For over a week, a middle-aged man and welder, Korede Adewumi, has fled his abode after he was accused of raping a 19-year-old in Ile-Ife, Osun State.
The victim, a penultimate year student of a secondary school, hawks ‘aadun’, a savoury Yoruba snack, around Olubuse area of Ile-Ife.
PREMIUM TIMES learnt that the teenager while going about her usual hawking last Friday was beckoned at by Mr Adewumi, who showed interest in buying the snack.
Schools have been shut in Osun and other parts of Nigeria since March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking with this paper, a sibling of the victim stated that the incident happened when she was returning home around 3:30 p.m., about the time she felt she was done hawking for the day.
“It was on her way she saw this culprit (Korede) who sat in the verandah of his house. He pretended as if he was going to buy from her by calling her.
“He did buy from her and pretended to go back inside and get money. When he finally came out, he stood by the entrance of the front door and asked her to come for her money,” the sibling continued.
According to him, the girl took steps to collect the money but was met with a different action as Mr Adewumi seized her hands and dragged her forcefully into his building.
“Unfortunately, no agile person was home at that time to come to her rescue while shouting but the weak and feeble landlord of the house. Before the landlord could get to other neighbours for help, Korede had done his bad deeds and taken to his heels,” he said.
Before the case was reported at Aagun Police station, the victim was taken to a nursing home where some tests were carried out, this reporter gathered.
“The above-named patient came to my facility with the history of forced sexual intercourse. There is bleeding per vagina as confirmed by the clinician in-charge,” the Jesuloluwa nursing home and maternity wrote in a report referring the victim to the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital.
Both the police and family members of Mr Adewumi said they do not know his whereabouts.
The officer-in-charge of the case at Aagun police station, Mr Owoseni, on Saturday, told PREMIUM TIMES that police operatives have been to Mr Adewumi’s residence on four different occasions with the aim of arresting him but he was not found at home.
“We have been going there on our own money. We are yet to find him. But we are not going to give up until we find him,” Mr Owoseni assured.
Also, the mother of the accused, Mrs Adewumi, who also confirmed the allegation, noted that the family has been on the lookout for him since last Saturday.
“The last time I spoke with him was last week Saturday. I have not been able to reach him since then,” she said.
Nevertheless, an advocacy group, Voices Against Rape and Sexual Harassment (VARSH), has called on the police to ensure that the accused is arrested and justice served.
In a telephone interview with this paper, the group’s director, Salvation Grace, stated that the organisation will continue to mount pressure on the law enforcement agents until Mr Adewumi is found.
This adds to the long list of rape cases reported in recent times. PREMIUM TIMES reported how the Nigeria police said it recorded 717 rape cases between January and May.
The federal government has pledged to ensure the crime is tackled and accused persons are adequately punished.