Concerned groups demand justice for victim of domestic violence
Touched by the pathetic plight of a helpless young lady, concerned groups – Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC) and Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa (IHRDA) – are demanding justice for Mary Sunday, a traumatized victim of domestic violence, who was assaulted by her fiancé, a police corporal, Mr. Isaac Gbanwuan, three years ago.
The groups are demanding that the Nigerian authorities conduct an independent and impartial investigation on the attack of Mary and prosecute the perpetrator, as well as come to the aid of helpless victim to get the N10 million required for the reconstructive surgery in India.
The problem of 30 years-old Mary, a graduate of the University of Nigeria (UNN), Nsukka, started on August 24, 2012, when she went, in company of her fiancé, Isaac, to see a doctor over health issues.
On their way back, Mary made a phone call and Isaac accused her of infidelity. An argument ensued and Isaac became aggressive and started beating Mary. In a desperate attempt to escape the battery, Mary ran into a neighbour’s kitchen to seek refuge. Isaac angrily pursued her to the kitchen and carried the neighbour’s cooking stove on which was a boiling pot of stew and poured the content on Mary’s body. The stove exploded and set Mary on fire.
Mary was rushed to the Christiana Hospital in Bariga, Lagos, where she was admitted for serious burns. She was unconscious for two weeks and lost two ears. Her upper neck and arms glued together as a result of the burns.
In January 2013, she was transferred to the National Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi, where she has since been receiving treatment. She was later recommended for a constructive surgery in India, but has no money to go for the surgery.
One of Mary’s relatives reported the incident to the police at the Force Headquarters in Ikeja. But the then Lagos State deputy Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) Mr. Damascus Ozoani, was reported to have absorbed Isaac of the allegation, stating that the police have concluded investigations into the incident and discovered that Mary intentionally inflicted the burns on herself.
The Executive Director WARDC, Mrs. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, said that all efforts to get the police to re-open investigations into the case have been unsuccessful.
“The perpetrator of the crime is still free and has not been brought to justice. The police as an interested party in the incident have hastily concluded an investigation that was not properly done. Mary also has contacted various government bodies in order to obtain help for necessary medical services and surgery, up till date, she has not received replies regarding medical treatment and rehabilitation,” Akiyode-Afolabi said.
Mary, while bemoaning her condition, said: “The scars and burns have constrained me. I have no job; I cannot walk around when the sun is out as it is painful. I get embarrassed due to my look when I step out; I have become a burden to my family. I was unable to attend my father’s burial last year because of the pain and my physical state, I even stopped attending church. I still suffer from the burns and have bands joining my fingers together. So, it is difficult for me to write, I can’t even sleep well at night. My ambition has been cut short and the frustrations to find justice from the justice system in Nigeria have made me more traumatized and sad. I need help from those God has placed in positions in Nigeria and everywhere to assist the helpless.”