BY PETER DURU, MAKURDI
For Monday Obinnah, the 15th of June, 2013 was a day he would always remember for the rest of his life because it was a day he had a close shave with death. Today, he is still battling with the pains of an acid bath allegedly inflicted on him by a professional colleague and some hoodlums.
Obinnah who is now in pains narrated his ordeal to Saturday Vanguard, amid sympathizers who thronged daily to console him.
The middle aged man said he is an employee of an advertising firm that is based in Lagos with special attention on outdoor advertising.
According to him, “I am a marketing officer and North Central supervisor of ‘Ahaa Media’ and we specialize in outdoor advertising which include the mounting of billboards across the country.
”On that fateful day, I travelled to Makurdi to supervise and monitor our billboards in the town, but to my chagrin, I saw that one of our authorised billboards located on Otukpo road, close to Sev-Av Foundation Headquaters had Hero larger beer illegally advertised on it without due authorization.
“I made enquiries as to who posted the advertorial to no avail. I had no option but to climb the board in an attempt to remove the advertised image.
“While I was doing that, one Chidiebere Okugo who claimed he is the sales representative of the firm whose product was advertised on the board, mobilized hoodlums who assisted him to attack me while I was still hanging on the billboard.
“They used dangerous weapons including sticks, stones and what I later realised was a chemical to force me down, but I refused because the way they confronted me, I was afraid for my life.
“And in their desperation to get me down from the billboard, they struck and cut down one of the electric power lines that was close to the billboard which fell on me and almost electrocuted me.
“At that point, I fell down and they descended on me, but I was lucky to have been rescued by a team of Police men from the command headquaters. It was at the police station that I noticed that parts of my body were peeling off.”
He said after making his statement at the station, he was granted bail and rushed to a hospital in Makurdi for first aid treatment and afterwards transferred to the National Hospital Abuja and later to the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital where he underwent plastic surgery and is currently battling with pains and life threatening burns on parts of his body.
Meantime, Saturday Vanguard gathered from the First Information Report, FIR, filed at the Police station by the lead accused, Chidiebere Okugo, a sales representative of the firm whose product was advertised on the billboard, where he claimed that the advert billboard belonged to his company.
He also claimed that he noticed the burns on the victims body when he was taken to the Police station. “It was at the Police station that I noticed injury on the man’s body.
“I noticed that his leg and other parts of his body were peeling off and I do not know how to describe it.
“As a sales representative of my company covering Makurdi only, my work does not cover billboards but to my knowledge, the billboard in question is our company’s billboard.
“The branding department of our company told me that they are the people who mounted the billboard. I will be surprised to know that my company does not own the billboard in question.
“I am not aware that the billboard is being claimed by another company. Though I was aware that the victim was rushed to the National Hospital Abuja, I did not order anybody to beat him up”, Okugo said.
Meanwhile, a Makurdi based legal practitioner, Terfa Akosu has taken up the matter in pursuit of justice for the victim.
Akosu told Saturday Vanguard in Makurdi that he opted to take up the matter againt the accused and his firm because “the treatment meted out to the victim was dastardly, brutal and beyond comprehension.
“That the young man is still alive today is just by the share grace of God and we strongly believe that justice would be done in the matter to serve as deterrent to others ,” Akosu said.