A 32-year-old woman, Precious (not real name), lost the use of one of her eyes after she was allegedly brutalised by her husband, Samuel, at their home on Unity Christian Street, Akesan, in the Igando area of Lagos State.
While still struggling to raise N180,000, the amount needed for a surgery to repair the damaged eye, the Akwa Ibom State indigene was allegedly beaten with a cutlass by the husband, who accused her of sharing their family problem with a neighbour.
PUNCH Metro gathered that Precious, a mother of four children, got married to the suspect when she was barely 14 years old.
She told our correspondent that she had endured 18 years of domestic violence, adding that she was fed up with the marriage and wanted a divorce.
She said, “Sometime last year, my housemaid told me that my husband beat her up. I went to ask him why he did that, knowing that if anything happened to the girl, I would be held responsible. When my husband heard that, he left what he was doing and started chasing me. That was around 10pm. I ran out of the house.
“When I fell, he stamped on my eye and everything went dark. I visited the Lagos Island General Hospital for treatment, but they said I would need to undergo a corrective surgery which would cost N180,000.”
The victim, who earned N700 per day at a restaurant where she assisted a cook, said she had not been able to raise the money since then.
She said sometime in March 2017, their landlord issued them a notice to quit after their rent expired in December 2016.
Precious, who claimed to be responsible for payment of rents of their two-bedroomed flat, said the landlord later gave them a letter inviting them for a meeting with his lawyer.
She said, “I went to see a neighbour, called Alhaja, and asked her to counsel me on how to go about the issue. When my husband returned from church that evening, he ordered me not to enter the house.
“I then sat on a bench outside. Suddenly, he brought out a cutlass and started beating me with it. People in the neighbourhood begged him, but he refused. He used the cutlass to injure me in the hand. I also fell and injured my leg.”
Precious said she was ready to separate from Samuel over fear that she could be killed, saying she was an orphan.
“I got married to him when I was only 14 because my mum didn’t want me to get into prostitution like other girls in the village. As of then, I didn’t even know how to talk to men,” she added.
PUNCH Metro learnt that Precious reported the case to the Lagos State Citizens Mediation Centre and the suspect, when invited, denied the allegations.
She was said to have petitioned the Lagos State Office of the Public Defender, appealing for help for the custody of their children.
The petition, dated April 5, 2017, urged the agency to provide her with legal assistance to enable the suspect to take responsibility for the feeding, school fees and accommodation of members of the family.
Our correspondent was told that the suspect was arrested and detained at the Area C Police Command, Surulere.
PUNCH Metro learnt that some family members later waded into the matter and pressurised Precious to withdraw the case from the police station.
The husband, Samuel, when contacted by our correspondent, said the matter had been resolved. He declined further comment.
When our correspondent reached out to Precious on why she withdrew the case, she said, “I withdrew the case because my children said I should not continue with it. His mother also said she would die if I didn’t withdraw it. Our church also begged me. Let me leave everything to God; He will fight for me. I am looking for funds to relocate from the house because I don’t want to die before my time.”
The Director of OPD, Mrs. Olubukola Salami, condemned the withdrawal of the case.
She said, “This is a classic case of how victims of domestic abuse endure their torment due to external pressures to stay in abusive relationships just to save the family’s face. Unfortunately, these situations can lead to fatal consequences. Women and all victims of abuse must speak out and seek redress as this will end the the scourge of domestic violence in our society.”
The state Police Public Relations Officer, Olarinde Famous-Cole, said he would call back. He had yet to do so as of press time.