of the court on that. But he has many other cases to answer and we are looking for him. I have given the statements he wrote to the Zonal Police Public Relations Officer (Ms Dolapo Badmus).
”We are also looking for Dele, who he got his cars from, and the only way we can get the man is by arresting Ibrahim. He would be arrested and paraded soon. If his wife was raped, is it the media that she should go to or the police? The fact of the matter is that while we were trailing him, we tacked all his contacts and zeroed in on his wife in order to get him but all our efforts failed.
”Initially, the woman cooperated with us and she was ready to help us. He has other wives, one of whom was operating a wonder bank, and we arrested that one too.
“The woman (Oluwakemi) should substantiate her allegations. Otherwise, she should be very careful, as she could be charged for giving wrong information. Ask her the facts in her possession to prove her case. Where was she raped? Did she report the matter to the police? Which hospital certified her to be a rape victim? Was there any mark of violence on her body? Are there eyewitnesses?
”Many of her husband’s victims in Abuja have been to our office (in Abeokuta) and we are looking for him. A case of armed robbery is usually first charged before a magistrate court, but most times, the suspects would file another suit in High Court arguing that their fundamental human rights have been violated, and they are sometimes released on bail. That must have been what the suspect did to secure his freedom.”
Megbope’s explanation was, however, disputed by Ibrahim, who said that the police subjected him to torture and brutality to make him endorse prepared statements the minions of law claimed were his.