The Lagos High Court sitting at the Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS) has heard a fresh rape allegation against a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) driver, Andrew Ominnikoron, accused of the rape and murder of a 22-year old passenger, Oluwabamise Ayanwole.
A prosecution witness, Nneka Odezulu, told Justice Sherifat Sonaike that Ominnikoron developed an erection and raped her at knifepoint in his bus, after ingesting a substance.
Ominnikoron, 47, is facing a five-count charge bordering on rape, conspiracy, felony, sexual assault, and murder preferred against him by the Lagos state government.
He denied the charge.
Odezulu, the first prosecution witness, was led in examination-in-chief by Lagos Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Moyosore Onigbanjo SAN.
The 29-year-old sales representative and mother of one said the incident happened near the Lekki- Ajah Conservation Centre, Lekki Ajah Expressway, Lagos on November 25, 2021 after she closed from work around 8pm.
She said she boarded Ominnikoron’s bus from where it was parked at Alesh Hotel Bus Stop, Ajah and sat at the back after confirming from him that the fare to her Jakande Bus Stop was N100
Three other passengers declined to enter after disagreeing with Ominnikoron on the fare to Oshodi.
Odezulu said: “When I entered the BRT, the lights were on but on getting to Lekki Conservation, Lekki – Ajah Expressway, he stopped the motor and brought out one medicine.
“He took the medicine with a bottle of water. I did not bother myself because I thought it was a medication.
“After that, he asked me to come to the front seat, that why was I in the back seat. I stood up and went to sit at the front. Then he started asking me questions like what was my name, how old was I, who was I living with.”
The court heard that the defendant said he wanted to park the bus for them “to go somewhere and discuss,” but she refused.
“I said sir, I am coming back from work and I am tired and I need to go and pick up my daughter from after school care; that was when I noticed that his manhood was up.
“I brought out my big phone, I wanted to call somebody and record what was happening. He was like ‘what are you doing, who do you want to call with your phone?’ He got up from the driver’s seat and collected my phone from me.
“He held on to a small knife and dragged me to the back and said I should take off my clothes. I was like why will I pull off my clothes, do I know you before?
“We started dragging and he said I should remove everything because I was not a baby. He slapped me and held my neck and wanted to strangle me, I couldn’t breathe again, then his face changed and he said that if he killed me, nothing would happen and nobody would know where I was, that I should respect myself.
“He pushed me down at the back seat; I held the seats and was begging him. He held the knife, tore my clothes and raped me from the back,” the witness said.
She said Ominnikoron stopped at Jakande Bus Stop and “I asked him to please give me my phone and open the door for me, then he started apologising that he was sorry for everything that happened.
“He said I should give him my account number, I told him, I don’t need his money, then he said I was being stubborn that I didn’t want to give him my account number. So, I gave him my account number and he sent N3000 and said I should use it to buy painkillers.
“He asked me to give him my phone number; I gave it to him before he gave me back my phone and then opened the BRT door. Then I used my big phone to record the plate number from the back.
“A few hours later he called me and said he was sorry and asked me if I had gotten home, had I picked my daughter from after school? I did not answer any of his questions then I ended the call. He called me back the next day and subsequently but I did not pick up his calls.”
She also said after the incident, “whenever I’m coming back from work and see any BRT Bus, I used to look inside to see if it was him. I saw him like four times at that Chevron Tollgate when he passed,” Odezulu said.
When asked if she reported the rape case at the police station, she said she didn’t because she had a bad experience with the police at Jakande and that if she had reported they would have insulted her.
The witness showed the court the striped dress she wore on the day she was allegedly raped by the defendant and the same was admitted as exhibit 1.
The case continues on Tuesday.
According to the charge, Ominnikoron also conspired with others now at large to rape and murder Ayanwole, a fashion designer at about 7pm, between Lekki Ajah expressway and Carter Bridge, on February 26, 2022.
The defendant was also accused of sexually assaulting a 29-year-old Victoria Anieke on December 29, 2021 between Ikorodu and the Mile 12 area of Lagos State.