Whatever the fate that befalls Timilehin Taiwo at the end of the day, March 9, 2020, will remain the most consequential day of her life. She had woken up on that Saturday morning, with only one thought on her mind, and indeed one objective she hoped to achieve for the day: to work hard and earn some money she could use to throw a 17th birthday party for herself so she can make merry, surrounded by her friends and family members. Unfortunately, the day ended on a sad note as she was forced to commit murder. In one single day, her life turned upside down. She woke up from the modest one-room she inhabited with her family (which also doubled as her father’s workshop) at No. 10, Olalemide Street, Aboru, Lagos State, and by night she had been locked away in a police cell.
The story, when it first broke, rippled across Lagos State. Timilehin, a tall, dark student of Aboru High School, was alleged to have stabbed a 49-year-old man, Babatunde Ishola, to death as he tried to rape her. The deceased, who was her father’s friend, was also the security guard at her school.
According to her statement, the deceased who lived alone reportedly invited her to his house at Ogundele Street to fetch water for him. There was nothing extraordinary about that since she had always been assisting him with house chores. But on that day, the man decided to take advantage of the girl who in the ensued struggle, had picked a knife, stabbed and inflicted a mortal wound.
Fast forward six days later to Saturday, March 15. On the day of her birthday, Timilehin Taiwo was cooped inside a police cell. Her friends, nonetheless, gathered in her house, looking sad and sombre. In such a dark atmosphere, the teenagers spent their time cursing the late Ishola––for bringing a bad twist to Timilehim’s fate. The aggrieved teens cursed the deceased for turning what should have been a joyful day to a day of sorrow for their friend.
One of them, Kikelomo Alayan, who spoke with Saturday Sun disclosed how she and a couple of others had perfected a birthday prank before the plan was thrown overboard by a man with an unbridled libido. The prank, according to Alayan, was a simple one: chase the birthday girl around the compound with a bucket of unclean water.
“We have called some of her brothers in Agege to dash us some money so that we can spring a big surprise on her. On her own, she had ordered Coke and Fanta from this woman (a trader whose shop was stocked with drinks). We also planned to buy cakes and chops. It was supposed to be our best moment in Secondary School 3,” she stated.
Another student, Abigail Omolara also added: “Timilehin is known for this mischief. She used to keep used water and on the day of her friend’s birthday, she would appear at their house, and bath the celebrant with the water. She wouldn’t care about your cloth or the place she caught up with you. You can be sure that you will be drenched with the water––and you’d enjoy the prank because she would bring along another cloth and perfume so you can clean up and change afterwards. That is how nice she is.”
A fair-skinned neighbour, called Iya Ibeji lamented to Saturday Sun: “Timi does not deserve this. She is a gentle girl.”
She gave a brief account of the incident.
“On that day she was supposed to go for choir practice but she said she wanted to help her father’s friend with some chores. The man sent a small child to call her to come and help him fetch water,” Iya Ibeji recalled, noting, that it wasn’t her first time of running an errand for the man. “She is not the type of child that would sit and watch the elderly suffer to do chores,” she stated.
Saturday Sun also spoke with Timilehin’s father, Mr Taiwo, who partly blamed himself for failing to see the kind of person his alleged friend was.
The distraught father, who was still in shock, found it difficult to talk about the incident without breaking into tears.
“She had earlier told me that she wanted to eat rice which she went on to cook. After she finished eating, I informed her that I would be going out to source for money for a journey I want to embark on. I was still in the house when someone came in to deliver a message to her. She was to help an elderly family member to wash his cloth. She had packed the cloth and was about to commence the chore when Ishola, sitting on the deck of his building requested that she should help him to fetch water. She didn’t go immediately, but when he sent a small child to remind her, she had to abandon what she was doing to attend to him,” he narrated.
She was fetching the water when the deceased allegedly dragged her into his room and attempted to ravish her.
Taiwo was not at home when the incident happened. “I was surprised when they called me and told me what happened because I had just left the house some few minutes earlier,” he said. “I am surprised that Ishola could do this to anybody, let alone my daughter.”
The man broke down in tears: “My daughter struggled for her life; her cloth was torn, she had bruises all over her body. She cried for help for 20 minutes without anyone coming to her aid. She was forced to stab him out of desperation.”
The most painful part for him: “Me and Ishola had been friends for over two decades. I am the one building his elder brother’s one-story building.”
Saturday Sun visited the scene of the crime and found the building deserted. The reporter made attempts to speak with family members of the deceased to no avail. His younger sister was seen wailing at the police station but when she was approached she declined to comment on the tragedy. All they wanted, she said, was to be granted permission to go and bury their dead.
As for the teenager, everyone who hears her story feels pity for her. “We pray that the government frees her, said her friend, Abigail. “We hope she gets good defence lawyers to argue her case.” She insisted life has not been fair to the 17-year-old. “She is not the violent type,” she said.
Via Sun News