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Apprentice stabs master to death over N100 in Lagos

A teenager, Francis Kingsley, is presently finding it quite difficult to convince detectives at the homicide section of the State Criminal Investigations Department (SCID), Panti ,Yaba, Lagos, on the cause of a quarrel that led to the death of his master and benefactor, Daniel Bassey (34) recently at their Oloti village home in the highbrow Adeniyi-Jones, Ikeja area of Lagos.

The teenager allegedly stabbed Daniel Bassey to death after a minor quarrel that erupted over N100 penultimate Sunday.  Though details of the argument over  the N100 could not be ascertained, it was gathered that the deceased Bassey, felt slighted by the failure of his apprentice, Francis, to refund the money to him.

The duo, who  were residents of Oloti village, at Adeniyi Jones, Ikeja, had engaged themselves in a fierce fight after an argument, after they had reportedly soaked themselves in several bottles of local gin popularly called ‘Ogogoro’.  The fight, which distracted the peace  in the area, attracted the attention of both residents and passers-by, who thronged  out in their numbers.

Suspect

An eyewitness who pleaded for anonymity told Crime Guard that the large crowd watched the duo engage themselves in the bloody encounter which lasted for over two hours without separating them.   According to the source, people were afraid of going near them because they were freely using dangerous weapons which included bottles, rods, jack-knives etc.

Crime Guard learnt that the fight degenerated to a stage where each of the parties used broken bottles to carve out huge chunks of flesh from their bodies while blood  flowed freely from their deep wounds.   At  a stage, Bassey, the elderly one who was reportedly bleeding from a deep gush on his neck, went to a nearby  bench to rest before continuing with the fight only for him to slump on the bench.  He reportedly died in that sitting position.

Crime Guard learnt that it was only after Bassey gave up the ghost that the sympathetic crowd came forward and started talking of taking him to hospital.  Meanwhile, his apprentice had taken to his heels.  He was arrested by the Police at the Man-Center Station, Wemabod Estate, the following day.

Meanwhile, the 18-year-old apprentice had long denied the allegations, claiming that he did not stab Daniel. Rather, he said, Daniel  stabbed himself while they were struggling: “I didn’t  kill him. He stabbed himself when he attempted stabbing me with a sharp broken bottle he was holding.”   The Cross River State- born primary four dropout when interviewed told Crime Guard that, “ Daniel is a very close friend.  His life would have been spared if he had listened to neighbours who  pleaded that we should stop fighting.”

According to him,  “While he was chasing me with a bottle and an iron rod, some people came out of  their houses, when they heard our noise.   They pleaded that he should let go of me and they also asked me to stay away for some time, which I did.  I ran down to a canal, not too far from our house and hid behind a fence. Because I can’t stand Daniel in a fight, he is older than I am and he has been my helper and also the only person I have in Lagos.

Since 2006, when I left where I was staying at the GRA, Ikeja and I had no other place to go,  Daniel who I met at a place where we watch football matches took me into his house and he harboured me.  We lived like brothers and I must tell you we’ve never had a fight before this, because I respected him a lot.  But I don’t know what led to this, whether it was the devil, I don’t know.

“On that day, one of his friends who came to visit us bought six bottles of gin, which we all drank together and Daniel also bought three bottles.  He gave me N1000  to pay for the three bottles he bought when the woman requested for her money and he also  asked me to get his balance.   The woman selling the gin sold the three bottles for N240.00 and she gave me N760 as balance. When I took the money to Daniel, he rejected it and said they were not his complete balance.

I tried explaining that the drinks were sold for N240.00 and his balance was N760, but he would not listen. Rather, he threatened that he would deal with me when he gets back and his balance was not complete. I perceived trouble and I ran in to report the issue to an old man he respects a lot.

“The elderly man actually promised to talk him out of it. But when he returned, he was so infuriated that he started beating me, immediately he saw me.  He threw me to the ground and he kicked me severally on my face.   Our noise attracted other residents of the area and they rushed out, pleading that he should let go of me, but their pleas fell on deaf ears.

He became uncontrollable. Even when I hid behind a fence at the canal, he came looking for me.  About 30 minutes later, when I got back home and I was preparing to leave the area completely, he showed up again at the house and  was still armed with the sharp broken bottle.    He requested  for  his balance  when he saw me.   I  brought  it out from my pocket and he asked a man standing close to us  to collect and  count,  if  it  was still N760 which it was.

Onlookers

“He was angry and he lifted his right hand while holding the bottle in an attempt to stab me. I defended it and pushed his hand away. I don’t know how it happened, but he stabbed himself on the neck and reportedly slumped to the ground.

After a while, he started convulsing seriously. Some onlookers, who witnessed it all, immediately ran out to get a taxi to convey him to the hospital.  But he gave up before they got back.    Now the police are saying I killed him. I did not kill him.

I know we were badly drunk but all this would have been averted if he had heeded to calls to stop chasing me”, he stated.

Meanwhile, the Lagos State Police Command Image_maker, (SP) Frank Mba who confirmed this report said the police are currently investigating the circumstances surrounding the death. According to him: “We’ve commenced full investigations into the case.   We have the suspect in our custody and we are set to unravelling the true nature of the death.

Well, it is common for suspects in police custody to cook up stories for their defence. For us, we are investigating a case of homicide.   We will not get abstracted with what anybody says. Our job is to investigate discreetly and unravel the truth.

We are going to collect eyewitness statements and we would collaborate them with what we get from forensic, then we will head to court”,  he stated..


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