A witness in the trial of the murder and rape of 22-year old fashion designer, Bamise Ayanwola, has told the Lagos State High Court sitting at the Tafawa Balewa Square annex on the Lagos Island that the deceased’s lower area was found “damaged.”
Miss Ayanwola’s brother, Abegunde, gave his testimony on Thursday before Justice Sherifat Sonaike.
The sole defendant in the trial is a BRT driver, Andrew Ominikoron, who is accused of raping and murdering the deceased in February inside a BRT bus.
He is also accused of raping another passenger on 25 November last year.
In his Testimony and as led by the Attorney-General of Lagos State, Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN), Mr Ayanwola said that the deceased was the last child of ten children.
He said that on 27 February 2022 (Sunday), he received a call from his Kano-based brother, Daniel, asking for their sister.
“I called home to find out if she was there and was told that she wasn’t. And her colleague told me that Bamise was coming to my house on a surprise visit in order to be with my wife,” he said.
“Then the lady told me that something happened in the bus that she (Bamise) boarded and she told me that it was a BRT bus. And I said that if she took the BRT bus she would be safe.”
Mr Ayanwola told the court that he became alarmed when the colleague sent the voice note they shared on WhatsApp.
“So, I called my sister to report at the station,” he said.
He said that the following Monday, he went to the BRT station- Terminal Three to report the matter but was directed to the Lagos Bus Service Limited (LBSL).
“We were referred to two CSOs and they said that none of the drivers reported a case of a missing person,” he said.
“And I asked to have access to their CCTV so that we can know what transpired in their vehicle,” he said.
He further said that the officials told him to get a police report in order to access their CCTV.
He said that they were “badly treated” at the police division and had to go back to the LBSL where one Mr Aluko admitted that a bus was missing.
He said that he wrote a letter to the office of the commissioner of transportation, the Lagos State Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA) and the state House of Assembly.
He said they reported the matter at the Jakande police division and the police boss said that it was no longer a case of a missing person but a kidnap case.
“Some guys on social media said we should release the phone number of Bamise to them because they wanted to track her number. After some time, they told us that we should go to Shagamu,” he said.
“After some time, they said the phone has left that vicinity and is around Ososa village. We couldn’t find my sister.
“On March 7, someone said we should go and check Ebute-Ero police station. On getting there, we showed them the picture of my sister. My sister died on the night of 26 (February) and the police took over the body.
“She was coming to my house, she was the only one who knew when my wife would deliver. She died because she was coming to my house,” he said amidst tears.
He said that he found his sister’s body at the morgue where it was tagged unknown. “Not up to 30 minutes after, my brother called to say that the driver of the vehicle was apprehended.”
During the court proceedings, the voice note exchanged by the deceased and her friend was admitted as evidence.
In the voice note exchange, the deceased said that she was alone in the bus, that the driver had refused to pick up other passengers.
Later she sent another voice message that the driver had taken a lady and three males into the bus.
Then the friend sent a message asking if she had gotten to her bus-stop but the message wasn’t answered.
Describing the “damaged” pubic area, Mr Ayanwola said that “I saw traces of blood on that part.”
During cross-examination, the defence lawyer, Abayomi Omotubora, asked that he explain what he meant by “damaged lower part.”
“She was a virgin. She was badly raped by maybe two or three men and you want me to describe that? I will not do that,” the witness responded.
Another witness, Ikegwueomu Chukwurah, a business manager with First Bank, also testified on Thursday, saying he
was directed to come and present the statement of account of Maryjane Odezulu, an alleged rape victim of the defendant. She had earlier testified that Andrew Nice had transferred N3000 naira to her after the “rape” incident, following his apology for the act.
The bank official presented the account statement and the judge admitted and marked it as Exhibit 7.
He told the court that on 25 November 2021, “there was a credit deposit from Ominikoron Nice to the beneficiary (Mary Odezulu) account.”
A third witness, Victoria Anoke who attended the court sitting virtually could not testify due to network hitches.
Mr Onigbanjo said that the witness had come to the court three times from Delta state without being taken because of the defendant lawyer’s absence.
Mr Omotubora apologised to the court for his repeated absence.
The court adjourned to 25 and 31 October, 2022.