It was a cool and beautiful morning, the coolest morning for judgment. Fleets of cars were parked at the parking lot. The court room was full as there were no spaces for people to sit again and a large percentage of people were standing.
Toyese and Tolu were brought before the state high court. Tolu bowed his head throughout their stay in the courtroom, he was way too ashamed of what had happened. He cried throughout the whole session in the courtroom. He felt remorseful, he regretted everything he had done. Toyese had no care in the world, he was not remorseful at all.
Both Tolu and Toyese’s parents were present in the courtroom. When it dawned on Tito that it was not only Toyese that raped her and that she was gang-raped, tears streamed down her face. Dockie Lee who was also present in the courtroom together with her husband sat beside Tito and comforted her when she was crying.
Pastor Kay and Sandra were also present. On sighting Toyese as the culprit, Sandra told her husband that he was the same guy that she told him about.
Although, Dele, Dockie Lee’s younger brother wanted to represent Tito as her defending Lawyer but they were told the procedures. They were told that once a rape case had been reported to the police, the police would commence investigation; they would take statements of the victim and that of the perpetrator. The police also procured medical report and forwarded all the pieces of evidence compiled in a case file to the ministry of Justice. The ministry of Justice ensured that the perpetrators were charged to court. A lawyer, form the Ministry, served as a legal representative of the state as well as of the victim, Tito. Tito did not pay any money to the Government lawyer for him to prosecute the perpetrators because rape is regarded as an offence against the state.
However, Dele served as a ‘watching brief counsel’ because he could only be seen but could not be heard as the state lawyer did the talking.
“I am happy that this rape case was reported, it is not a usual thing for the court of law to be treating a rape case. Many people are afraid of reporting rape cases especially because of the society we dwell in, the rape victims are the ones that will be affected the most. I appreciate this victim’s courage and that of her parents to report this case, I believe if these cases are reported, the state will be able to curb this inhuman actions.
Under the criminal code of Nigeria, rape is defined as having unlawful carnal knowledge of a woman or girl, without her consent, or with her consent, if the consent is obtained by force or by means of threats or intimidation of any kind, or by fear of harm, or by means of false act. This offense is punishable by imprisonment for life, with or without caning. In a lay man’s language, in Nigeria, a person has committed rape when he has sexual relations with a woman against her will.
And in Tito’s case here, these two young men had carnal knowledge of her without her knowledge by sedating her drink. A date rape drug, Rohypnol, which has been banned in Nigeria, was used and from the medical report we got, it was overdosed that they used on her.
My lord, without any shrewd of doubt, it is evident that these two young men are guilty. And in that case, I would implore you to not waste time on this case and pass the appropriate judgment on both of them.”
Toyese’s lawyer knew that there was nothing he could say that would prove them innocent but he had to say something since he has been hired to defend them both in court.
“My lord, I will plead with you to temper mercy with justice.”
The judge cleared his throat before talking, “After the hearings from both lawyers, Toyese Adeoye and Tolu Omidiji have been found guilty of the charges before you. you are therefore sentenced to life imprisonment. I rise.”
“Court.” Replied the court clerk.
Toyese’s mother broke down in tears, she cried uncontrollably. Toyese’s father shook his head before he talked. “Imagine, you were just given only one child to cater for, see what has become of the boy now. You are a bad mother. I was given four girls , all of them are fulfilled now and they are happily married. What a bad mother you are. I regret ever knowing you in my life.” This outburst by Toyese’s father made her wail the more.
Tito was driven to her uncle’s house. The next day, her parents travelled back to Lagos but not until they had advised Tito.
“Tito, what has happened has happened, let by-gones be by-gones. I know the Lord will perfect your future. He has a plan for your life. You don’t have to dwell in the past, move forward and don’t be weighed down by the memories of what has happened to you.”
Tito went back to school the following day, she was driven to school by Dele’s wife, Juliana. Juliana bought a lot of provisions and foodstuffs for Tito. She also gave her five thousand naira coupled with the ten thousand naira given to her by Dele. Tito thanked Juliana for everything when she made to get out of the car when they reached her hall of residence.
Juliana is a very nice woman who never treated Tito as her husband’s niece unlike most Nigerian women who treats their husband’s families badly, she took Tito as her own child. She showers her with gifts and money all the time.
Tito brought out two Ghana must go bags from the car trunk and she waved Juliana off.
Her roommates were happy to see her, they helped her offload her bags and arranged the items in her cupboard, and they chatted excitedly along.
Grace changed the topic of discussion all of a sudden. “Hope you are not thinking about it much.”
“What do you mean?” asked Tito pretending not to understand the question. “You know what I am talking about Tito. What happened to you recently now.”
Tito stood up from the floor, she sat down on an empty plastic chair in the room. She took her time to answer the question. “The deed has been done already, there is nothing anybody can do to undo it. Why should I continue to brood over that? I have made up my mind to start afresh.”
“That is a good idea dearie, thinking about it would do you no good. What of Tade, what did he say about it?” Ayoola asked.
“You guys won’t believe that Tade called it quit with me.”
“Really?” chorused her roommates.
“Yes, he called it quit the day he came to visit me in the hospital. He said he does not know what I have contacted and as a result of that, he is through with the relationship.”
“You mean he actually said that?” Asked a surprised Grace.
“I wouldn’t lie, I never knew he was like that, I thought he was a good Christian. I never knew he was not.”
“Wonders shall never cease. Tade of all people. Well, change is the only constant thing in this world and people do change.” Said Shade.
“And I thank God for helping me, He has been giving me strength not to think over it and I pray He will continue to be with me.”
“Amen.” Chorused all Tito’s roommates.
Pastor Kay and Sandra decided to pay Toyese and Tolu a visit the following week. Sandra had gone to a Christian store earlier in the day to buy two KJV Bibles for both of them.
They got to the prison in the afternoon and both of them were brought by the warden to the visiting room.
Toyese was surprised to see Sandra, he had not set eyes on her since the day he threw her out of his house and the courtroom was full on the day of their trial that he did not even notice her.
“Sandra, what are you doing here? I hope you have not come here to mock me.”
“Impossible, who am I to mock you when God has already forgiven you? He only needs you to confess your sins and be born anew.”
“Who are you to tell me God has forgiven me and that I should confess my sins?”
“I am your friend and I don’t want you to go astray. Just give your life to Him and you will be a better person.”
“How did you even get to know I am here?”
“I was in court, together with my husband, when you were sentenced.” Sandra remembered that she had not introduced her husband to Toyese and Tolu who has been quiet since their arrival. “Mind my manners, Toyese and Tolu meet my husband, he is a pastor and today we have brought to you good tidings of peace.”
“Did anyone at any point in time tell you that there is no peace here? There is peace here. I don’t have to worry about food, there is free food here. I don’t have to worry about hurrying to work here, I sleep at my own convenience. So, tell me which peace can be greater than this one.”
“You got it wrong there Toyese. I will like you to know of a man. He is the prince of peace, the I am that I am, the ancient of days,” she paused for effect and then she touched Toyese and Tolu’s hand briefly before continuing. “He is the only one that can give you peace. He is the only one that holds the key to your freedom. Toyese, Tolu, I want you both to open up your hearts to Him. He is waiting for you. He is willing and just to forgive you all your sins. Tomorrow may be too late. I remember the story of a man who went to the beer palour with his friend. A preacher, who constantly visits some beer palours to preach to the sinners, gave this man and his friend a tract and started preaching to them. This man shut the preacher up and told him that he was not ready to give his life to Christ and that he has decided to enjoy his life to the fullest and maybe probably the following year he may start thinking of giving his life to Christ. The preacher pestered him to repent as tomorrow may be too late. The man left the beer palour angrily as the preacher didn’t leave him alone. As he was going out of the beer palour, he crossed the road and a car hit him and he died instantly. This man procrastinated his repentance and he never had the opportunity to give his life to Christ. He died a sinner.
What are still waiting for? Don’t procrastinate your repentance, tomorrow may be too late.”
Tolu broke into fresh tears and knelt down on his knees, he began to sing a song he learnt in church. He is the church going type but not a born again Christian.
‘Wherever you send me I will go
Wherever you lead me, I will go
Lord I surrender, I surrender
I surrender to your will.
I am willing vessel, Lord use me.’
After Tolu finished the chorus, Pastor Kay led the popular hymn by Fanny Crosby:
‘I am thine o Lord, I have heard thy voice,
And it told thy love to me;
But I long to rise in the arms of faith
And be closer drawn to thee.
Draw me nearer, nearer, blessed Lord,
To the cross where thou hast died.
Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer, blessed Lord,
To thy precious bleeding side.’
Pastor Kay led them both in the sinner’s prayers. They gave their lives to Christ and Sandra gave them both the Bible she had purchased earlier.
Tito visited Pastor Kay and Sandra at home on the invitation of Sandra. Sandra had called Tito the day before her visit that she would like her to visit them at home. Sandra had collected Tito’s number earlier at the court, she promised her to always keep in touch with her. She got to their residence in the morning, Sandra entertained her to the fullest.
After their lunch, Sandra and Tito chatted for a long time. “Tito, the door of my house is open to you any day, any time. Don’t hesitate to call me or my husband anytime you need anything. I just like you and I want to take you as the sister I never had.”
Tito spent the following weekend with Pastor Kay and Sandra. On Saturday evening, around 9 p.m., Sandra fell into labour. Her husband took her to the hospital and left Tamilore in care of Tito to look after.
Around 11 p.m., Pastor Kay called Tito at home to inform her that Sandra had given birth to a bouncing baby boy. The boy was christened Oluwasemilore Victor the following Saturday.
Author: Oni Ifeoluwa Joan
Lover of God, God’s BAE. God is involved in my race, that is why I am an EPITOME OF GRACE. Bringing to you colourful display of real life situations through my writings with the help of God.