BY EVELYN USMAN
LAGOS — Policemen at Bode Thomas division of Lagos State command, Tuesday, arrested a woman who allegedly set her 11-year-old house maid ablaze in Surulere area of Lagos, for stealing a piece of meat from her pot of soup.
The maid identified as Ita Bassey-Eno who reportedly escaped death by the whiskers, is currently at the Burns and Trauma Centre of the Gbadaga General Hospital, with doctors battling to save her life.
Although her mistress, a staff nurse at an undisclosed hospital in Surulere, Mrs Nkese Iroakazi, reportedly denied the allegation at the police station, the ailing girl was said to have managed to state that she allegedly poured kerosene on her before striking a stick of matches to set her on fire.
The incident, as gathered, occurred last Saturday at 7, Adeniran Ogunsanya Street, after Ita rushed out of the apartment with fire on her, apparently in an attempt to plunge into a gutter. Unfortunately, she reportedly fell before she could get to the gutter.
One of the residents was said to have succeeded in putting out the fire with the aid of a fire extinguisher, before she was rushed to the hospital.
A resident who simply identified herself as Morakinyo told Vanguard: “I was just alighting from the bus when I saw people gathered in front of the building. When I got there, I saw Ita whom we all call Eno on the floor. Then, the flame had been put out.
“Two men who attempted to carry her into a car could not because the skin at that time had peeled off. They had to get a slab, placed her on it and rushed her to the hospital. From what I gathered, the girl has spent barely one month in Lagos before the incident.
“She was brought from her village in Akwa Ibom State last month alongside another girl called Happiness. Since then, we have not seen either of them going to school.
“We heard that while Happiness was in the sitting room, there was a cry from Ita in the kitchen and before she (Happiness) knew what was happening, Ita rushed out of the kitchen and straight to the road shouting for help.
“How could someone who has children of her own treat another’s like this? It was even the residents that alerted policemen who came to pick Mrs Iroakazi.”
When Vanguard visited the hospital, Tuesday, a doctor who spoke on condition of anonymity expressed fear about the victim’s condition, revealing that she suffered 95 per cent burns.
“It will take a miracle for her to survive. In any case, we are trying all we can to ensure she gets back on her feet. That will entail some surgeries because her private part was badly damaged.
“Currently, she wears pampers and that area needs immediate surgery after the injuries would have healed.”
Ita was sighted with bandage all over her body, except her face and feet. When a nurse approached her to administer the day’s treatment, she groaned in pains.
As at 3 p.m yesterday, police sources told Vanguard that the suspect would be transferred to the state Criminal Investigation Department, Panti, Yaba for further investigation.