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ALLEGED RAPE: ILOWA RESIDENTS PROTEST IN COURT OVER MONARCH'S TRIAL

By NBF News
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By GBENGA OLARINOYE, with agency report
OSOGBO-Protesters from Ilowa, yesterday, stormed the premises of Osogbo High Court, protesting against the trial of their traditional ruler, Adebukola Alli, who is standing trial over a case of alleged rape of a 23-year-old ex-corps member, Miss Helen Okpara.

The protesters,including school children, market women and men carried placards of various inscriptions and almost disrupted the court sitting as they chanted songs, eulogising the accused monarch.

Students of Ifelodun Grammar School, Ilowa, led the protest and carried placards with inscriptions such asĀ  'This is War Against Ilowa People', 'Stop The Blackmail, Our Oba is a Decent Oba', 'Your Game-Plan Has Failed' in front of the court room.

However, the trial Judge, Justice Oyejide Falola, did not allow the protest to derail court proceedings as he continued with the trial of the monarch.

Counsel to the monarch, Mr. Taofeek Tewogbade, who applied for a no-case submission, said his client had sexual intercourse with Helen on his bed without the victim's shoes, adding that the act took place in a serene atmosphere.

However, a lawyer, who claimed to be a friend of the court, rose to fault Tewogbade's defence and his action caused serious altercation among the lawyers in court.

Tewogbade also informed the court that his client and the victim were like Romeo and Juliet when the going was good, and had been to the Osun Groove together on several occasions for reasons known to them.

The monarch's counsel said in his submission that 'Helen had informed this court in her evidence that the accused monarch raped her nakedly but in the history of rape case in the world, there has never been a time an accused person was said to have raped his victim nakedly. It has never happened.

'I urge the court to take judicial notice of the fact that Miss Helen's pant or bra was not torn during the alleged rape'.

He added that: 'No case submission may be properly made and upheld when there has been no evidence to prove the essential element in the alleged offence.

'When the evidence adduced by the prosecution has been so discredited as a result of cross-examination or is so manifestly unreliable no reasonable tribunal could safely convict on it.'

However, the defence counsel, Mr. Dapo Adeniyi, opposed the application of no case submission, informing the court that the accused monarch is facing a four- count charge of rape, kidnapping, indecent assault and defamation of the ex-corps member.

Adeniyi told the court that the victim was forcefully penetrated without her consent, adding that the accused monarch bruised her private part and raped her.

He said the victim is in a state of trauma and distress owing to her ordeal in the hands of the accused monarch .

Justice Falola, however, adjourned the case till May 21, for ruling on the no case submission.

Meanwhile, the Osun Sttae Government has vowed to prosecute those behind yesterday's protest in support of the accused monarch.

The placard-carrying protesters accused the state government of intimidating the accused monarch as well as bias in the trial.

Mrs Funmilayo Esho-Williams, Special Adviser to the Governor on Women Affairs and Social Welfare, said in Osogbo, yesterday, that the organisers would be dealt with legally.

Esho told newsmen that: 'The entire people of the state frowned at this dastardly act masterminded by the people, who supposed to lay good examples for our children.'

'The school children, who are supposed to be attending schools were brought to court and given placards in a case of rape allegedly committed against a youth corps member.

'It is pathetic that adults, who are striving for development of youths, have no scruple in trying to mortgage the future of the youths for pursuit of personal ego.' .

She reiterated the commitment of the state g overnment to continue protecting the right of children through the Child Right Law, which had been domesticated in the state.