Mrs Ajoke Agomo, who was tortured alongside two of her wards for allegedly stealing pepper, on Thursday, May 21, 2015 appealed for justice in their case at a High Court in Ikeja Lagos State.
Agomo made the plea while testifying at the trial of 10 persons accused of committing the crime at the Oba Morufu International Market in Ejigbo, in Lagos, on February 11, 2013.
The defendants are being prosecuted before Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye by the Lagos State Directorate of Public Prosecutions.
Among the defendants are the market leader, Isiaka Waidi (61), Buhari Yusuf (22), Abdullahi Haruna (20) and Saheed Adisa (29).
Others are Lateef Tijani (37), Ahmed Adisa (65),Azeez Akinosun (36), Jimoh Busari (50), Adekunle Adenuga (38) and Oloruntoyin Dauda (46), the woman leader of the market.
The defendants are facing a 19-count charge bordering on conspiracy, attempted murder, sexual assault, maliciously administering poison, obtaining money by false pretences and deprivation of liberty.
The Directorate of Public Prosecutions, led by Mrs Idowu Alakija, alleged that the defendants, who are members of the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), had tortured Agomo, her daughter, Nike Salami and her step daughter, Juliana Agomo.
Earlier during the proceedings, the court granted a N250,000 bail to each of the defendants with two sureties in like sum.
The prosecution thereafter proceeded to call its first witness, Agomo, who narrated their ordeal in an emotion laden voice which was translated to both English and Hausa Languages.
Agomo told the court how the first defendant (Waidi) came to her house on the day of the incident looking for her daughter, Nike, and forcefully took her to the market over allegations of theft.
The witness said she ran out to look for her husband and both of them proceeded to the market to meet Juliana and Nike naked and being tortured.
“The first defendant now pulled me over, stripped me naked and rubbed pepper mixed with hot gin on my face and private part.
“They used cane to beat me up saying that I am the mother of thieves,” Agomo said.
She said her children were subjected to the same treatment despite her appeals to the woman leader of the market.
According to her, they later demanded N250,000 from her husband for their release but he only managed to raise N20,000.
The witness said, “After so much pleading, they finally accepted the money and allowed us to go.
“The first defendant later came to our house and told the owner to eject us, which he did out of fear.
“We started sleeping at a mechanic workshop and the little baby I was taking care of died during the process.
“I am not saying that anybody caused it but it was because we were sleeping on the street.”
She said following the development, her husband raised some money and she relocated to her home town where she was told to forget the traumatic experience.
Agomo said it was in December 2013 that a human rights activist, Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin, traced her to the place after watching a viral video of the incident.
According to her, the police later came and took her to the State Anti-Robbery Squad office in Lagos and took her statement for further investigations.
“I was later told that they have arrested the people who did it.
“I want the court to do justice,” she said.
The case was adjourned till July 14, 15 and 16 for cross-examination of the witness.