For 22-year-old Sunday Onyike, a Business Administration student of Yaba College of Technology, Yaba-Lagos, the hope of successfully rounding up his programme with the his peers have been dashed. This is because of the prolonged treatment he has been receiving since March, 2011 as a result of serious injury he sustained during a scuffle with his neighbours identified as Augustine Eleyi, 28, and Emeka Eleyi, 32, from Ohozara in Mgbo Ebonyi State.
Sunday, the only son of his parents from Ohafia in AbiaState, had his scrotum slashed off during a fight with two of his neighbours. Narrating the circumstances that led to the problem to Crime Guard at their Makoko residence, the father of the victim, Onyike Okpara,65, stated; “I have been living in this compound since 1970. I had five children but only two are alive; that is Sunday and his younger sister who works at LagosIsland.
I occupy two rooms in the building, one room which I sleep in, and the other at the back of the building, where my children sleep. When ever my daughter comes home from work, she buys and shares biscuits, sweets and gala to our neighbour’s children. So, the children always look forward to her returning from work.
More so, when ever she is sharing these goodies to the children, two of our neighbours, Augustine Eleyi and his elder brother, Emeka Eleyi (who normally sits on the chair I kept in front of my children’s room at the boys quarters to smoke Indian hemp), would always walk up to them, grab what ever is within their grasp, and flee. Instead of them to ask, they would grab what ever they can and run away. My daughter complained about this to me, and I had called and cautioned them to desist from such act, but they would not listen.
On the evening of March 1st, 2011, she was seated at the boys’ quarters with some children sharing some gala when Augustine Eleyi, came and as usual, grabbed one gala and ran away. My daughter pursued him and in the process, N200 fell from his pocket. She picked it up and said it would serve as a payment for all the gala and biscuits he has been snatching from them.
Later on, on a second thought, she decided to give him back the money as she thought it was not worth it. Having searched around for him, and not knowing of his whereabouts, she decided to give him the money the next day.
On the evening of that day which was the 2nd of March, 2011, after she got back from work, she took the money to him at the boys quarters, but he said he does not want it anymore. At that point, an argument ensued between them, during which his younger brother, Emeka Eleyi collected the money from my daughter.
As the argument continued, my son Sunday who was in the room preparing for the next day’s lecture, told his sister to let the matter be, and go to our main room and sleep, while he asked Augustine and Emeka to leave the place because they were disturbing him with their noise.
Augustine asked him if the place looked like his school hostel, that if he wants to read, he should pack his books and go to his school hostel. As the argument raged, he slapped my son, who grabbed him on his shirt asking ‘what have I done to you’?, Emeka rushed to them pretending as if we was going for peace only for him to grab my son’s two hands, while Augustine rushed and fetched a sharp object, and used it to slash my son’s scrotum.
I feel he actually wanted to cut off his male organ, but missed. My son’s cry of agony attracted the attention of passersby, because part of the compound is a thoroughfare; it was these passersby that ran to inform us at the other side of the building.
I ran to the place and met my son in a pool of his blood. On sighting us, the culprits bolted. I wanted to run after them but I was weakened by the sight of my son lying in pains, in the pool of his blood.
I also thought, if I go after them at that point, what would be the fate of my son when I get back, hence I opted to stay back, with the help of the other neighbours and some of our church members, my son was rushed to the State Criminal Investigations Department, SCID, Panti, Yaba, from where we obtained a note to take him to the hospital. At that time, the GeneralHospital was on strike, we brought my son back to Adekunle Police Station, and they asked us to find a private hospital and take him there.
So, we took him to a private hospital at Iwaya. Augustine and Emeka were later apprehended by neighbours who went after them, and handed over to the police.”
Crime Guard learnt that the case has been at the Yaba Magistrate’s Court since 2011. Onyike Okpara further told our reporter that for one month his son was at the hospital in Iwaya, the Eleyi family only contributed N15,000 for the medical bills. He stated, “after the initial N15,000 installment they brought when Sunday was taken to the hospital, I have not heard from them.
Three times, my pastor and family called them to seek out ways to settle the matter amicably; when they come, they will be dribbling us, they will promise to contribute to the medical bills but we wont hear from them after that. I have so far spent almost N200,000, I have the medical bill to prove that”.
He also alleged that some members of the Eleyi family have threatened him to accept their term of payment, which is to pay N40,000, as their contribution; and withdraw the case from court. He stated, “On November 18, 2012 at about 9:30pm, they sent six men, out of which I recognized three, they came asking me to sign a document, I could not properly read through because of my poor sight, at that time of the night.
One of them practically told me that “ so many people die in Lagos every day, and their corpses are never discovered; I would want your corpse to be found”. What he meant by that, I do not know. I don’t feel safe anymore.
First, they tried to take my son away, now they are threatening me to accept a condition I don’t think any of them would accept if it were their son that was involved.”
Counsel to the defendant, Worer Obuagbaka, on his part told Crime Guard that what happened between the defendant and the complainant was unfortunate. According to him, they have been living peacefully together for some years, what we are trying to do is to see if we can settle the case amicably.” He said the defendants have been granted bail but are still in police custody because they have not been able to perfect their bail