Nigerians were shocked when they were arraigned before a magistrate court in Yaba and only granted bail in the sum of N500,000 after a tearful video apology. Now, safe in civilisation, the Matharoo sisters are speaking out about the ordeal they went through in the hands of Nigerian authorities.
In an interview with CTV News Toronto, they claim to were blindsided with the allegations and apology video, and the Canadian embassy issued a temporary visa which they used to leave Nigeria.
“No phones, denied a lawyer, denied the embassy, kept on the floor, scared for my life,” are the memories the sisters have of the incident. “We just decided to speak because everyone thinks we are missing, dead or worse,” Jyoti said. “I was yelling and saying show me an arrest warrant, show me something with my name on it but they didn’t have any identification,” Kiran said. “The way the media reported it, they called us sex workers, prostitutes and escorts. I’ve never done anything like that.” Jyoti said. “In Femi’s actual statement, our names are not listed, just Babatunde Oyebode (who provided web security for the damaging website),” she added.
“Right after that they took us in for questioning. They put us in a jail cell overnight for eight hours, there was rats in there, 11 other girls, two pieces of foam and I was crying the whole night, I was freaking out,” Jyoti said.
They were put in “protective custody” and allegedly then told to do a video apology in exchange for their passports, but they were never returned. Their lawyer told CCTV news that the Canadian embassy issued temporary passports after realizing that their bail conditions did not restrict travel. The Matharoo sisters left Nigeria on January 1st, vowing never to return.
“I think the stain on our reputation will never be cleared because no matter what we do, its always going to be there.”