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Woman Who Accused D'banj of Rape Denies Being Arrested

Nigeria has declared a statement of emergency on rape and gender based violence, but some accusations are being rebutted with force.

In a series of now deleted tweets, user 'Aunt Seyitan' (real name Seyitan Babatayo) accused Nigerian artist D'banj of sexually assaulting her in a Lagos hotel room in 2018. The woman described the event in detail two weeks ago, sparking huge backlash against the singer.

In a letter written by her lawyers, Babatayo demanded both a personal and public apology to their client. In an interview with Nigerian publication Premium Times, the woman's lawyer claimed that Dbanj speaking out against the rape epidemic in Nigeria triggered the memories that their client had been trying to subside, "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 for an apology from the man that has caused the damaging hurt to her person," they stated.


Originally not entertaining the allegations for weeks, on Tuesday, D'banj and his team released a statement on Instagram saying "this will be the only time I will address the recent false allegations and lies from the pit of hell." He went on to say, "I would like to state that the accusations are false and ludicrous and have been handed over to my legal team, while the Nigerian Police is investigating the criminal aspect of it." That instagram post has since been taken down.

Along with his statement was a scan of his letter stating his defamation suit against Babatayo. In the letter was a monetary demand of N100 million ($257,732) within 48 hours for causing damage to the artist's public image.

On Wednesday, Nigerian journalist Kiki Mordi shared news of Babatayo reportedly having been arrested. She tweeted, "Yesterday at about noon, Seyitan was and is still detained in Sodipo Ikeja and hasn't been granted access to friends, family or lawyers."

This comes during a time where Gender Based Violence is a major talking point within African communities. In the past few weeks, there have been numerous reports of women being raped and murdered by the men in and around their lives. In the beginning of the month, droves of young Nigerians protested against the unnecessary and common sexual violence that women face in the West African country. While this week, Nigerian-American activist Oluwatoyin Salau was found dead in Florida after tweeting about being sexually assaulted, and 28-year old Tshego Pule was murdered by her boyfriend in South Africa.

As the story of what happened continues to unfold, efforts to raise money for Babatayo's bail have been raised and supported widely on social media.


June 18 Update:


Kiki Mordi, the journalist and activist who originally broke news of the arrest, claimed to have spoken to Seyitan's legal representatives and gave updates on how the situation was panning out. After word of Seyitan's release came out, Babatayo announced on twitter that she is "moving on and leaving everything behind" on top of the fact that she was not arrested at all.



Adding even more suspicion to the incident, Seyitan then went on to show support for the Nigerian singer in a tweet hours later.



Interview
Photo: Benoit Peverelli

Interview: Oumou Sangaré Proves Why She's the Songbird of Wassoulou

We caught up with the Malian singer to talk about her new Acoustic album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

When Oumou Sangaré tells me freedom is at her core, I am not surprised. If you listen to her discography, you'll be hard-pressed to find a song that doesn't center or in some way touch on women's rights or child abuse. The Grammy award-winning Malian singer has spent a significant part of her career using her voice to fight for the rights of women across Africa and the world, a testimony to this is her naming her debut studio album Moussolou, meaning Woman. The album, a pure masterpiece that solidified Oumou's place amongst the greats and earned her the name 'Songbird of Wassoulou,' was a commercial success selling over 250,000 records in Africa and would in turn go on to inspire other singers across the world.

On her latest body of work Acoustic, a reworking of her critically acclaimed 2017 album Mogoya, Oumou Sangaré proves how and why she earned her accolades. The entirety of the 11-track album was recorded within two days in the Midi Live studio in Villetaneuse in 'live' conditions—with no amplification, no retakes or overdubs, no headphones. Throughout the album, using her powerful and raw voice that has come to define feminism in Africa and shaped opinions across the continent, Oumou boldly addresses themes like loss, polygamy and female circumcision.

We caught up with the Malian singer at the studio she is staying while in quarantine to talk about her new album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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