Friday Olokor and Eniola Akinkuotu
A civil rights organisation under the aegis of the Coalition of Public Interest Lawyers and Advocates on Wednesday faulted the arrest and harassment of Ms. Seyitan Babatayo after she had accused ace musician, Oladapo Daniel Oyebanjo (aka D’Banj) of allegedly raping her.
The organisation said after monitoring the development since the allegations of rape and related sexual offences came to public domain, it observed that D’Banj was enjoying preferential treatment, while the police had “muddled up and complicated the process for truth and justice in this matter.”
The Director (Human Rights and Gender) in COPA, Patrick Odey, in a statement in Abuja, therefore demanded the immediate arrest of D’Banj without further delay.
Odey, however, commended the Inspector General of Police, who ordered a comprehensive investigation into this matter, describing it as timely, necessary and expedient.
COPA said, “We refuse to concede that any person, regardless of social status, influence and standing in life, is empowered to enjoy preferential treatment over any other especially within the sector of crime detection and justice delivery in our dear nation.
“We find it odd that the first line of action of the Nigeria Police Force in a matter such as the present case is to arrest and detain the victim in an allegation, while failing to invite the accused before it for interrogation.”
Meanwhile, the United Nations says musician, Oladapo Oyebanjo, aka D’Banj, is not a UN Youth Ambassador for Peace.
The Director of Information, United Nations Information Centre for Nigeria, Joseph Kayanja, said this during an email chat with The PUNCH on Wednesday.
In 2012, D’Banj’s publicists had claimed that the musician was the first Nigerian to be appointed a UN Youth Ambassador for Peace.
Following the rape allegations levelled against D’Banj by Seyitan Babatayo, an online petition was started, calling on the UN to strip the musician of the title.
The petition on Change.org was signed by over 22,000 people as of June 24, 2020.
Responding to an inquiry, however, the UN told The PUNCH that D’Banj was never at any time given the title of ambassador by the UN.
The email read in part, “I would like to confirm that the said Mr. Oladapo Oyebanjo, aka D’Banj, is NOT a UN Ambassador. The title was accorded to him by an obscure UN youth association, which has nothing to do with the United Nations. I hope this clarifies.”
In a related development, Seyitan Babatayo, has said that the musician met with her in person and asked her to tell Nigerians that the accusations were a mere publicity stunt.
Seyitan said this in a statement on Wednesday while narrating her ordeal in the custody of the Police Intelligence Response Team led by DCP Abba Kyari.
She said she was picked up by the police on June 16, 2020 and detained in cell like a common criminal because she dared to accuse D’Banj of rape.
The lady said she was released to the custody of D’Banj and his team from where she was taken to a secret location and intimidated for several hours.