By Evelyn Usman
Franca Ogbu, a 22-year-old student of Federal University of Technology, Yola, Adamawa State, used to be the cynosure of all eyes . In fact, several suitors have reportedly sought her hand in marriage, a request she often rejected politely, on the ground that she must at least, be in the university before thinking about marriage.
But when her desire of going to school was fulfilled last year, with it came an unfortunate incident that has currently crippled the life of the once beautiful girl. As you read this piece, the Benue State-born is lying critically ill at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, looking a shadow of her old self.
Franca, described as a promising child eventually had her dreams come through after she was offered admission into the Federal University of Technology, Yola, to study Economics. As she bade her parents goodbye, beaming with smiles and a mixed feeling of pains of missing her parents, she left with the little food stuffs her parents managed to get for her.
But her joy was short lived, six months into her education following an acid bath by a male student. Franca, according to the University authority, had on that fateful day, gone to class where she was reading, when all of a sudden, an incident that changed the entire course of her life happened.
Two students reportedly stormed the class. One of them was said to have walked up to the unsuspecting student who at the same time, raised up her head to see who the intruder was, only for the intruder to pour a liquid substance later discovered to be acid on her face.
Explaining, the Zonal Coordinator of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Federal University of Technology, Yola branch, Dr Usman Abubakar, alleged that one Chibuzor Bright was responsible. His action, he said, followed Franca’s objection to his several advances.
Speaking with Crime Guard, Dr Usman said, “Franca Ogbu Adima Paul, is a part I Economics student of Federal University of Technology, Yola (now Modibbo Adama University of Technology). Until the 5th of May, 2010, she was very normal. On that early morning, at about 1.15am, she was reading in the Mechanical Engineering Block of the Institution, in preparation for her examinations when suddenly, someone standing in front of her called her name and on raising her face up, she was spilled with concentrated acid. She is currently in the surgical ward of the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital. The acid affected her head, face, chest, hand and mouth.”
Chibuzor , a final year Civil Engineering student, was alleged to have sponsored the dastardly act by using one Nelson who poured the acid. Already, it was learnt that the School authority has dismissed him after which he was subsequently arrested .
Franca has been lying on
the hospital bed for over one year with her face disfigured, owing to her parent’s inability to get the required amount of money to carry out a plastic surgery on her. Her parents who are peasant farmers have lost hope of their first daughter returning to her normal self. Presently, their greatest worry is not just the fact that the incident has incapacitated their daughter but the painful fact that the alleged assailant is said to be walking the streets freely.
For Franca to get back on her feet and carry on with her education, she needs the sum of N12 million for the surgery. So far, the Bauchi zone of ASUU comprising eight Universities in the North-Eastern Nigeria, as gathered, launched a campaign to raise the needed money to save Franca, with an account opened at the Fidelity Bank UNIMAID Branch. The account number is 6051446636 and the project account name is FRANCA TREATMENT.
The national body of ASUU which condemned the act in its entirety had, during one of its meetings in Ibadan , Oyo state, described the act as ‘a brutal act typically, man’s inhumanity to a fellow human being’”, calling on all well -meaning and sympathetic Nigerians, philanthropists and Civil Society Organizations, to contribute generously towards getting Franca back on her feet.
The hospital, as reliably gathered, had carried about 11 surgical operations on Franca for free. But she reportedly has 13 more operations to go, a financial burden too heavy for the parents to bear.
They therefore called on well meaning Nigerians to come to their rescue.