BY ONOZURE DANIA
Mrs Rose Abbey, the petty trader who was allegedly beaten and detained in a Micro Finance Bank at Ipaja area of Lagos, last month, following her inability to offset N17,000 loan, has raised alarm over threat to her life and that of members of her family.
Currently, the petty trader and members of her family are living in fear following strange telephone calls.
The mother of four was allegedly detained for three days in the micro finance bank located on 170/172 Ipaja Road, after she defaulted in the weekly payment of N2,000 to offset the N17,000 loan. The Edo State born housewife was however released after a friend reportedly paid the weekly deposit.
After her release, her illegal detention was reported at the Gowon Estate police division where both parties were invited.
However along the line, she said, “ the Divisional Crime Officer gave me a medical report to go to the hospital for treatment. While I was under duress, I was asked to write and sign an undertaking that I was going to withdraw the case and resolve it amicably with the bank. To my surprise, I discovered that the bank manager who had earlier admitted in her statement that she actually detained me for three days, later denied ”.
Since her release, she told Crime Guard that she had been receiving telephone calls from an unknown caller threatening to kill members of her family if she failed to pay the money owed.
She further said she recently received a call from a police woman who informed her that the Divisional Crime Officer, Gowon estate police station would like to have a round table discussion with her, Tuesday.
A day before the appointment, she disclosed that manager of the micro finance bank accompanied by another staff went into the station and came out to where she was selling, bragging that she had got the needed information on her.
When Crime Guard visited the Police station, Tuesday, the Divisional Crime Officer, DCO, stated that he was not aware that the victim was being threatened by the bank manager, adding also that she ( victim) did not sign the undertaking under duress. The DCO asserted that the woman cannot withdraw the undertaking since she had already signed it, threatening that if she attempts to withdraw the matter, he would begin investigations into the illegal detention afresh.
When Crime Guard also contacted the bank manager on phone, someone who simply identified himself as Tayo, picked, informing that the manager was not around.
Gender group intervenes, threatens legal action
Meanwhile, the country representative, Gender Justice and Equity Initiative and event convener, Nigerian Women Transformation Awards Conference And Exhibition, Nana Modupe Onwodi has described the incident as an act of jungle justice, calling for an urgent need for justice to prevail.
Onwodi in a press statement said, “it has come to our attention that a Nigerian woman from Edo State was abducted by a micro finance bank in Lagos,recently. The story clearly stated that the victim, one Mrs Rose Abbey who borrowed seventeen thousand naira from a micro finance bank at Ipaja, Lagos to pay back two thousand naira every week and has been paying, defaulted once due to poor sales.
She was allegedly kept in the bank premises for three days without food or water. She was battered and was not permitted to talk to her husband or children. Can this happen in Lagos state? a corporate body? a woman? a mother? a wife ? a Nigerian? These questions are indeed, begging for answers and we say its unacceptable. We, as a gender justice body, have therefore, decided to engage the services of a lawyer and will make sure social justice is done to the people who perpetrated this injustice to Mrs. Abbey.
We want the world to know that this kind of thing can no longer be tolerated irrespective of whose ox is gored. Proper social conduct and due process must be practised in Nigeria.” she stated.