James Sowole in Akure
An Ondo State Magistrate Court sitting in Akure yesterday ordered that a Lance Corporal Sunday Awolola, be remanded in police custody for allegedly raped a 300-level student of Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko (AAUA).
Prior to the arraignment of Awolola, 33, the Army authorities had dismissed him and handed him over to the police for prosecution having been accused of raping of the female student of the Department of Religious and African Studies of the university on July 31.
The suspect attached to the 32 Artillery Brigade in Akure, allegedly committed the offence at the military checkpoint situated on Akungba- Ikare Road in Akoko North East Local Government area of the state while the student was on her way from school.
The alleged conduct of the accused, according to the charge sheet, was said to have been contrary to Section 357 and punishable under Section 358 of the Criminal Code Cap 37 vol. Laws of the Ondo State of Nigeria.
The arraignment of the randy soldier at the court yesterday attracted public outcry and interest from International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), the state Ministry of Women Affairs and Office of the Wife of the Governor.
Awolola was brought to the Court III of the Magistrates’ Court by officers of the State Police Command following his involvement in the rape of the female student on July 31.
The charge read: “That you Sunday Awolola ‘M’ on the 31st day of July, 2019 at about 6:30pm at Ikare Akoko Military Checkpoint did unlawful have carnal knowledge of one (name withheld) and thereby committed an offence Contrary to Section 357 and Punishment Under Section 358 of the Criminal Code Cap 37 Vol. 1 Laws of the Ondo State of Nigeria 2006.”
However, the charge was not read to the accused because his counsel, Mr. Kayode Idowu, said he was just being served with the charge against his client. He asked for 24 hours to study the charge in order to file his response and application for bail.
The Police Prosecutor, Adeoye Adesegun did not oppose the application but asked the suspect to be remanded in police custody pending the proper arraignment.
Adesegun sought an application that the suspect be remanded in prison custody in order for the police to gather more facts on the case against the suspect.
The FIDA Chairperson, Bola Joel-Ogundadegbe, maintained that what was done in court was just for the defendant to appear before the court, stressing the defendant has not properly been arraigned.
The Magistrate, Mayowa Olanipekun, in his ruling directed that the accused should be kept in police custody following an application by
the police prosecutor.
According to the Magistrate, “the application brought before the court by the police had not been served on the counsel of the defendant.”
The Magistrate advised that for proper hearing of rape case against the suspect to commence, the suspect should contact his lawyer in order to file a response to the application seeking his remand in prison custody.
The magistrate subsequently adjourned the case till