A 34-year-old graduate of the University of Lagos, John Otema, Monday, bagged 50-years imprisonment for raping a 19-year-old student of the institution on campus.
Otema, a quantity surveyor and facilities manager, was charged with three counts of rape and assault occasioning harm on two female students. He was earlier arraigned before Justice Abiola Soladoye of Special and Sexual Offences Court, of Lagos State High Court, Ikeja.
He was found guilty on two-counts of rape and assault occasioning bodily harm and however, found not guilty on a charge of raping another 20-year-old student of the institution.
He was sentenced 50-years for the rape and three-years for the assault, though both sentences will run concurrently.
In absolving Otema of raping the other student, Justice Soladoye noted that the demeanor of the alleged victim in her testimony was mischievous and she would not have claimed that she was raped if Otema had paid her the N50,000 agreed upon before their rendezvous.
The judge quoted a portion of the student’s testimony which stated,“With intention to scare him off, I asked him for N100,000 but he said he will give me N50,000. I gave him my account number but he did not credit my account. Friendship with benefits was the crux of our relationship.”
The judge described the student as a game player who had embarked on a sexual frolic.
“The defendant, John Osagie Otema in respect of count-one (rape) is found not guilty as there is overwhelming evidence before the court that sexual intercourse between the defendant and PW2 (Student Y) was consensual as it was friendship with benefits,” the judge said.
In convicting Otema of rape and assault, Justice Soladoye noted that in addition to medical evidence and photographs tendered by the prosecution, the survivor also identified the defendant as her assailant who bit her back and punched her eyes.
“For count-two (rape), the defendant is found guilty and is hereby sentenced to 50-years in prison as the evidence adduced before this court has been proved beyond reasonable doubt by the prosecution.
“With regards to count-three (assault occasioning harm) the defendant is found guilty and is hereby sentenced to three-years in prison as the prosecution has done its job diligently by proving the charge beyond reasonable doubt.”
The judge condemned the spate of sexual violence committed against women and girls, stating that Lagos State has zero tolerance for this sort of crime and the punishment meted out to the defendant will serve as a deterrent to other sex offenders that they too will be caught and brought to justice.
“Women and girls like every other member of the society should be respected and not be turned into prey by sex maniacs,” she said.
Earlier the defence counsel, Mr. Fred Onyeka, in his allocutus (plea for mercy) said that Otema is a young man with aged parents who also had his whole life ahead of him.
“He had the misfortune of this matter coming upon him not long after he left UNILAG. He had a good job before this incident occurred and was destined for the very top of his career.
“What has happened will definitely truncate the prospects of his rise to the top of his career if my lord’s intervention in sentencing him does not happen,” Onyeka said.
Meanwhile, six witnesses – the two students, a policewoman, Insp. Nkem Ejelonu and three UNILAG staff members testified for the prosecution during the trial.
Otema, testified solely in his defence. During his testimony he denied committing the offences.
According to the prosecution led by Mrs Arinola Momoh-Ayokanbi, Otema had sexual intercourse with the student without her consent on January 31, 2018 at his home at No. 6, Ajileye St., Bariga, Lagos. The prosecution claimed that earlier that month, Otema had raped another student within the premises of the institution.
“On January 17, 2018, while coming from her hostel to Moremi Hall, Otema parked his car and asked the student for directions to Moremi Hall. He compelled her to enter the car under the guise of giving her a ride.
“He auto locked his car and drove her to the Distant Learning Institute (DLI) area where he assaulted her by punching her face several times, ordered her to undress and took her nude photos. The offences contravene Sections 173 and 260(1)(2) of the Criminal Code, Law of Lagos State 2015.”