The 22-month tension-soaked trial of Adegboyega Adenekan, a Supervisor of the Chrisland School, Victoria Garden City, Lagos State, ended on Thursday with a court verdict that he should spend 60 years in prison for defiling a two-year-old pupil of the school.
Justice Sybil Nwaka of the Ikeja Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Court handed down the judgement.
Forty-seven-year-old Adenekan, who was supervising the primary section of the Chrisland School at the time of the crime, was arraigned on Jan. 29, 2018.
He was charged with defiling a two-year-and-11-month old child in the school and pleaded not guilty to the one-count charge.
The Lagos State Government said that he defiled the toddler sometime in November 2016 in the school premises.
On Feb. 6, 2018, an ex-social worker, Miss Gloria Chinoyera, opened evidence for the prosecution, narrating how the victim told her she was defiled by Adenekan.
The first prosecution witness who was led in evidence by prosecution counsel, Mrs O. Akinsete, said, “During our interaction with the child, she said that Mr Adenekan used his `wee wee’ (penis) on her `wee-wee’ (vagina) and his mouth on her `wee-wee’.”
On Feb. 12, 2018, a clinical psychologist and the second prosecution witness, Miss Olive Ogedengbe, testified before the court, during which a video showing the victim demonstrated l how she was defiled by Adenekan was played in the courtroom.
The video was shot in Ogedengbe’s office on Nov. 28, 2016. In the recording, the child was given a sheet of paper and asked to draw the private part of Adenekan, and she did draw a penis.
The child also demonstrated with a teddy bear how she was defiled by the school supervisor.
The mother of child (name withheld) testified before the court on March 21.
Led in evidence by the lead prosecution counsel, Mr Babajide Boye, the woman said she quit her job to be a full-time housewife.
According to her, the only time the child was not with her was during school hours.
The mother said that she noticed that Adenekan defiled her daughter while giving her sex education.
The victim, now four years’ old, testified on March 22, 2018, that she was defiled by Adenekan.
“He put his mouth in my `wee-wee’; the first time he did that, he took me out of the class. The second time, I ran. I tried to report to my teacher but my teacher did not believe me; so, I reported to my mummy.
“I did not like what he did, he put his hand in my `wee-wee’, he put his `wee-wee’ in my `wee-wee’ and he put his mouth in my `wee-wee’,” she told the court.
Dr Oluwatoyin Olayioye, a medical doctor, corroborated the victim’s testimony on June 29, 2018.
“Our findings revealed blunt penetration injuries which could be as a result of penile penetration, finger penetration or blunt force injury,” Olayioye said.
On July 4, 2018, – Mr Adebayo Falola, a polygraph expert and security consultant with the Halogen Security Company Ltd., told that court that Adenekan failed a polygraph (lie detection) test.
Falola, also a prosecution witness, testified that the result was 99.9 per cent accurate.
“The results are in three stages which are deceptive, non-deceptive and inconclusive.
“The outcome of this was minus nine which showed that Adenekan was deceptive to the case under investigation as at that time,” Falola said.
Following an objection by Mr Olatunde Adejuyigbe (SAN) to the admissibility of the results of the polygraph test, Nwaka on Nov. 1, 2018, rejected the results of the test.
The test was rejected on the grounds that polygraph evidence had not yet been recognised by Nigerian courts.
On March 14, 2019, prosecution closed its case with evidence by DSP Adenike Ayanleye, the Police Investigating Officer (IPO).
A video clip of the child being interviewed by the IPO was played in the courtroom.
In the clip, the child was asked by Ayanleye how many times Adenekan put his “wee-wee” into her “wee-wee”, and she responded, “Two times.”
Defence, on April 15, 2019, filed a no-case submission, stating that prosecution failed to prove its case against Adenekan.
It said that the state did not provide the essential ingredients to establish a case of defilement, but Nwaka dismissed the no-case submission and ordered Adenekan to open his defence.
“The court is of the view that the defendant has a case to answer, and as such, the defendant should open his defence,” she said.
In response, defence, on June 14, 2019, opened it case with evidence by two staff of Chrisland School – Mrs Cecilia Olayiwola, a teacher at the nursery section of the school, and Mrs Angela Modebe, the Head Teacher of the nursery section of the VGC branch of the school.
Modebe said, “As head teacher, when l heard the alleged incident, l called two of the supervisors under me, Mrs Adejoke and Mrs Erere, to know if there was a time the child left the class unattended to; they said, No,’’ she said.
Modebe said that she believed Adenekan did not commit the offence, adding that he always kept to himself at work and minded his business.
In her evidence, Olayiwola, said: “It was probably all the sex talks/sex education that the child has been hearing from her mother that made her to have a wild imagination.
“The girl’s mother came to my house asking for Mr Adenekan’s number after confiding in me that her daughter was sexually abused by him.
Ms Ruth Inuegbu, the Assistant Class Teacher of the victim, testified on June 16, 2019, as the third defence witness and Mrs Adeola Adebola, the Deputy-Head Teacher of the Nursery School Section of the VGC branch of the School testified as the fourth defence witness.
Inuegbu said she found the allegations of defilement against Adenekan to be strange.
“I am the class assistant to Mrs Adejoke Erere, the child’s class teacher. The defendant never came to our class to sit with the child as alleged by the mother.
“The defendant does not come to our assembly ground because he is in primary while we are in nursery,” she said.
In her evidence, Adebola claimed that the toddler was tutored by her mother to make the allegations.
“We don’t have a male class teacher in the nursery section. School starts by 8a.m., and by 7.30a.m, we expect children to be in school. It is only the class teacher and an assistant who can go with children to the bathroom.
“The defendant does not participate in our assembly because the assembly ground is different from where he is.
“He is the supervisor of upper primary. I and the head teacher go round the school to ensure that things are done appropriately,” she said.
In his defence, Adenekan, on June 25, 2019, denied committing the offence.
Adenekan told the court that he had an unblemished 23-year reputation in educating children.
“It is only an insane person with a devilish mind, that will do that to a two-year-old.
Children are to be protected. I am a believer of moral values, I believe it, I teach and preach it in church.
“I don’t have any private or personal relationship with the complainant, her friend or any child either in the nursery or primary section of the school. I never exposed my manhood to the complainant.
“It is not true that I failed the polygraph test. I believe the polygraph test was manipulated which was orchestrated by the complainant’s mother and the official of Halogen Securities for their evil agenda,” he said.
While cross-examining Adenekan on June 26, 2019, prosecution told the court that he defiled two other pupils of the school, and that the parents of the pupils withdrew them from Chrisland School following the defilement.
At the end of trial, the judge revoked the bail granted to Adenekan and ordered that he should be kept in the Kirikiri Prisons pending judgment in the case.
Dissatisfied with the developments, Adenekan, on Oct. 15, 2019, petitioned the National Judicial Council, accusing the judge of bias.
His counsel, Mrs M. Obifarinde, in an application, requested that Nwaka should recuse herself from the case.
However, on Oct. 18, 2019, defence and prosecution adopted their final written addresses, with defence saying that prosecution failed to provide evidence of how the child left her classroom to be defiled by Adenekan.
The prosecution insisted it was able to establish that Adenekan defiled the toddler and that the child gave an unequivocal and consistent account of what happened to her.
Oct. 24, 2019, Nwaka found Adenekan guilty as charged and sentenced him to 60 years’ imprisonment.