Edo State Police Command has a tough job to do as it tries to unravel the circumstances surrounding the gruesome murder of Miss Deborah Bassey,
AGENE AKHERE reports…
The death of 22-year-old Deborah Bassey, Accounting student of Benson Idahosa University in Benin, Edo State capital, has left her family, relations and friends in sorrow and tears. Deborah, said to be a virgin, was found naked and stone dead in a pool of her blood at a welder’s workshop lcated a few metres away from a church she usually attended along Upper Adesuwa in GRA Benin-
City. Some yet-to-be-identified assailants had allegedly raped Deborah to death in the early hours of Saturday, March 8, 2014 around 4 am. Her gruesome killing has now left her family and residents of the area distraught and living in disbelief.
The deceased, a sickle cell patient, had set out on that fateful Saturday, March 8 unknown to her that death was lurking around the corner. Her elder sister, Mrs. Joan Paul Momodu, a gospel artiste based in Benin-City, who was still reeking in disbelief, accused the management of Edo State Sickle Cell Centre of gross negligence, which she said contributed to her sister’s death.
Trying to hold her tears back, she said: “My sister started behaving abnormally at some point, so we decided to take her to the Edo State Sickle Cell Centre along Golf Road in the GRA because she was suffering from sickle cell. There, we were advised by one of the attendants to take her to the psychiatric hospital because she was shouting and disturbing other patients.”
But, according to her, despite seeking help at the psychiatric hospital, her condition worsened. So the family later decided to take her to the church where prayers were offered for her and she (Deborah) started getting better.
Date with Death
But as if the late undergraduate had a date with death, on that faithful Saturday, her condition deteriorated so she allegedly said she wanted to go back to the Sickle Cell Centre for medical attention. She was said to have left the church unaccompanied.
“She left for the centre. We later got a call that we needed to buy a pint of blood. At that time, I didn’t have the money so my niece came and gave us the money, which we used to buy the blood as required. At the centre they complained that she was shouting and disturbing the peace of other patients, so she got angry and said she was leaving the place around 11 pm.
“They allowed her to leave in the dead of the night without any mobile phone and money on her. She started trekking from the Golf Course area to Upper Adesuwa with the intention of spending the rest of the night with a church member.
“When she eventually got to that house, there was nobody to open the gate for her even after banging the gate for several minutes. She then decided to leave, it was at the point she left the place that she was attacked and raped.
“In the morning when we got the bad news through a church member who raised the alarm after discovering Deborah’s dead body at a welder’s workshop very close to the church where she used to worship, we all rushed to the scene to discover her lifeless and naked body with her braids pulled off, her hair and her neck slit with bruises all over her body apparently because of her resistance.”
According to Mrs.Momodu, the matter was immediately reported at the Etete Police Station.
She said:”The family want Justice because we really can’t understand why the centre which knows her condition could allow her leave the hospital at that hour of the night. This amounts to gross negligence on the part of the hospital and we want the police authorities to invite the management of the hospital for questioning.
Question from Sickle Cell Centre
“The question the centre asked my mother when they got the news of Deborah’s death was- why did we take her away for prayers? And that our action showed that we did n’t have any confidence in the treatment they were giving her. And we asked them if we did n’t have confidence in the treatment how come we allowed her to be receiving treatment from the centre since her secondary school days?
“Do you believe that there was no single doctor in the hospital the night she left the place? What they had in place was a security man who as I speak they have refused to produce. This is gross negligence, they are not showing any sigh of remorse; no sane human being would have allowed such a person to leave at that unholy hour of the night. Oshiomhole must hear this.”
The sickle cell center has a resident secretary and medical team who could respond to our enquiry on Deborah’s death but none of them was ready to talk about the issue when WESTERN POST visited the centre.
We were told to approach the state Commissioner for Health, Dr. (Mrs.) AihanuwaEregie, on the matter.
But several visits and calls to the office of the Commissioner for Health failed to yield any positive result as she was said to be on official duty.
It was, however, gathered that the commissioner may not have received the petition from the bereaved family yet.
When contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Moses Eguavoen, said the command was currently investigating the incident.