(Photo by Robin Little/Redferns)
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.
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