Two dropouts of Babcock University, accused of drugging and gang-raping a woman in a hotel in Lekki, Lagos, have been asked to open their defence.
Justice Abiola Soladoye of an Ikeja Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Court, gave the order on Thursday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Don-Chima George and Segun Razak, are charged with two counts of conspiracy and rape.
They are alleged to have drugged and gang-raped the complainant (name withheld) on February 3, 2019, from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. at De-Lankaster Hotels, Lekki Phase 1, Lagos.
Counsel to the defendants, Adebambo Adesanya, a senior advocate of Nigeria, had filed a no-case submission, stating that the prosecution has not brought a prima facie case against the defendants.
Mr Adesanya had urged the court to discharge and acquit the defendants based on insufficient evidence.
The prosecution led by Shola Soneye had, however, opposed the application of the defence.
The prosecution argued that it is the court’s discretion to evaluate the evidence only when the evidence of the prosecution and defence witnesses are before it.
Mrs Soladoye, in a ruling on Thursday, said that she had considered the arguments of counsel in the no-case submission vis-a-vis the evidence before the court.
“I am satisfied that based on the evidence before the court, it is required that there has to be some form of explanation from each of the two defendants on the allegations proffered against them.
“The defendants are therefore called upon to open their defence. I so hold,” she said.
NAN reports that on May 15, 2019, the 24-year-old complainant had testified that she had gone with the defendants to Kabaal nightclub located in Ikoyi, Lagos, to celebrate the birthday of George, who was her friend.
At the nightclub, the defendants allegedly mixed her drink with a substance, which rendered her unconscious, after a while.
She alleged that she was taken to a room at George’s father’s hotel, where the defendants took turns to rape her and record their actions on a mobile phone.
The complainant has so far been the sole witness presented by the prosecution in the case.
The offence, the prosecution said, contravened the provisions of sections 258 and 409 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.
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