“He stabbed me on my neck, rib, and arms. When I started shouting, he quickly ran away. I later saw myself at the hospital.”
Friday, November 21, will remain an unforgettable day for Mr Ethel Iloegbulam. That was the day he received a shocking call that his 18-year-old son, Collins Ilogbulam, a Cadet of the Nigeria Navy, had been murdered allegedly by some officials of Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC) attached to 4, Dotun Isijola Street, Kosoko, Ajangbadi.
The call and the report that his son was dead seemed like a dream to him. The father of five from Aniocha Local Government area of Anambra State immediately left Enugu State, where he had gone to secure a contract, back to Lagos.
But at the hospital, Mr Iloegbulam discovered that his son was not dead. He was only battling for life.
Daily Sun learnt that trouble started when the officials, numbering four, went to the residence of Mr Ilogbulam situated at 3, Kinsley Okonkwo Close, Jakande, Ajangbadi to disconnect the electricity supply to the place. But the victim allegedly informed the EKEDC officials that they had paid for their bill. He pleaded that they should allow him to contact his people to find out where they kept the receipt. But it was gathered that his pleas felt on deaf ears. He alleged that the official accused him of prohibiting them from doing their job. “They immediately descended on him. One of them known as Wasiu thereafter picked up a bottle from a nearby shop, and returned to the compound and stabbed him several times before escaping to their office,” a neighbour told Daily Sun.
“It was on Friday, November 21,” the victim informed. “I was the only one at home when officials of Eko Electricity Distribution Company came. They were shouting, asking to see who was around, I came downstairs and met one of them inside. I now told the lady, Onyinye, who is also our marketer, that
they should wait so that I could call my people to find out what was happening, as I just came back from school. One of them said he must cut the cable, that we do not pay. Now, that is wrong, because I know that we do pay the estimated bills that they normally send to us. I pleaded more that they should let me make the call, but the lady refused. Before I know it, these guys descended on me asking me who I was. They started beating me. I told them to stop beating me, that were electricity company officials and that I am a well-disciplined personnel, a Cadet with the Nigerian Navy. But they continued until I manage to escape inside another compound. When my neighbours heard my shout, they came out. This lady called Onyinye was then laughing at me. I collected a phone from one of my neighbours to call my parents. As I was making the call, one of the boys known as Wasiu ran into the compound again, brought out a bottle from his pocket. He then stabbed me on my neck, rib, and arms. When I started shouting, he quickly ran away. I later saw myself at the hospital.”
A resident, Mr Nojeem Babatunde told the repote that he witnessed all that happened, because his shop is close to the scene. His words: “The officials had visited my place first before they proceeded to the next street. I started hearing someone shouting. I rushed there and saw three boys with one lady fighting Collins. I separated them and took Collins inside another compound. Immediately, one of the boys ran to Nkechi’s shop, broke bottle and put the broken piece in his pocket. He now entered where I kept Collins and stabbed him several times. He locked the gate and ran away. Collins was now shouting. When we opened the gate, we saw blood everywhere. All of them ran away and we pursued them, but they ran inside their office.
The Zonal Manager, one man known as Engineer Yemi came out. We told him everything that happened, and he told us that the boy had jumped the fence through the backyard, but he assured that the boy would pay for it. People told us that the boy is his son. He said we should take Collins to a chemist shop, but we know that his condition can only be handled by the hospital. He said the matter was beyond him, and that he would contact his superior. As we were waiting, he went and called the police to guide them. Then they locked all their offices and abandoned us there.”
Secretary of the community, Mr Ojukwu Austin, said he was the one that took the victim to Ancel Hospital at Okokomaiko. He regretted that the EKEDC officials have never shown any interest in the medical bills.
“I am not surprised with the conduct of the officials, because they always follow us with all manner of intimidation, surrounding themselves with area boys when going for disconnection. You see them operating like touts in a commando manner. I was the one who took him to the hospital, I later went to Okoko Police Station to report the matter,” Mr Austin said.
When Daily Sun visited the office of the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) at Okokomaiko, the Zonal manager, Mr Yemi, was seen with some of the residents in a meeting with the DPO. Mr. Yemi promised to provide the suspect to the police within 48 hours. He said the suspect was not his son as was being speculated, explaining that he was the son of a certain Bale in Lagos state.
Meanwhile, Mr Iloegbulam is very aggrieved that he has spent a fortune at the hospital in buying blood and other medical treatments for his son. He lamented that the officials had not shown any interest. He said the zonal manager told him that the matter was a family issue.
“They have not shown any interest. That is why we are crying for prepaid meters to avoid this kind of situations. I am even borrowing now to pay for the medical bills. I lost a contract I went to sign in Enugu State because of this matter, as I abandoned the contract immediately I was called. I am calling on the officials of the agency from their head office not to let anything happen to my son,” Mr Iloegbulam said.