Miss. Bukola was just 16 years old, a Senior Secondary School student (SS1) when she was allegedly raped and impregnated by Prophet Isaac Anibaba of the Church of the Lord, Aladura, Surulere, Lagos State.
Bukola’s mom, Janet, is a staunch member of the church and practically worships Anibaba. Following her discovery that she was pregnant, Bukola dropped out of school and today, has become a mother, even while still a child herself.
Before the birth of the child, Bukola had been living from hand to mouth and when the baby finally arrived, the situation worsened.
Bukola’s predicament started during the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020. Janet and her children had accommodation problem and forced to seek for shelter in the Aladura church, where she worships, pending when she would secure accommodation.
It was while Janet and her children were living in the church, that Anibaba allegedly took advantage of Bukola. Following the alleged rape and subsequent pregnancy, Janet and her children were kicked out of the church. They went to squat with a relative, who lives in a room apartment with her children.
Our reporter went to Surulere to locate and speak with Bukola. On the fateful that our reporter went there, it was already noon, but Bukola and her child had not taken breakfast. The child’s persistent cries caused Bukola to place a shrunken looking, over sucked nipple into his month. After suckling for some minutes, the child started crying again.
Mrs. Laitan Wahab, a member of the Advocates for Children and Vulnerable Persons Network (ACVPN), a nongovernmental organisation, known for fighting for the rights of abused children, was also with Bukola. Wahab bought biscuits and the child wolfed it down.
Bukola said being a mother, while her mates were still in school was not how she planned her life. She said that her greatest desire was to pursue her dream of being educated to the university level.
In fact, after discovering she was pregnant, she still returned to her school, determined to complete her secondary school education, but the school management wouldn’t allow it.
Bukola, rather than watch her child starved to death, went job hunting, with her baby strapped behind. She got a job along the Cele Expressway, selling  fufu and eko for a boss, who pays her N10, 000 monthly. It was from this money she buys diapers, clothes, food, amongst other things for herself and baby.
Janet on the other hand goes from community to community, begging people to allow her to wash their clothes for a stipend. Bukola’s father, Toba, works in a factory in Ogun State and is on a N15, 000 monthly salary. Aside from Bukola, the couple has other children depending on them for feeding.
Bukola believed she was hypnotised by Anibaba, because she couldn’t recollect most of the incident that happened on the night she lost her virginity. But she did remember the threat from the man of God.
Bukola said: “He said that I shouldn’t tell anyone or I would die. But after I missed my menses, I went to tell him. He started giving me herbs for abortion, but the herbs didn’t work.”
Recalling how it all started, Bukola alleged that Anibaba called and told her that God revealed to him in a vision that she would fail in her educational pursuits. She immediately told him that since that was the case, there was no sense in wasting her time, trying to get an education. She told him that she would look for where to apply as an apprentice hairstylist.
Anibaba, however, urged her not to fret, that he had a solution, which he had given to other students in Bukola’s situation. He would give her something that would help in making her to become an academic success through secondary to university level.
She said: “He gave me something to insert into my private part. I went to the bathroom and inserted it. He warned me not to tell my mom. I thought it was part of the prayer activities. He told me that he had also assisted other students through the same way, and that many of them were now overseas. After I inserted it, I couldn’t recollect anything. When I came back to my senses, I was in an uncompleted building, which was inside the church compound. I was naked and Anibaba had a white cloth stained with blood in his hand. I was hurting between my thighs.”
Janet explained that when she discovered her daughter was pregnant, her world came crashing down. To feed and school the children had become exceedingly difficult, especially with the COVID-19 lockdown, followed by the escalating cost of living.
Feeling shattered and confused, she went to Anibaba, the prophet she most trusted, to tell him about her daughter’s condition, seeking his advice. At that point, Bukola, fearing she would die as threatened by Anibaba if she tells anyone of the incident, refused to tell her mom the man responsible for her pregnancy.
Anibaba advised Janet to abort the pregnancy, explaining that Bukola’s education was paramount. Acting the part of a Good Samaritan, he supported her with some money. The woman said: “I went to another church for prayers and it was there that the pastor of the church, Pastor Ayo, told me that my daughter was pregnant and warned me never to abort it. It was through him I found out that Anibaba was responsible for Bukola’s pregnancy. I was shocked. I had to bring Bukola and she revealed everything to Pastor Ayo, who then instructed that we should take the matter to the police.”
Janet further stated that she found out about the pregnancy when Bukola was three months gone. She also mentioned that Anibaba was already married and has a child. Janet said that when Anibaba’s wife heard about the incident, she took side with her husband, calling Janet and her family, “hungry people.” After that confrontation, Janet and her children were chased out of the church.
Janet said: “This terrible thing happened to my daughter while we were living in the church. We had accommodation problem and it was during the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020.”
It was gathered that a human rights group, with office in Surulere, mandated Anibaba to be fending for the young mom and baby.
“The money is not regular and the last money was N3000,” said Bukola. Since the birth of the child, Anibaba had allegedly sent the paltry sum only four times, alleged Bukola.
Wahab said: “We have been donating baby clothes and cereal, but Bukola and the baby seriously need help. Nigerians should help this girl. She’s just a child. The suffering is too much for Bukola and this child. When she had baby, the community gathered used clothes for, but now, she’s all alone. Recently, I noticed that the child is practically wearing rags, and it simply breaks my heart. I had to go and ransack my children’s wardrobe to find clothes for the child. When you see how Bukola’s suffering, you’ll weep.”
When our reporter asked Bukola her desire concerning her situation, she whispered tiredly: “I would really like to go back to school. But I desperately need assistance to be able to fend for my child.”
Reacting to the allegations leveled against him, Anibaba admitted impregnating Bukola, but denied raping her. He explained that the matter was taken to a human rights group and an amicable settlement was reached.
He said: “It was not a rape case at all. It happened two years ago and I was reported to the human rights group because she was still in school. I was asked to take care of her until the delivery of the baby, which I did. I was sending money to her every month, but along the line, I lost my job and the church sent me packing, leaving me without accommodation. I had to keep my furniture and other property with a friend, and then went to squat with another friend. But in spite of everything, I borrowed money to ensure she was all right. After she was put to bed, I paid the hospital bill. What happened is not something to rejoice over, but I have learnt my lesson and prayed God wouldn’t ever let me encounter such a problem again. God is still punishing me for it, because ever since then, things have not been easy for me. My daughter didn’t go to school for a whole year. She and her mom are squatting with another friend. I went to the Lagos State Government to get a birth certificate for the baby and registered him in my name. I was also the person that named him. Later, I had to confess to Bukola and her family that I didn’t have much on me, unlike before when I was working. On different occasions, my mom had gone to them with food items and clothes for the child.”
Anibaba further stated that his financial situation worsened to the extent that he was owing so many online loan platforms. “I had to return to the human rights group to tell them my challenges, and it was agreed that my mom would take Bukola and the child to live with her, take care of them and feed them. It was also agreed that while my mom babysits, Bukola would return to school. That was our last discussion and Bukola’s family members said they would go and think about it. I have not heard anything from them till date. In order to survive and make ends meet, I had to go and take up a job as a driver, but I was involved in an accident and that’s another problem I’m still battling to resolve. Bukola also told the human rights group when she was questioned that I didn’t force her. However, I have taken responsibility for my actions.”
For those interested in reaching Bukola or rendering assistance; Name: Miss.  Ayodele Oluwabukola, Bank: Access Bank (1505087019), phone number: 09045842146.  Mrs. Laitan Wahab (Human rights activists) phone number: 08023604202

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