The fate of 24-year-old Blessing Isabor is now hanging in the balance as she was taken to the Female Surgical Ward of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital on Thursday for surgery.
Two years ago, the Edo state indigene was shot twice in the face by a police sergeant, Emmanuel Okujo. Blessing’s offence was that she allegedly prevented the policeman from dating her 17-year-old sister, Patience.
PUNCH Metro learnt that Okujo, who was attached to the Ifako Gbagada Police Division, shot Blessing with a police service gun at close range while on a visit to Patience at their residence on Ifateludo Street, Ifako Gbagada.
It was learnt that after the act, Okujo eloped with Patience and got her pregnant.
Although the suspect had since been arrested and dismissed from the police force and is currently standing trial at an Ikeja Magistrate’s court on one count of attempted murder, the Nigeria Police Force have been accused of abandoning the victim.
Uncle to the victim, Stephen Isabor, told our correspondent that he had faced threats to his life in the course of pursuing justice for his niece.
Stephen said, “I thank God that she made it because we thought she might die. What Emmanuel planned was to kill her so he could marry her sister. She spent about five months in the hospital after the incident.
“The police were even trying to shield the officer that fired her and I had to involve some human rights organisations.
“At a time, I was threatened and the divisional police officer of the station arranged some policemen to arrest me after I granted a press interview.
“After I wrote the Inspector General of Police, the Lagos State governor and some other people, the matter was transferred to Ikeja, and the man was arraigned in court. He was however released on bail in the sum of N100, 000 with two sureties by Senior Magistrate J.A. Anabor.
“When I saw the way they were treating the case, I wrote Governor Babatunde Fashola again and the Director of Public Prosecutions, and asked them to come to my aid. The case was then taken from the magistrate and the policeman’s bail was revoked and he was returned to the Kirikiri Prison.”
Our correspondent learnt that for two years, Blessing could not continue her secondary school education. She was in SSS 3 when she was attacked.
Her sister was said to have delivered a baby for the suspect.
A woman rights group, Project Alert on Violence Against Women, which took up the matter with the support of popular artiste, Kate Henshaw, said the police did not clean the mess created by one of its former officer.
The founder of Project Alert, Mrs. Josephine Effa-Chukwuma, said, “This is a young girl who almost died after a shot to her face damaged her jaw. And the offence was committed by a serving police officer, so the police should be the one taking care of her treatment, but nobody did. We had to start calling friends and celebrities to help us. Kate Henshaw has been most generous. The National Association of Women Judges also put some money together to help Blessing.”
Effa-Chukwuma said about N300, 000 had been spent, without the police contributing a penny.
Kate Henshaw, who was also at LASUTH on Thursday to see off the victim to the surgery ward, encouraged young ladies to stay off relationships characterised by violence.
Henshaw said the police did not live up to its name, adding, “If the slogan is police is your friend, then they should have been more friendly and know that every life is important.”
The victim told our correspondent on the hospital bed that she had forgiven her sister and the police.
Blessing said, “I have forgiven her. And I cannot say because a policeman shot me, then I should use that to judge every other policeman. I just don’t understand why the police would not do anything about my situation.”