Abdulsalam Salaudeen, a 43-year-old Islamic cleric in Igando, Lagos State, who was arrested for allegedly raping his five-year-old Arabic schoolgirl, has owned up to committing the crime.
The father of five blamed the crime on the handiwork of his enemies whom he said had cast a spell on him.
Salaudeen, in an interview with City Round during the week, claimed that he had been having a running battle with spiritual forces for years.
He said on Friday, December 28, 2018 when the incident happened at a section of the Arabic school on Awoyemi Street, Igando Road, he fought the devil back and forth by saying aausubillahi (God forbid) to no avail.
The native of Oyo State explained that he was accused of raping a girl in his class some years ago when he was living at Ikotun, a neighbouring community, adding that shame forced him to relocate to Igando. “It is the work of the devil,” he said in Yoruba, burying his head in his right palm.
He went on, “I have been living in Lagos for 25 years. I have a wife and five children. My wife and three of the children live with me. My wife does not deny me of sex. The girl was brought for Arabic class about five months ago. On that day, I asked her to go and sweep a section of the class. The place was separated by a wall and I followed her. I asked her to stand on a bench and face the wall. I rolled up her skirts and removed her panties. As I wanted to penetrate her from the anus, I said ‘aausubillahi, aausubillahi (God forbid)’. It was the devil that pushed me to it. My penis only grazed her private parts.
“While I was living in Ikotun, I was accused of raping one of the children attending my class. But I did not rape the girl. She needed a uniform we used in the class and I took her to a tailor to take her measurements. I have been battling with spiritual wars since then. My enemies are many and they have been casting spells on me. I relocated to Igando and started a new Arabic class.”
Salaudeen stated he had regretted his action, noting that he was shocked when he was confronted with a video clip, showing how he molested the girl.
Our correspondent learnt that a neighbour had gone to see Salaudeen at his class recently when he stumbled on him fondling the victim. The neighbour was said to have left unknown to Salaudeen.
A police source told City Round that the neighbour reported the case to a child rights’ organisation in the community and he was advised to do a secret video next time he caught the cleric in the act.
“The informant was asked to do a video to get evidence that could nail the cleric. He was well respected in the community and he could have easily denied the allegation. Many people would also not believe he could do such a thing without the video,” the source added.
While speaking about the incident, the spokesperson for the police in the state, CSP Chike Oti, said Salaudeen was arrested after the informant reported the crime at the command headquarters in Ikeja with the video clip.
Oti said, “On Friday, December 28, 2018, a good Nigerian visited the headquarters of the Lagos State Police Command with a video evidence of an Islamic cleric, aka Alfa, having anal sex with a five-year-old girl that he was supposed to be teaching Islamic studies. The complainant sought audience with the state Commissioner of Police, CP Edgal Imohimi.
“The CP, after watching the heartrending video, directed the command’s undercover operatives attached to the State Intelligence Bureau to immediately arrest the culprit and hand him over to the Gender Section for detailed investigation. The operatives went in search of the Alfa and arrested him near a mosque in the Igando area of the state.”
Oti explained that the suspect initially denied the allegation when he was grilled at the Gender unit, noting that he, however, owned up to committing the crime after the Officer-in-Charge of the unit, ASP Abimbola Williams, confronted him with the video of him defiling the child by penetrating her anus and private parts.
“On seeing how he was captured like an actor in a movie, the suspect broke down in tears and owned up to committing the crime. The case will be charged to court soon,” Oti added.
The CP commended the informant and warned parents and guardians to keep constant watch over their children and wards. Imohimi urged parents not to trust their children with anybody and to be friendly with them.
He added, “Let your children be free to share things with you. Do not cover up any crime, no matter who is involved. Raise the alarm on child molesters in your neighbourhood so they can face the law to serve as a deterrent to others.”