More trouble for D’banj over rape claim

Pressure is mounting on the United Nations (UN) and United Nations Women Africa organisations to strip multiple award winning Nigerian artiste, Dapo Oyebanjo popularly called D’banj, as a youth ambassador on account of the allegation of rape and sexual assault against him.

As at 6.30pm on Friday over 16,000 people had signed a petition to the UN to sanction D’Banj.

The petition was initiated only on Thursday by one E. Popoola.

Popoola is seeking 25000 signatories on change.org for “Petition for United Nations to remove Nigerian Artiste D’banj as a Youth Ambassador”.

The petitioner wants the UN and UN Women Africa organisations to “remove Nigerian artiste Mr Dapo Oyebanjo as a youth ambassador and distance themselves from his actions following the sponsored kidnap of Seyitan (Babatayo) who accused D’banj of rape and sexual assault which happened in 2018.

“Women in Nigeria are increasingly at risk of sexual violence and the United Nations and United Nations Women Africa as an entity committed to the empowerment of women should not be seen to associate themselves with alleged rapists, abusers and kidnappers.

“We ask the United Nations and United Nations Women Africa to support and lend their influence in helping Seyitan get justice for the abuse she endured in 2018 and the harassment and bullying in the past weeks.

“We also call the attention of brands such as Heritage Bank Africa, One Africa, CSA Global and other establishments associated with Mr. Oyebanjo to end their commercial relationship with him and stand in support of victims of sexual violence.”

The police are currently investigating the rape allegation.

Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu had directed the Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Force Criminal Investigation Department to thoroughly probe the rape allegation on the strength of a petition by Seyitan Babatayo’s solicitors.

D’Banj’s albatross

Ironically, D’banj had added his voice to the wave of condemnations that trailed the recent rape and murder of 22-year-old Uwa Omozuwa in Benin.

The Kokomaster had barely shared a plain black picture with the caption, “#NoMeansNo We Need to Raise Our Sons right and Teach them to love and Respect Women. We Need Justice for Our GIRLS…Say NO to Rape, Racism, tribalism. Let us stop living in FEAR and HATE, and start living in LOVE,” when a talent and model scout, Benjamin Ese, accused him of being a rapist.

That was on Wednesday, June 3.

The allegation crept into the consciousness of the public, who had been infuriated by the death of Omozua. The focus – especially on Twitter – promptly shifted from the act to celebrities and business entrepreneurs, who have been accused of rape allegations.

D’banj’s name became a recurring one all through the week even.

The accusation and victim

One Benjamin Ese took to Instagram and Twitter to allege that the singer raped his friend on December 31, 2018, at Glee hotel on Victoria Island, Lagos. Initially, Ese didn’t reveal the name of his friend as Seyitan Babatayo, until June 10 when she demanded a public apology to move on with life after allegedly going through trauma.

Babatayo’s solicitors, Ojoge, Omileye, and Partners, demanded a public apology from D’banj on behalf of the alleged victim.

“We need to state that our client is not concerned about the media in the pursuit of her justice. All she wanted is to heal from her hurt and live the normal life she was living before the unfortunate event of December 31, 2018,” Babatayo’s solicitors said.

The solicitors also cited D’banj’s Instagram post on June 3 in support of the fight against rape as his albatross. “It was the (D’banj’s) post of June 3, 2020, that triggered our client’s memory and she almost had a relapse from her healing process. That was the major reason why our client had to tell her story and latterly demand an apology from the man that has caused the damaging hurt to her person,” Babatayo’s lawyers noted.

A few days after, Babatayo was alleged to have been arrested by the police on the instructions of D’banj and his handlers. The allegation of arrest was debunked by Babatayo on her Twitter account saying she was not arrested and has moved on with her life.

However, media personality Dorcas Shola Fapson and gender activist, Oluwaseun Ayodeji Osowobi, insisted Babatayo was arrested and detained before her eventual release.

D’banj reacts a week after 40th birthday

Exactly one week after D’banj celebrated his 40th birthday on June 9, the singer and father of one reacted to the rape allegations.

D’banj wrote: “Today is exactly 1 week after my birthday and this will be the only time I will address the recent false allegations and lies from the pit of hell. I have chosen to do so because the incident is a slap to my marriage and my beautiful wife, my entire family, and those who believe in me.

“I did not want to dignify the slurs with a response but it appears my silence has empowered my accusation and are false and ludicrous and have been handed over to my Legal Team, while the Police is investigating the criminal aspect of it.

“It’s unfortunate that this is coming a few weeks before the second anniversary of my late son Daniel and this well-timed falsehood has reopened the painful scars of my deep loss. To my fans and loved ones, thanks for the support, your prayers, and your positive comments. The truth will always prevail. God bless us all.”

The statement, which was shared on D’banj’s verified accounts on Twitter and Instagram, was later taken down.

Before his deleted statement, D’banj’s solicitor, Mike Ozekhome (SAN), asked his accuser to make a payment of N100m within 48 hours or face legal action.

The letter reads in part, “We have been instructed to demand and we so hereby demand from you the following: That your client makes an outright apology and a total retraction of each and every false allegation made against and concerning our client.

“The said apology and retraction shall be published in four national dailies with wide circulation in Nigeria as well as on social media platforms and handles being used by your client and her hirelings.

“That your client makes a compensatory deposit of the sum of N100m only through this chambers in favour of our client to assuage his battered image.”

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