I take a deep breath as I type this…
My name is Aminat Popoola, and this is my story. I am aware that a lot of you have come across my rape allegations against Ettu Mohammed and you have been waiting to get the full story. So, here it goes.
I met Ettu Muhammed in 2006 at 19 Feyintola Giwa street, Pako Aguda, Surulere Lagos, while visiting a friend. I am sorry, but John Glory maybe you will see this. It was the year we reconnected after graduating from high school. She was operating a small mobile phone business. Ettu Mohammed approached me and talked to me and then asked for my number. I didn’t have a phone at this time; so, I collected his number. I never had the intention of calling but I took it anyway.
Fast forward to a year later. I went to visit this friend of mine again, and that was how myself and Muhammed re-connected. By this time, my Dad had bought my first phone; so we exchanged numbers. He seemed kind. So, I became at ease and this was how our friendship started. Yes you read right, friendship. I never saw us being more than that. He used to come to visit me in Ajegunle where I have lived my whole life, crack jokes and he would even go with me to the hair salon sometimes. Mohammed helped me to do my online jamb registration that year; he would buy me stuff; even give me money. So, to me, this was a big brother little sister dynamic. I never saw him more than that.
Muhammed was persistent.
He would come to visit me in Ajegunle and I would visit him in Aguda, where he told me he lived and never did he make any sexual advances towards me. So, I got really comfortable around him.
I will go straight to why I am writing this.
One evening, during our phone conversation, he urged me as usual to consider his proposal and for reasons I don’t know, I blurted out that he was too old for me. A ten-year-age gap was a lot for me at that time. I didn’t realize that I had hurt his feelings and I guess that he started plotting the rape from that moment.
One day, I went to visit him as usual. I had gone to this address (where he told me he lived). So, it wasn’t weird that I went. Oh Amina, how naive.
I will like to state clearly that before the rape incident, we never had sexual intercourse. He is not my ex. We never were in a relationship, contrary to the narrative he is pushing to make me out as a wounded ex. The only time he ever penetrated me was when he raped me, and this is, in fact, true, and we both know this.
I got there that afternoon. The building, as I remember, is a bungalow; it has a roof attached to the front of the building, which created a shed. A wide passage, face me I face you. Muhammed’s appartment (as he told me) is a room self contain. Mattress on the floor, a small refrigerator, pressing iron laid on the floor, plates and utensils laid beside the fridge. Typical bachelor pad, if we are to go by Nigerian traditional standards.
And this is how it happened…
As I came in, we exchanged pleasantries as usual; I sat by the mattress. He jammed the door, and I said “why are locking the door when there is no light”. He didn’t respond. He started to undress and I said “why are you undressing, what’s wrong with you”?
Muhammed said, « shebi I am old abi? I will show you today ». I even laughed and said « ahn ahn what are you saying? Is this a joke or what? Please, I don’t like this kind of joke o or I will leave. » I then stood up to try to leave by this time. He had only boxer shorts on. Not only did he stop me from leaving, he started to land me heavy blows. I struggled and the more I struggled, the more blows he landed on me.
I screamed. I shouted. I struggled. At a point, I managed to grab the pressing Iron on the rug, and hit it on his head. He became so angry that dealt me more blows. I was so helpless and powerless, but I didn’t stop fighting. I was going to kill him if I could just, so he would not penetrate me. My eyes went to the corner where the fridge was, I saw the kitchen utensils, and that was when I saw a kitchen knife. I was struggling beneath him to get there; he followed my eyes and saw I was reaching for the knife. He became more furious and started to hit me. For a moment, I thought I would die.
By the time, it was over! He got on his phone and started calling his friends to come and beg me. I strongly believe that they were his accomplices. He started to apologize and that it was a mistake.
I vividly remember that I arrived 19 Feyintola Giwa around mid-afternoon and by the time this whole ordeal was over, it was maybe around 5/6pm. Do the maths.
I couldn’t understand, even at the time why he would dehumanize me like that, and I was enveloped in shame. Understand that my shirt had been torn, my eyes red.
I was so ashamed that I decided I would bury this shame and act like it never happened. At the time, I didn’t tell anyone; my parents, my friends, not a soul.
As years went by, I started to tell my friends one by one, at different times, but never did I foresee that this day would come.
I walked around the house in pain all week, acting like nothing happened. I would lay in my bed in pain, crying. And whenever I heard Grandma or any of my aunties call Aminaaaa, I would act like my chest wasn’t painful, or that my shoulders weren’t, owing to the aftermath of his fists, or that I didn’t feel dirty between my legs.
Muhammed, in his typical I-am-such-a-saint fashion, continued to beg me and to solicit that I be his girlfriend, which I refused. On many occasions. I became convicted that my stance on not wanting to date him was not a mistake neither was it his right to violate me. I wasn’t ready to confront the latter. I just needed my mind to erase it like it never existed.
As you all already know, several years have gone by. He has tried to make contact with me severally but I just couldn’t bring myself to forgive him, more or less give him audience. So, I decided I would forget him completely maybe the hurt would go away.
I know some of you are thinking, so why now? Why are you speaking out now?
Last year, I messaged him on Facebook and I have shared the screenshots on my twitter accusing him of raping me, urging him to do the right thing. He refused to admit via chat and, instead, requested my number, which my fiancé urged me to give him. He called, in his words “ahn ahn otipe now, ode gbagbe e”. O ya, mabinu now.
So I urged him to confess to his wife, his mother and all the women in his life, to admit what he did to me, to show remorse, but what he tried to do was to manipulate me on the phone. I tried very hard to get him to say it, but he kept deflecting and it became apparent that it was no mistake. Maybe I hurt his feelings, I didn’t deserve what he did to me.
I am speaking out, because I grew up, I uprooted everything I had buried. I needed closure and knowing fully well that I wouldn’t get justice, I am doing this anyway. He did rape me. I am without doubt sure that he violently raped me.
I saw his post; I laughed, because those who are in my life know for a fact the person he described isn’t me.
I am not afraid. In the absence of evidence, I am sure you have doubts and that’s okay. Like every human, he has the right to debunk my allegations, as he sees fit, but what he doesn’t have the right to do is to compose a set of lies with the aim of deflecting and pushing the narrative the Nigerian audience likes best: the one that makes me out to be a scorned ex, which I am not. The one that thinks in this day and age that women still aspire to marriage or become empty in the absence of one. The one that is trying albeit to make me out to be hopeless and out for blood.
I then decided that I will not be silenced and in all of this The Black Diamonds Support Foundation has been my support system. They have allowed me to share my story. They have created a safe place to speak my truth without fear and I will always be grateful.
One day, I know that one day, my country will get it right.
I would like to thank my darling partner, Clovis, for pushing me. For saying to me “baby, you have to let out all the pain. You have to let it go”. To all the people I met in France, who made understand beyond reasonable doubt that my truth will set me free, I am grateful.
I know that, someday, my baby girl will see this and she will understand our daily talk about consent and speaking to me about anything, no matter how shameful it may seem. It will make sense to you, Olami, and you will be proud of me.
To all rape victims out there, who haven’t found their voices, you will find it. Don’t be afraid. Remember there are three sides to every story, my side, your side and THE TRUTH. The truth always prevails.
This is my story. My name is Amina, and Ettu Muhammed did rape me. I know it. He knows it, and my story will never change, as I am ready for what comes after.
Thanks for reading.