A driver, identified simply as Chukwudi, has been accused of assaulting a middle-age woman, Mrs. Furna Felix, for rejecting his sexual advances.
Felix, a mother of five, was said to be have been seated just outside her shop along Egbe Road, Ikotun, Lagos, when the incident occurred on Monday last week while in company with four of her children, the eldest of whom was 14 years old.
She said, “I sat outside my shop, waiting for my child, who was travelling from the East back to Lagos. It was about 11pm. All the other shops beside me had closed.
“My 14-year-old son was taking his bath close by, outside the shop; there was power failure. While he bathed, we conversed.”
Felix said she noticed a man on the road approaching her shop in the darkness. Uncertain about the stranger’s intentions, Felix was said to have watched him cautiously. When Chukwudi was a few metres away from her, Felix claimed he began to address her lewdly.
“It was dark, so there was no way he could have seen my face; it was just my voice he heard, talking to my son. When Chukwudi began to address me indecently, I shouted at him to leave, that I was not a prostitute. Instead, Chukwudi kept advancing towards me, saying he would pay me if I had sex with him.
“When he was close to the culvert, I jumped up from my seat. At the time, Chukwudi jumped down from the culvert to the entrance of my shop and grabbed me,” Felix said.
Unfortunately for her, she was alone at the time with her children, who were all minors. Her husband, Udechukwu, was away at a burial. Scared that Chuwkudi would rape her, Felix said she began to scream as loud as she could while holding on to her assailant’s shirt to prevent him from escaping.
Realising that his victim would not give in without a struggle, Chukwudi allegedly began to beat the housewife mercilessly, causing her to lose a tooth.
Although, the busy street was said to be deserted at the time, help came from the most unlikely quarter; from Chukwudi’s colleagues, who worked with the Cross Country Transport Company, located a few metres away.
Felix added, “His colleagues heard my screams and rushed down to my shop. They were surprised to see that the person I had a problem with was Chukwudi. They berated him and asked him what he was doing at my shop. They were the ones that stopped the assault that night.
“The next morning, I went to make a report at the Ikotun Police Division. Initially, when some policemen accompanied me to their office to identify my assailant, Chukwudi’s colleagues tried to cover up. It was not until the policemen threatened to arrest the manager that they eventually gave Chukwudi up.
“That was when I saw his face clearly for the first time because prior to the assault, I had never set my eyes on him.”
Despite the incident being reported at the station, Felix claimed that Chukwudi was never charged for assault.
The manager of CCTC was said to be unavailable but a security guard, who identified himself as Emeka, denied Felix allegations.
He said, “There was no issue of Chukwudi attempting to rape Furna; it was simply a fight. I was on duty that night. We were there when it happened. Granted, Chukwudi approached her but when she began to insult him, he got angry and began to quarrel with her. She was the one who slapped Chukwudi first and he retaliated.”
However, another worker, who identified herself as Wuraola, gave a different version. She said that Chukwudi and Felix had a fight but that it had nothing to do with rape. She claimed that the fight occurred because Chukwudi, who was drunk, had urinated in front of Felix’s shop.
Wuraola said, “The woman got angry and began to insult Chuwkudi. That was how the fight started but those of us, who were around that night, intervened. There was no issue of rape or attempted rape.”
The Lagos State Deputy Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Damasus Ozoani, when contacted, confirmed the incident. He said, “A case of attempted rape was reported at the Ikotun Police Division two weeks ago against Chukwudi. Investigation is ongoing; although it is being slowed down by the victim, who has yet to show up at the station after making the initial report.”