Seyitan Babatayo, who accused popular Nigerian singer, D’banj, of raping her has been ‘forced’ to delete her tweets detailing her encounter with the singer in 2018, her lawyers told PREMIUM TIMES Wednesday.
Ms Babatayo’s lawyer, Olamide Omileye of Ojoge, Omileye, and Partners, told this newspaper that their client deleted the tweets under duress while in police custody on Tuesday.
According to him, Ms Babatayo was forced to post new tweets claiming that she was not arrested and that she wanted to move on from everything.
“They forced her to make those new tweets when she was in custody. They forced her to delete all her tweets and intimidated the hell out of her life,” he said.
PREMIUM TIMES reported that Ms. Babatayo was picked up by policemen from Sodipo command as confirmed by her legal representatives.
Ms. Babatayo’s lawyers also said the issue has escalated beyond her expectations as she was only out “to speak her truth, tell her story so everybody can move on”.
“The girl has been so traumatised since she was released. She couldn’t believe it. When she was relating what happened to us yesterday, she was crying so much that.
“She said she slept in the same room, on the floor with criminals. She couldn’t believe that she was made to go through that by the Nigerian Police, just because she wanted to tell her own story,” they said.
The Lagos Police Public Relations Officer, Bala Elkana, did not pick calls to his mobile and had yet to reply to an inquiry on Ms Babatayo’s allegations as of press time.
Group condemns arrest
A biennial public policy forum, Nigerian Feminist Forum, in a statement on Wednesday strongly condemned Ms. Babatayo’s arrest.
They described her arrest as an attempt to “victimise, silence, intimidate and subject her to cruel and degrading treatment.”
“Ms Babatayo made this report on twitter a few weeks ago and on June 16, 2020, was arrested by men of the Nigerian police force at the Sodipo Command, Ikeja, Lagos.
“She was detained for many hours and access to her lawyer and other activists willing to intervene was denied. During the course of detention, her phone was allegedly confiscated while her tweets accusing Oladapo Daniel Oyebanjo have been deleted, barring one,” their statement partly read.
The group also added that it is important to create an opportunity for victims of sexual assault to report and out their abusers in a pursuit for justice.
“Law enforcement officials should not be used by persons with perceived popularity or power to abuse persons who might have a legitimate claim against them,” their release read in part.
The group also told this newspaper that their planned press conference scheduled for Thursday morning in Lagos, has been suspended. According to them, Ms. Babatayo was expected to address the media at the gathering.
“Ms. Babatayo is not in a good frame of mind. She is broken after what she went through on Tuesday. Her detention and the intimidation she received from the police have really devastated her, “ the group explained.
A Nigerian model scout, Benjamin Ese, alleged that D’banj (real name Dapo Oyebanjo) raped his friend on December 31, 2018, at Glee Hotel in Victoria Island, Lagos.
After the accusation made on June 3, the lady came out to reveal herself and give her account of her encounter with D’banj.
She, thereafter, demanded a public apology from the entertainer through her lawyers.
On June 15, D’banj, through his lawyer, Mike Ozekhome, sued Ms Babatayo and demanded N100 million as compensation for falsely accusing him of rape.
In a letter signed by Mr Ozekhome, a senior advocate of Nigeria, and addressed to Ms Babatayo’s lawyers, the singer demanded that his accuser pays the sum within 48 hours or risk legal action.
In the same letter, the singer also demanded that a letter of apology and retraction of her statements be written by his accuser and published in four national dailies.