Raped and hustled by police, caterer recounts journey to prison without committing crime
Ayomide Idowu would have taken an erratic decision after he was raped and illegally arrested while trying to make ends meet, but instead, he chose to be positive about his horrific experience by telling his story.
“I want to share my life-threatening story so that people can learn from me,” Idowu told GuardianTV.
“It happened on June 10. I was at work that day, the work was hectic that day, I just got a call from a strange number. It was a guy’s voice I heard. I picked the call, “Hello Ayo, I saw your number on Instagram. Are you a caterer?”
Idowu answered in the affirmative.
Idowu, a 22 years old caterer, started life early after he was abandoned by his parents at 12. He decided to go to catering school from the money he saved from hawking sachet water and soft drinks for his aunty.
He halted his education to work as a chef in a hotel in Lagos and also go for outdoor catering at his spare time which he called side hustle.
Confident in his own ability to do a good job, Idowu started marketing his services on Instagram. He could have wished technology was more advanced so he could detect a harmful call from a business call.
“So I got to the venue at CMS-Ajah park, I met the guy, he took me to the place. I saw another guy, I was scared. Before I could say anything, they slapped me, the other guy beat me with sticks. They took me to an uncompleted building. They defiled me, they took my phone, the N5,000 I was with. They took my money.”
Idowu might have been a victim of weaponised rape. A few days before he got the call, he put up a post announcing himself to “queer”. But he said he was not and that the post on Instagram was put up for the fun of it.
“I am not a gay,” he said. “The reason why I wrote I am queer on a write up on my Instagram is that I just want people to be interested in my story because Nigerians they like hearing bad news and they like looking at what is strange.
“That is why I wrote I am a queer. Despite the fact that I was raped, I will never be gay.”
But Idowu’s ordeal didn’t end there that night.
The men of the Nigeria police picked him up for loitering after he escaped from his rapists. He said he tried narrating what happened to him but the policemen ignored him and arrested him for nothing.
He was asked to pay N20, 000 or be jailed. Broke with no one to help, Idowu was thrown into a cell by the policemen who arrested him. His plea of innocence, notwithstanding. He was later taken to a magistrate court, from where he was sent to jail.
“They said everybody should bring N20,000 and the money with me has been collected.
“I just accept my fate that anywhere they want to take me they should take me because I don’t have my phone with me and I don’t have my boss’s number off the head. After three days, they took me to Alausa task force (office).”
“From Alausa task force to the magistrate court, they gave me two months and two weeks (sentence).”
He said he was eventually released after a friend he met in prison testified that he knew him in court. Idowu said the judge found no reason to prosecute him as there were no evidence.
Idowu said although this happened to him but he is still optimistic about life and the passion for his job. He said the experience in the prison was also disheartening has he couldn’t get adequate medical treatment.
“On getting to prison, at the prison they have a pharmacy but it was all these expired drugs they gave me. I had to manage the paracetamol and some drugs they gave to me.”
His problem was compounded when he returned to work.
“After I came out of prison, a week after I went to my working place my boss said why didn’t I call him? I said I was in prison. He said he can’t wait that he has employed another person.”
Idowu said he has no plans to sue his rapists and the policemen who arrested him. For now, he is focusing on getting a job.