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Saturday, 5 July 2014

How police removed 'murder' charge against Ejigbo "pepper-trators" - by Joe Odumakin

Dr Joe Odumakin (pictured right) is a women's rights activist and the president of the rights groups, Women Arise for Change Initiative. She spearheaded the arrest of the men who tortured three Ejigbo women last year. The men were recently arraigned in court for conspiring to murder. But it's no longer certain that one of the victims, Juliana, is dead. What Dr. Joe wrote below...
Until that day some two months ago after we returned from Benin Republic to get clearance from their Interpol to excavate Juliana's body on forensic examination, I still carried the believe in my head that Juliana was underneath the mold of earth, near which I stood to promise her justice.
Maybe till now, I still do, because it sounds strange and mysterious to me that a family we had stood solidly for, even when we were yet to know or meet with them, carrying out protests and disturbing every institution for investigations, would turn back and suddenly change their story, which they made us in turn share to the world. Continue..

That voice from Baba-Ibeji as we journeyed to the Federal SARS office to collect feedback from the police on their meeting with the Interpol in Benin still resonates in my ears; "Doctor, I am sorry I did not tell you this before. Maybe it was the informant's fault that she told us to always maintain that Juliana was dead until all is over". That was Baba-Ibeji's voice, Juliana's father, known in the Ejigbo pepper sodomy case as the Palm wine tapper.

 
I thought I did not hear him well, he said it again, in imbalanced Yoruba language. I was confused, I asked what he meant. After his explanations, it dawned slowly on me that it must be the reason they had sent for me from the Federal SARS, asking me to bring him and his son along.

 
We had gone with the Police team from Nigeria to Benin Republic, with mission to gain easy permission to exhume the corpse for forensic check. However the day finished without achieving it. I had to return to Lagos very late that night from Benin Republic to catch flight back to Abuja, the National Confab required my input.

 
But we left the police over there, to continue with the assignment. We had thought we would do the forensics same day, but that did not happen due to long process of obtaining clearance from their Interpol.

 
I left late that night for Lagos. But Baba-Ibeji did not tell me what they told their own police in Benin Republic, and now to Nigeria's police when they arrived their yard for the assignment. We had communicated many times after then. But he did not still tell me they had a new story for the police than I knew, of Juliana's death.

 
Now in the car, he explained that Juliana was not physically dead, but that he thought we were the same (Women Arise) with the informant who brought him to us and collected the reward announced by the Lagos State House of Assembly. He said the woman (the informant) knew about it from day one, that Juliana was not physically dead to their knowledge, but got missing and was concluded to have died. He said he thought I also knew about the informant's position, asking that they maintain that she was dead whenever asked.

Terribly, I got disturbed!

I immediately began to think of many things; how I had gone to the grave; how I had made promises for justice at the grave site (which I was just being told no longer belongs to Juliana); how I had made the world believe the same thing I was told about Juliana's death; all the efforts; my integrity...and the rest.

We were on the third mainland bridge and heading for Adeniji Adele, office of the Federal SARS. I felt like jumping out on the car and into the lagoon. The day was saved by two men in the car with me asides from the palm wine tapper. Leye, the Women Arise Project Officer and Segun O'Law, the citizen reporter who had been capturing footages and rendering a documentary from the case. Himself, O'Law, almost broke down, but as he saw me go mute, thinning and profusely sweating, he grew himself back into the characteristic of a man so as to help me pull up fair approximation to a balance. I wanted to probe further, but O'Law cut it, making him suspend any further explanation yet, until we reached our destination. I understand O'Law wanted me to gain a some recovery from the shock first, before we'd proceed on that, but I was anxious.

O'Law prevailed, laying off the discussion temporarily. But I had almost lost sense of myself.

We assembled on the Federal SARS premises, and decided to talk further before going in to meet our prospective host. I had lost my appetite, but was famished. I knew more that day, that a worried mind is a quick drain pipe of body fluids. I could not tell difference between my own mass (or how flexible it felt at that time) from the size of a broom stick. I felt lighter for what a little amount of breeze would displace. My vision blurred, and I fast dazed.

Suddenly, our prospective host stepped out. He was leaving for other assignment. The officer noticed something was wrong with me and spent a great deal of time chatting with us about others things. He requested we fix another time, between when he called me to say he understood what had happened to me, which was his reason for fixing another time.

Sincerely, words cannot capture it. I thought I would not survive it. Nothing ever shocked or shook me like that. It was like a magnitude of tsunami capable off throwing a city into irreparable calamity hitting me. had been tortured by the military, jailed, shot on my leg, robbed in gun point and faced multiple tragedies, they did not shake me as such. But something threatening my integrity was a worse hit. What would I tell the world now, whose attention I had turned on the Ejigbo case?

I began calling all that stood with us since start of the case. I called in the OPD officials, who are in collaboration with us on the matter. I hinted them. More people entered the disturbance.

Long story short, we invited the OPD attorney along for the next day fixed for meeting at the Federal SARS. Now, we were formally made aware of the news; we could not establish "murder" in the case, because victim's family said they weren't sure she physically died, but they had only buried her spirit in line with certain traditional practice. Baba-Ibeji insisted it was their practice to call over and bury the spirit of a person that has been missing for a long time, and later presumed to be dead. He said in their culture, if they called such person's spirit, who had gone missing for a while, the person would return. Otherwise, the person is dead. I had heard about people using charms to call their children home from abroad, they were distant stories yet, until Baba-Ibeji's strange narrations here. Even if that was, we had become too close not to have disclosed that to me, even till the moment I insisted he showed to me the grave site and I traveled with our team to see it in Porto Novo.

His excuse; he thought the informant woman was part of our team, and he already disclosed that to her when she located him and brought him to us for the announced reward. He said the informant told him not to say that again, but to simply say she was dead. O'Law then wondered aloud; "but you burst into tears the day we asked you about Juliana and it was in tears you announced to us that she died. Was that part of a rehearsed line with the informant", no convincing answer came.

So, the police would charge the suspects (the "pepper-trators" as O'Law called them in the documentary) only for inflicting bodily injuries, attempted murder and all the sorts. No murder charge, but is Juliana alive?

Although the police also said they met with local chiefs in the victim's village and were told Juliana is alive and had even just had a baby in a local hospital there, Baba-Ibeji insisted their rite never failed and that Juliana is dead since she did not return after the rite. I, OPD, Baba-Ibeji, O'Law and the entire Women Arise team kept asking, and till now, who saw Juliana and where is she? No answer yet. If the police claimed Juliana was not yet dead from what they were told by locals in Benin Republic and therefore expunged allegation of murder from the charges, it behooves of the institution to probe further and help locate Juliana; that I insist on. It will be my greatest joy if Juliana is not dead, so she will come and tell the world her own story, herself.

 
I still believed something must have changed the story with the family, perhaps, Juliana is in that tomb.
Could they have been bribed to change the story? But I give him and family some money each time we see so that they don't feel lack as such. Could the family possibly be afraid at the news that police wants to excavate the tomb for forensics and therefore claim she is not in it? Could this be; or could that be? Many questions, no answer.

I asked him if the police could still go ahead and open the tomb, at least to confirm if Juliana was buried there or not. But "No", he said.

The palm wine tapper insisted it was abominable for any corpse ever buried in their culture to be opened for any reason whatsoever. Even though I respect people's diverse cultures and traditional practices, my doubt for him on this one grew, yet more.

He said there was a body buried in that tomb he showed us but it belonged to his own mother. By practice, he said, missing Juliana's spirit was called to join his own late mother in his tomb. He said by that rite, if Juliana was still alive even though missing, she would return home, but after more than a period of eight months if she did not return after that rite, then it could only mean she is dead.

And dead, they had concluded, since it was abundantly more than a year yet she was missing and the rite to find or bury her had been conducted (according to Baba-Ibeji, the palm wine tapper). What I should add is that it was in a herbalist place in their hometown that she was taken for treatment, and one day they got there to the news that she walked away from there and had not been found ever since. Although another account has it that a man came to pick her from the herbalist place and later they saw her having a baby in a local hospital. Whichever is true, she was missing and by their rite, she was dead from there. Otherwise, the rite would have brought her back home; some Nollywood kind of story, you know!

I still have some bothering and we need help as under listed;

1. Since Baba-Ibeji keeps denying his daughter is still alive, even as the police claims so, the police could just help prove beyond doubt that she exists. Simply bring her out. Although I understand they could not continue to hold the suspects in detention but had to take them to court, listing some charges. So, they had to remove "murder" for now that there is doubt as to that claim. However, public opinion still charges murder, except otherwise those who claimed they saw her bring her for us all to see

2. Where was Juliana last seen by those who claimed they saw her having a baby in a hospital. Does the hospital have no name? baba-Ibeji should tell the police where the herbalist is, so he can tell us how a "patient" suddenly got missing. If she is dead, we should have her body, not bury her "spirit"

3. From the gruesome video which brought this case to world attention, it was clear to everyone that "someone" could die from that long moment of violent organic torture; including "pepper-trating" her genitals with help of hard sticks; terrific!

4. Does anyone know Ajase in Benin Republic well? Are u aware of any culture against forensic examination of dead persons?

5. Who has seen Juliana? Please we'd love to see her too, if you have any information that she still alive, please be generous with information and kindly share

6. If I see Juliana today, or any day after, the "pepper-trators" can still be validly charged for the offences for which they were arraigned last week. But if not, then, where is Juliana?

Dr. Joe Odumakin is President of Women Arise!
t: @DrJoeOdumakin
f: facebook.com/jokeiodumakin
web: www.DrJoeOdumakin.com

50 Comments:

  • At 5 July 2014 at 11:48 , Blogger ONYX GODWIN said...

    lol!! "peper-trators" !! lol

     
  • At 5 July 2014 at 11:50 , Blogger Shoutozone said...

    Dis story is just too twisted dat i almst got lost at som point. Plus d passage is too long. Well, I pray dey find her

     
  • At 5 July 2014 at 11:51 , Blogger wilheminna moses said...

    This comment has been removed by the author.

     
  • At 5 July 2014 at 11:54 , Blogger wilheminna moses said...

    Maybe that's d way God wants it....so de'll be free.....whatelse do u want to know madam since u cnt open the tomb? Family said she's nt there, so she's not there. Hian! Ikoro gbago, ikoro gbada!

     
  • At 5 July 2014 at 11:54 , Blogger Ada Mazi said...

    Something is definitely fishing. I think the girl's father is hiding something. Pertinent questions were raised by Dr. Joe. If only the police can probe further!

     
  • At 5 July 2014 at 11:56 , Blogger CHERRY said...

    Too long,well seen

     
  • At 5 July 2014 at 11:57 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Hmmmm,corruption when will it be cleansed from our blood#it begins with you#
    @teemunza

     
  • At 5 July 2014 at 11:58 , Blogger BONARIO NNAGS said...

    Pheew! Shock waves flowed down my spine as I read this, if people could use their children for ritual purposes, then no stone should be left unturned at ascertaining what actually happened to Juliana.
    I smell a big rat, the body language of baba Ibeji says alot, this type of reluctance by a bereaved family is quite disturbing and suspicious.
    If she's alive as they claim, why not bring her out to be identified. Instead of horridly concluding a human being whose strand of hair you can't create is dead and forgotten.
    Baba Ibeji has a lot to explain. People can do anything coz of money.
    I feel for the poor woman. Whom justice still eludes even at death.

    ~BONARIO~says so via NOKIA LUMIA

     
  • At 5 July 2014 at 11:58 , Blogger Ronii Davies said...

    All this is so confusing.. Her family must be hiding something.

     
  • At 5 July 2014 at 12:00 , Blogger bonita bislam said...

    Whew! Many twists to this story.I can't believe in this age people still have such fetish belif of calling spirits and all that.Hmm the truth will gradually unfold.patiently waiting

     
  • At 5 July 2014 at 12:01 , Blogger eddo oluwafunke said...

    Hmmmm! Naija o!
    Mamafunkky@gmail.com

     
  • At 5 July 2014 at 12:03 , Blogger TeeDayo said...

    Wow.this case has gone beyond control.I can imagine hw she felt wen she said ''I felt like jumping out on the car and into the lagoon'' so much 4a case dt so many resources and time has gone in2 yet notin useful or helpful to find Juliana.The questions asked really need answers,the police,the herbalist,her dad and all who has info on her.I hpe dey can finally close d case on whether murder wud be added or whether she's alive to avoid such

     
  • At 5 July 2014 at 12:05 , Blogger Olaleye Adisa said...

    Hahaha Nigerian police But why? Dia is God ooooO. ⌣̊┈̥-̶̯͡»̶̥♡thanks ⌣̊┈̥-̶̯͡»̶̥ 

     
  • At 5 July 2014 at 12:05 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Oya Juliana come here. Pretex4luv@yahoo.com

     
  • At 5 July 2014 at 12:07 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Oya Juliana come here. Awuziekenonso@yahoo.com

     
  • At 5 July 2014 at 12:19 , Anonymous Amarachukwu. said...

    This case has gone out of hand.

     
  • At 5 July 2014 at 12:22 , Blogger hilary obiorah said...

    Hmmm, misinformation, so why now? Why are we just getting this info now?

     
  • At 5 July 2014 at 12:25 , Blogger Badoo of Toronto said...

    The baba ibeji is a liar...as in..he needs to be arrested

     
  • At 5 July 2014 at 12:29 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Why are you so local and fucking razz Bia, you have a problem ooo..anuofia!

     
  • At 5 July 2014 at 12:32 , Blogger iFy orams said...

    Biko linda nwa ikeji dis is a long essay oo biko next time u cut it short. Anyway na najia tinz..lol

     
  • At 5 July 2014 at 12:40 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    dr joe keep on d good work you doing,don't allow things like this to discourage you.baba-ijebu has a lot of explaination to do

     
  • At 5 July 2014 at 12:41 , Blogger UcheeGod said...

    Are you OK? Isi ogbakaala gi? Anu Mpam. ...Anumanu!!!

     
  • At 5 July 2014 at 12:46 , Anonymous Bewaji Olanrewaju said...

    Hmmm, reminds me of that famous yoruba program Nkan Bee! life is really stranger than fiction, but aside the mystery in a civilized and modern society the law supersedes the customs, the police should go the whole yard full throttle rather than settle for less, sets a bad example and a wrong signal, what our value of human life, that we cannot use our resources to reach a conclusion

     
  • At 5 July 2014 at 13:00 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Baba ibeji should be arrested and seriously questioned, there are lots of things he is not telling them I don't think their is any father that will watch a video of how is daugther is tortured like that and just asume she is dead without seeing her body. Besides, what about the informant woman? She should be asked questions too.

     
  • At 5 July 2014 at 13:02 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    This is quiet pathetic... Indeed! Truth will prevail, continue your good work for humanity Dr. Odumakin! Don't be deterred!

     
  • At 5 July 2014 at 13:18 , Anonymous David (dave_gino) said...

    Which one be peppertrator again, Oniontrator nko?! Oh my gosh, Initially thought it was a typo-error, not until I saw it in another paragraph.

    Well, no one can be trusted. You can imagine a family playing cards with their own daughter's life. I don't even know who's lying here, la, Dr. Joe wouldn't rub her face with feaces, I know that too well of her. Perhaps, some people are just trying to bring down her good work. But I tell you what; they won't succeed.
    But who does keep information that are not personal in the head 'only' these day. I think that's where she made a mistake in this narrates. What happen to pen and paper, video and audio clips.
    She had better learn from this.
    Please don't jump into the lagoon. You are too precious for us to loose at this point. Infact, we love you more than you know.
    ..............................................
    This story is as sweet as honey. Sweeter than those we read in elementary and high school as near as I can remember. Well organized and discharged. Feel like reading more of it.
    The writing mechanism of this piece made my weekend. Thank you Dr. Joe.

     
  • At 5 July 2014 at 13:21 , Anonymous David (dave_gino) said...

    Guess this people must be "lazy ready". Lazy Reader, did you change your name or I'm I wrong on this??

     
  • At 5 July 2014 at 13:31 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Some people sha. They just remain stupid no matter how much u try to help them

     
  • At 5 July 2014 at 13:35 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    You never have anything meaningful to say. As good looking as you are...smh

     
  • At 5 July 2014 at 14:00 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Baba ijebu has been bribed to keep shut. Check him after the trial and he will suddenly become wealthy useless father

     
  • At 5 July 2014 at 14:01 , Blogger lindabella ogbonna said...

    Something big is really fishing out. Baba ibeji should confess.

     
  • At 5 July 2014 at 14:11 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Hmmmm,something is definately fishy,maybe sm1 has gone to threaten dem or maybe dey r scared of something,only God knows.baba ibeji has lot of answering to do.

     
  • At 5 July 2014 at 14:28 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I can identify with the woman's feelings. Could she have been fooled all along? Her integrity,time,energy and resource; all a colossal waste? Her questions begs for answers.

     
  • At 5 July 2014 at 14:39 , Anonymous David (dave_gino) said...

    Disclaimer: Opinions expressed in comments are
    those of the comment writers alone and does not
    reflect or represent the views of Linda Ikeji.

     
  • At 5 July 2014 at 14:51 , Blogger samuel oluwakayode said...

    Hmmmn...in other news,oau shld be opened pls

     
  • At 5 July 2014 at 14:54 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    nawao. patoswife@gmail.com

     
  • At 5 July 2014 at 14:57 , Blogger charles obanor said...

    Hmmm...i no jst trust tht palm wine tapping dude..e b like say dem don give am sometin to forget d case...

    C.E.O

     
  • At 5 July 2014 at 14:57 , Blogger Opelicious Morgann said...

    Hmmmmmmn. Too many questions, so many puzzles....all resulting in headache. Let us use our own jazz to get Juliana back too, abi?

     
  • At 5 July 2014 at 15:26 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    is too long ooo ...nkemdirimeverista111@gmail.com

     
  • At 5 July 2014 at 15:51 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Oya juliana won play them defiantly her dad must knw her where about that's sure. Tneyoth@yahoo.com

     
  • At 5 July 2014 at 16:12 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Arrest Baba Ibeji, lock him up in Kirikiri, put pepper in his privates & watch him spill out the truth. Who believes in custom? Let the police excavate that grave with or without the family's consent. So says; sainatasha80@gmail.com

     
  • At 5 July 2014 at 16:27 , Anonymous CharlesEndy a.k.a Dr.Pepper said...

    ...but the police can help demystify this whole twist if they are sincere and willing to so do.

     
  • At 5 July 2014 at 17:15 , Blogger Uugoluv gracy said...

    Baba ibeji is hiddn something. Ugochi4luv25@yahoo.com

     
  • At 5 July 2014 at 17:19 , Anonymous APPLE said...

    NIGERIA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

     
  • At 5 July 2014 at 17:55 , Blogger tra may said...

    they should question dat father and if they dont find her body they should charge them for murder.

     
  • At 6 July 2014 at 02:45 , Blogger Debbie Adebayo said...

    Dr Joe Odumakin has an intense exaggerated and animated style of putting her points across, same style she used at the video viewing in which she described her horror at seeing the torture of those helpless women is the same i saw through out this narrative but we must know that whipping up emotions and sentiments can not win a case in a court of law.
    let us work with the facts as we know now, if Juliana can not be found what about the other two women, those bastards can still be charged with attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon and sexual violation of a minor,those charges put together can put those demons away for upwards of 25 years, so the good doctor should do her homework well and prepare a water tight case with the evidence they already have instead of crying over spilt milk.

     
  • At 6 July 2014 at 05:29 , Blogger Shina Shine said...

    no comment



    BORN TO SHINE!!!!

     
  • At 6 July 2014 at 09:09 , Blogger Adejoke Uthman said...

    So sad for my dear own country, nothing spoil at all u believe they've bribed d baba ibeji to change his story and I also believe d girl is truly dead. But shame on d man if bcos of money he could you wit his own blood soul like dis so sad. May God see u through Dr joe dats Nija for us where d righteous are falling. May Hod take control of d whole scenario and shame whoever or group of pple who doesn't want justice to prevail Amen.

     
  • At 6 July 2014 at 17:25 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    dr joe, that ur baba ibeji is a born liar and a traitor. God will arrest him until he says the truth he will not rest. he has been bribed. wicked man

     
  • At 6 July 2014 at 20:53 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Na wa ooo

     

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