What could have instigated a man to grab a fellow man’s hand and bite off his fingers? Madness or hatred? The question, until this moment, remains a riddle to both the victim and the assailant. Ayodele Oshikokhai, the victim of such savagery, is still in shock; he could not believe that he has lost his finger. Each time he looks at the stump that is now his left index finger, he is overwhelmed by a mixed feeling. The violent drama happened at 1 am on May 30, 2019, at Western Area Estate, Magodo, Lagos. Oshikokhai, 55, a security supervisor with Ken Grace Guards, had stopped John, a domestic staff of one of the houses in the estate, for a check at the gate.
“I had asked him to call his boss so that we would confirm before allowing him entry,” says Oshikhokhai, “the next thing I knew, my hand was in his mouth and he was biting my finger until he bit it off completely.” What was most confounding, a few days later when he was sober and sane, John had alibied his action thus: “A spirit told me to “kill him, waste his life.”
Oshikokhai not only lost his index finger, but he is also still in pain seven weeks after. He is currently seeing a plastic surgeon at Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH).
In a brief chat with Saturday Sun, he retells the story of that stormy encounter.
Starting with the backstory, he details the acrimonious relationship between himself and the suspect, dating back to three months earlier.
“John is an employee of one of the houses in the estate. I have been working here for about 18 months now. He has only been around for three months. As the Chief Security Officer, it is my duty to be aware of what happened in the estate. As a character, John is rude and rough. We have caught him smoking Indian hemp on a number of occasions, and I had drawn the attention of his employer to this. What I noticed was that he became abusive towards me. The last incident of note happened the day an auto mechanic came in to fix his employer’s vehicle. After the repair, the servant wanted to take the jeep out of the estate for a test drive. As per protocol, we needed expressed permission from the owner before his hired help can drive the car out of the estate. When I told him this, he started raving, but I stood my ground until he complied. He called his boss and I told him the situation. After listening to me, the man said I should allow him to take it out for a test drive. At that point, John said to me: “Look, in this estate, I will either kill you or I’ll wound you.”
Unfortunately, Oshikokhai disregarded the threat as “an empty threat from a smoker of weed and chronic drunk.”
The day of the assault
It was a month later before John could make good his threat. He found the opportunity two days after his employer had informed him of the plan to relieve him of his job. “That night, he had arrived at the gate after midnight, past 1 am,” Oshikhokhai narrates. “He banged loudly at the gate demanding entry and because of the manner of his conduct, he and the other security guards were engaged in a heated argument. I had to intervene. I asked him to call his boss as we need to hear from him before granting him entry because he was not supposed to be outside at that odd hour. That he refused to do.
“So, I dialled his boss’ number, but no one picked the call. As we opened the gate for a vehicle to come in, he darted into the estate. I was still trying to get his boss on the phone when he grabbed me violently by the neck. I shoved him off and still try to get his employer on the phone. The next thing I know, he grabbed my hand and he clamped his teeth on my finger. I screamed in pain. My scream rang through the night. He bolted out of the gate and disappeared into the night. When I looked at my hand, I saw blood. To my amazement, my index finger had been bitten off including the nail.”
That night, John’s employer had taken him to Solid Rock Hospital, Ojodu, where he was treated and referred to Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, LASUTH, Ikeja. “The man spent N18, 000 that night at both hospitals before we returned to the estate by 4 am. In the morning my colleagues found the pieces of my finger he bit off and spat into the drain. At 8 am, we reported the incident at Isheri Police Station and he was arrested and detained. At the station, he told the policemen that he decided to bite the finger because I kept pointing the finger at him.”
Three days after the incident, the assailant was taken to the Magistrate Court, Ogba, to be arraigned. Luckily for him, the court did not sit on that day. He was, therefore, taken back to the police cell. That day, his friends rallied and bailed him.
He eventually gave an absurd reason for his heinous action. “At the court premises, he was somehow remorseful, weeping and begging that he has wife and children to take care of,” Oshikokhai recalls. “He called me aside and told me at the time of the confrontation, he did not know what came upon him, that he was overpowered by a spirit that kept urging him: “Kill this man, waste his life.” He claimed he was powerless under the influence of the spirit and, therefore, did not know when he grabbed my hand and put it in his mouth. It was after he bit off my finger that he became aware of what he had done and was overwhelmed by fear.”
In retrospect, Oshikokhai, a native of Okpe, Akoko Edo Local Government Area of Edo State, believes his situation could have been worse than losing an index finger. “It occurred to me that if he had had any weapon on him that night, he could have either killed me or inflicted more serious injuries on me,” he says.
John, a man in his 30s, known to hail from Plateau State, has since disappeared. No one knows his whereabouts. In the meantime, Oshikokhai is still nursing his finger.
“I have a July 25 appointment with a plastic surgeon Dr Ajani at LASUTH. I met him earlier on June 27. I told him I want my hand fixed so that the deformity will not be obvious,” he discloses.
He brings out his medication, mostly antibiotics drugs, ointments, bandage and plasters, affirming: “I have been spending an average of N7,500 every week since the past one and half month. The hand is healing, but I am still feeling pain.” He also brings out a specimen tube which contains the chopped piece of his finger suspended in a clear liquid that is alcohol. “I took it to court as evidence,” he explains.
Residents of the estate have rallied behind him, so also his organisation, KenGrace Guards, who has taken over the expenses of his treatment.
Of his feeling towards his assailant, he declares: “Well, I have never had anything against him. I have nothing personal against him.”