Here’s a Sad report from The Nations Newspaper.
Just for refusing to date a fellow youth corps member, Temitope Adedewe’s whole life ambition seems to have run into a cul-de-sac.
First, she was battered, so much so that she lost two teeth and landed in a hospital; then her NYSC certificate was with-held, the effect of which has caused her to miss an opportunity to sit for a scholarship award examination by her Ife National Descendants Association – something which would have opened the gates for her to go further her studies in her choice university in the United Kingdom.
Temitope also faces the bleak prospect of not being able to apply for her master’s degree in Nigeria or even get a meaningful job worth her qualification.
Adewewe’s nightmare began when in June of 2015; a male corps member of the same batch (Batch A 2015/2016), Oluwabusiyi Adeola Bolarinde started making advances at her.
She had known Bolarinde from their undergraduate days at the History Department of Obafemi Awolowo University, but said she always stayed away from him “because he was the aggressive type.”
“The first time I spoke to him was when we were in camp.” Adewewe said. Both however got posted to the same local government and place of primary assignment, giving Bolarinde the opportunity to start pressing her for a relationship.
“When we got posted to the same school and had to stay in the same lodge, the boy started asking me out. He said he had always liked me even while we were in school but didn’t have the courage to approach me because of my countenance. I told him there and then that I was not interested but he persisted and I in turn insisted.”
Bolarinde’s persistence soon took a nasty turn, when in December that year, he resorted to insulting Adewewe. With every attempt to woo her failing, he suddenly decided to make her life miserable.
“He became very hostile and started insulting me at any given opportunity. Sometimes, I returned the insults and at other times, I just ignored him. This continued until January when things took a worse dimension.
It is one thing to rain insults on someone and a completely different thing to get physically abusive. Adewewe was thus totally unprepared for what soon followed.
“On the 23rd of January at the Corpers’ Lodge of Mary Slessor Technical Secondary School where we both served, Bolarinde suddenly went violent and beat me up. We had just returned from the weekly Community development Service (CDS) three days earlier on the 20th; I wanted to recharge my phone line, but the network told me I had to register my line because my sim had been blocked. Still a stranger in the environment, I asked someone where I could do the registration; the person told me he knew someone who knew the place, not knowing that the person he had in mind was Bolarinde. Of course I refused to go with him, but this person offered to go with us if that would make me feel comfortable. So I agreed and we went.
“There, they said I had to pay N600 for the registration, but I told the officer I didn’t have that amount of money on me. Just then, Bolarinde said to the man, “Do it for her, I’ll pay, she’s my girlfriend.”
I immediately refuted the statement, which made the man to start making jest of him that his girlfriend was denying him. He insisted that I was his girlfriend, to which I said ‘Who is your girlfriend? If it’s a joke, stop it.’ I paid the man N200 and left.
“That was on Thursday. On Saturday, I was sitting in the lodge. By this time, the Batch B corps members had joined us in the house. There were like eight guys. Normally around 5:00 pm, the guys would go out and fetch water. The house was in a very thick bush, so we used to lock our doors early. On this particular evening, we’d already locked the door. I was in the sitting room when I heard a knock on the door, I was scared, I asked who was at the door and the person just responded, “Me.” I insisted the person mentioned his name before I opened the door, which he (Bolarinde) finally did.
“When I opened the door, he complained that he had been standing at the door all day. He then told me that for all the gragra (resistance) I’d been doing, I only had a day left for him to show me ‘pepper.’ I ignored his threat and told him that if he had gone to fetch water like his male colleagues, he wouldn’t be standing there telling me rubbish. This was around 5pm. Around 7pm, he started sending me threat messages. One of them read, “Let this be the first and last time I’ll knock and you won’t open the door.”
“I asked who was sending me messages because I didn’t have his number. He then asked me to check his profile picture. When I checked and saw he was the one, I told him never to send me messages again. He started insulting me and I returned the insults. Later I came out of the room to charge my phone. By this time, people had already returned to the lodge and they were discussing in the sitting area. He came in and started cussing in Yoruba, and it was just the two of us that understood what he was saying. The other guy that understood Yoruba was downstairs. Part of what he said was, “Some people think they are fine; that’s why everybody is asking them out and they’re forming.”
“But I was in no mood to stomach or banter insults, so I left the sitting room and went into my room. The next thing I heard was a kick at the door and Bolarinde came into the room and started beating me with his belt. I screamed and people rushed into the room and pulled him away from me. But before then, blood had already started oozing out of my face and body because it was the iron end of the belt that he used on me. Someone asked me to go and wash off the blood on my face, but as I was going to the bathroom, he came by and told me he wasn’t done with me yet.
“For want of something to say, I said ‘So you dare come to my room to beat me with a belt?’But the next thing I saw was a blow to my mouth. For the second time, he started beating me again. There was a hammer on the floor in his room, in a twinkle, he picked it up with his leg and banged it on my mouth. That’s how I lost my teeth. Everything happened so fast. This was around 11pm. It was already too late for me to go to the hospital. In fact, it was later I noticed the bite on my face. I didn’t and still can’t recall the exact time he bit me.”
When The Nation called Bolarinde for his side of the story, his initial response was somehow aloof. “The Nation newspaper? Wow! So, you want to publicise my story, right? Well, when I see official notice to that effect, I will respond sha.”
This reporter tried to underscore the importance of him giving his side of the story to make for a balanced report. Bolarinde promised to call back because according to him, he was “somehow busy” at the moment and couldn’t speak.
After waiting for his call to no avail, this reporter placed another call to him, taking more pain to explain why it was in his best interest to give his account of the story, since the other side was going to be published anyway.
Bolarinde however maintained his position, citing the NYSC code of conduct, which he said does not allow corpers to give audience to the press. He said “I am still a corper because my certificate is still being withheld by the NYSC. I’m also aware that some media houses went to the headquarters to confirm issues there… If I deem it fit to express myself, I probably will.”
Almost inadvertently admitting that a fracas indeed took place, Bolarinde said, “The thing is just that something happened, yes. The person involved went to report to the authority. Now that… in short, I have nothing to say for now…. You have tried ma, at least I don’t know you and you don’t know me, and you have called on two occasions.”
Wasn’t Adewewe aware of the ‘code of conduct’?
Adewewe said she had gone to a nearby hospital the following morning since the incident took place the previous night when it was too late to visit any hospital.
On reaching the hospital, she recounted,
“The nurse asked what happened to me. I explained. She asked me three questions: Are you dating him? Are you sleeping with him? Did you collect money from him? I said no and she insisted I go and get a police report before they begin any treatment, saying that this one has gone beyond normal fighting and that the boy may be in a cult, to have beaten me to the point of using a hammer to remove my teeth and giving me a very big bite on my face. That was how I went to the police station at Arochukwu. Besides, this incident happened in our place of primary assignment and not at the NYSC camp in Umuahia.”
At the station, Adewewe said the sergeant who took her statement refused to believe her story, insisting that she had to have been in a serious fight to have sustained such kind of injury.
To confirm her story, he followed her to the lodge and picked up three corpers who witnessed the incident. At the station, three of them gave the same account, which made him arrest and put Bolarinde in a cell until they were able to reach Mr Ikeagu Valentine, the Local Government Inspector or LI.
The sergeant who handled the case, in a phone chat with The Nation said they released the corper to the LI immediately, after he pleaded and promised to resolve the matter amicably as a body and give the police a feedback.
He added that he has been transferred but that he handed the file to another officer as is expected
“Since then, we have not heard anything from them.” He said. “We also learnt that both of them were queried. I really don’t know much about the case again, because we were expecting them to get back to us.