The motive behind the acid bath of 22-year-old Chika Egbo by her estranged lover, David Sulaimon, remains elusive, but one thing is sure, the victim may not remain the same again.
Last Tuesday, when our correspondent visited her at the Burns Unit of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja, Egbo has become a shadow of the beautiful girl she was.
The substance Sulaimon allegedly poured on her had destroyed every visible skin from her chest upwards.
She mumbled to her father, a Taraba State-based businessman, as she could neither see nor speak properly at the time.
When her father, Matthew Egbo, narrated the incident that led to Chika’s state, the story brought tears to his eyes as he lamented that his daughter would never be normal again.
Matthew said, “In March 2011, someone who identified himself as Lekan Sulaimon called me, asking for my daughter’s hand in marriage. We talked a lot and I promised to speak with Chika on the issue.
“My daughter later told me he was the boy she was in love with and said she had resolved to marry him.”
After much discussion, Matthew told Sulaimon to bring his parents for proper introduction, but the suitor said his father was ill and needed to be taken abroad for treatment. He also said his mother was abroad.
Matthew said, “On the June 25 date that we agreed on, Sulaimon brought seven men and four women dressed in Yoruba attire to my hometown, Enugu, where we held the introduction.
“But around November last year, my wife travelled from Taraba to Enugu and Chika told her she was pregnant.”
According to Matthew, Chika told her parents they should not be alarmed since she and Sulaiman had agreed to get married.
Chika was instructed to go to Lagos and tell Sulaiman’s relations about the pregnancy.
But when she got back from Lagos, Chika told her father that she discovered that most of what Sulaiman had told her about his parents were lies.
Matthew explained, “For instance, Chika discovered that Sulaimon’s father was hale and hearty. The father told her he was not aware of any plans by his son to get married.
“She also learnt that the mother was not abroad too. She visited her and she told us the woman received her well and even expressed joy that his son had found someone to marry.
“But after the visit, we heard nothing from neither Sulaimon nor his parents until after my daughter gave birth to a baby girl on May 4.
Our correspondent learnt that Chika had broached the idea of abortion to her parents, as she told them it was apparent that the man she was in love with had lied to her all along.
Matthew forbade her to consider abortion. After the baby was born, Chika was said to have informed Sulaimon, but he gave series of excuses why he could not visit her.
He reportedly told her he was facing some challenges and did not have the wherewithal to take care of the baby at the moment.
After a few months, Chika’s baby girl was weaned and taken to Taraba to live with Matthew and his wife.
The Egbos said they took the decision to take the baby off their daughter’s hands so that she could continue her study.
PUNCH Metro learnt that in November, Sulaimon began to request that he needed to see his baby, but Matthew told him to bring his parents to come and iron things out.
Chika was said to have insisted she did not want to have anything to do with the young man anymore.
But on November 5, Chika travelled to Lagos after Sulaimon had informed her that his mother wanted to see her. The unsuspecting girl left Enugu without informing her parents.
“My phone just rang that day and I was told to come to Lagos because a young man had poured acid on my daughter,” Chika’s father said.
Matthew said the message came as a rude shock since he was not aware his daughter went to Lagos. He explained that the police were the ones who got his number from her phone.
He said,“What I learnt was that when she arrived Igando, Lagos, Sulaimon met her and she demanded that he should take her to his mother who wanted to see her.
“What we gathered from the little she could mumble to us was that Sulaimon went behind a house and as they were about to pick an okada to his mother’s house, he brought out a polythene.
“But when they stopped at a point and Chika thought they were going to proceed to his mother’s house, he just opened a container in the polythene he was carrying and emptied its content on her head.
“She told us when she realised that what Sulaimon poured on her had began eating into her skin, she raised the alarm and called for help.”
PUNCH Metro learnt that passersby and sympathisers, who had been alerted to the young woman’s plight, pursued the fleeing Sulaimon. He was caught and taken to Ikotun Police Station.
“Till now, I still don’t know why he did what he did,” Matthew said.
Divisional Police Officer of Ikotun, Mr. Augustin Akika, confirmed the incident, but said the suspect had been transferred to the state Criminal Investigations Department, Yaba.