The elder brother of a 22-year-old fashion designer, Oluwabamise Ayanwole,who was allegedly raped and murdered by the driver, of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Andrew Nice Ominikoron, Agbegunde Pelumi yesterday told a Lagos High Court sitting in Tafawa Balewa Square that his sister was a virgin and was coming to his house on a surprise visit when she was killed.
Pelumi also told the court that his sister was severely raped by two or three men when he saw her at the morgue.
He said the lower part of his sister was damaged (private part), adding that she was a virgin and was coming to his house on a surprise visit when she was killed.
Pelumi told presided over by Justice Sherifat Sonaike while he was being cross-examined by the defendant’s counsel Abayomi Omotubora.
He testified that the deceased was the last child of 10 children, adding that on February 27, 2022 which was on a Sunday, he received a call from his brother Daniel, who is based in Kano asking for their sister.
Pelumi said: “ When my brother called me to ask if I had seen Bamise, I told him that I was not at home but i would make a call to confirm if she has gotten to my house because she had a spare key to my apartment.
“I called home to find out if she was there and was told that she wasn’t. And her friend Felicia told me that Bamise was coming to my house on a surprise visit in order to be with my wife, who was heavily pregnant.
“Later on, her friend Felicia, told me that something happened while she was on the bus and she confirmed that it was a BRT bus. And I said that if she took the BRT bus she would be safe.”
“I became alarmed when her friend sent the voice note they had shared on WhatsApp before they lost track of her. So, I called my sister to report at the station,
“On Monday, we went to the BRT station- Terminal Three to report the matter but was directed to the Lagos Bus Service Limited (LBSL).
“We were referred to two Chief Security Officers and they said that none of the drivers reported a case of a missing person.
“But the officials told me to get a police report in order to access their CCTV.”
The witness said that they were badly treated at the police Station and had to go back to the LBSL where one Mr. Aluko amitted that a bus was missing.
He said that he wrote a letter to the office of the Commissioner of Transportation, the Lagos State Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA) and the state House of Assembly.
According to him, they reported the matter at the Jakande Police Division and the police boss said that it was no longer a case of a missing person but a kidnap case.
“Some guys on social media said we should release the phone number of Bamise to them because they wanted to track her number. After some time, they told us that we should go to Shagamu.
“After some time, they said the phone has left that vicinity and is around Ososa village. But we couldn’t find my sister.
“On March 7, someone said we should go and check Ebute-Ero Police Station. On getting there, we showed them the picture of my sister. My sister died on the night of 26 and the police took over the body.
“She was coming to my house, she was the only one who knew when my wife would deliver. She died because she was coming to my house,” he said amidst tears.
He further told the court that he found his sister’s body at the morgue where it was tagged unknown. “Not up to 30 minutes after, my brother called and the driver of the vehicle was apprehended.”
While Pelumi was giving evidence the voice note exchanged by the deceased and her friend was played in court and was admitted as evidence.
In the voice note exchange, the deceased said that she was alone in the bus, that the driver had refused to pick up other passengers.
Later she sent another voice message that the driver had taken a lady and three males into the bus.
Then the friend sent a message asking if she had gotten to her Bus-Stop but the message wasn’t answered.
The defence counsel Omotubora, asked that he explain what he meant by “damaged lower part.”
Describing the “damaged” pubic area, Pelumi said: “I saw traces of blood on that part.”
“She was a virgin. She was badly raped by maybe two or three men and you want me to describe that? I will not do that,” the witness said.
Earlier a banker Egwueomu Chukwurah, a business manager with First Bank, tendered the bank account statement of Maryjane Odezule, who is also a victim of the defendant.
The witness, said that on November, 25, 2021, Ominikoron sent some funds into the customers’ (Maryjane) account.
“There was a credit deposit from Ominikoron Nice to the beneficiary (Mary Odezulu) account.” he said.
During cross-examination, he stated that a customer does not need to provide proof of work in order to create a savings account with the bank.
Chukwurah agreed with the lawyer’s claim that all deposits made into the account were taken out right away.
“From the entries in that statement, since the inception there has not been a meaningful deposit of above N15000,” the lawyer asked.
The witness said, “On 19th of October, there was a deposit of N30,000 and on 22nd of October N24,000”.
“Those are the only meaningful deposits ,” the lawyer asked.
“During the period, yes,” the witness replied.
However, Omotubora objected to the testimony of the First Bank official stating that the witness was not listed in the list of witnesses to be called.
He said that the prosecution is bringing a surprise on the defendant. “It is a capital trial. My lord with due respect to the learned silk who I hold in high esteem that the state cannot afford to be shopping for witnesses,” he said.
But the prosecution led by the State Attorney-General, Moyosore Onigbanjo SAN said that Omotubora’s objection is misconstrued and unfounded.
He told the court that the witness was called upon by the court on 1May 10 to come and testify or tender documents.
Onigbanjo asked the court to discredit the submission that the defence is taken by surprise” and dismiss his objection.
In a ruling Justice Sonaike discountenanced the defence lawyer’s objection.
The Judge however, admitted and marked the bank account statement as Exhibit 7.
Another Exhibit is the Whatsapp Voice Note between Bamise and another person identified by the court as her friend Felicia.
“The Voice Note was listed to be number 10 on the notice of additional evidence dated 6th of May, 2022. Marked as Exhibit A and 8a respectively.” The judge said.
The Statement written by the deceased brother Pelumi , at the Police Station was also labelled as Exhibit 9.
Ominikoron is facing a five count charge of raping and murder preferred against him by the Lagos State Government.
He committed the offence on February 26, 2020, at Chevron bus-stop, Lekki-Ajah Expressway enroute Oshodi in February.
He was also accused of raping another passenger, Maryjane Odezelu, on 25 November last year.
When the case was called Omotubora who came late to court apologized for coming late.
He said that It was due to the unprecedented traffic jamas and that he was coming from Ikorodu.
But Justice, Sonaike told him that since he has refused to attend the court, she has directed someone else to take his position.
“I just want to serve a note of warning. Now, after today, if you fail to attend any of the court proceedings.
I will report you to the Nigerian Bar Association(NBA ) and if you come back thereafter I will report to the appropriate authority, she said.
“You’re here to protect him If you decide not to appear in court, a slightest ruling in court can take his liberty away.”
The judge said that his repeated absence is a sign of disrespect to the court.
“My Lord did not hear from me before concluding that I disrespected the court,” Omotubora said.
But the judge lambasted him and said “once you have taken up a matter, you will take it to a logical conclusion. Or else I will take it to the NBA disciplinary committee.”
He responded, “the disciplinary committee of the NBA will hear me.”
At the end of the proceedings, Omotubora apologised to the court for his repeated absence.
The court adjourned the case to October 25 and 31, 2022 for continuation of trial.