A battered housewife, Fausat Ogunji, who ran to the Area M Police Command, located at the Idimu/Isheri area of Lagos State, to seek protection from her husband, has accused them of allegedly demanding N50, 000 before they could attend to her.
Fausat said she had run to the station to lodge a complaint of battering and attempted murder against her husband, Goke Ogunji, but was shocked when the police asked for money before they could attend to her.
The alleged demand for money before arrest or investigation by the police from victims of sexual and gender-based violence is one of the reasons victims remain in abusive relationships. These victims see the quest for justice as being too expensive. Some police personnel as state actors have continued to be albatross in the ongoing war against domestic violence.
The Area M Commander, Mr Akano, after being briefed about the alleged demand for money from a battered housewife before recording the report, promised to look into the case.
Fausat explained that her husband, a Marine Engineer, beat her to the extent that she lost consciousness. When she regained consciousness, she was in a hospital. Fausat said she was sick and tired of the constant beating from Goke, insisting she wanted a divorce.
Reacting to her allegations, Goke said that his wife was being economical with the truth. He explained that it was Fausat that had literally made life a living hell for him. Goke said Fausat only went to the hospital because she had malaria, not because he attacked her.
He, however, admitted that they had an altercation before she had malaria. He explained that during the quarrel, Fausat grabbed his manhood. He begged and cried, but she allegedly wouldn’t let go. He said that in order to save his life, he had to hit her. He revealed that he had been living in fear in his house since Fausat attempted thrice to attack him with a jackknife.
Fausat recalled: “My daughter and I went to Area M Police, where I narrated my ordeal to a woman police officer. She directed me to another woman, who is tall and fair. She took me upstairs and asked me what happened. I narrated my story, and she said she was going to write a petition, and that I should pay N50, 000. I told her I didn’t have such an amount of money and then I called my mom, who then pleaded with the fair woman police to collect N10, 000, but she refused. She later reduced the money to N20, 000 and I had been trying to raise the money, but I couldn’t. I even asked my aunt to help with a loan, but she refused. She said going to the police station to lodge a complaint was free, and then she called the Advocates for Children and Vulnerable Persons Network (ACVPN). I explained everything to the organisation.”
Fausat stated that she had been facing domestic violence in her marriage for years and that people in her street could attest to that. The woman, who introduced herself as a teacher, said her daughters were between ages 13 and three years old.
Fausat alleged: “I’m the one that pays for my three-year-old daughter’s school fees with my insignificant salary. Even my children’s feeding is often handled by me. Sometimes, he drops money and other times, he doesn’t.”
She said that there was a time when the beating was so much that she and Goke had to separate for five years. Goke later came to apologise, and they reconciled. She said that following the reconciliation, Goke was briefly nice to her, but then he reverted to his old habit of beating her.
She said: “Back then, I reported him to a human rights organisation at the Igando area, but he involved his brother, who is a police officer, and the human rights people advised us to attempt an amicable settlement. We did, and I sincerely believed he would change, but he didn’t. This latest issue, which caused me to go to Area M Police at Idimu, happened after I returned from work. I sell clothes, which I use to augment my salary. I was advertising clothes in our house when I heard the sound of his car. I told my customers that we should go downstairs, to avoid his quarrels. I had already cooked for him with my money. Less than 10minutes later, he opened the window and started hurling insults at me, complaining that I didn’t serve his food.”
Fausat said she dashed upstairs, only to discover that their daughter had already served Goke.
“I told him that the food had already been served, and I didn’t understand why he was still shouting. He then poured the plate of soup and semo on me. He grabbed a keg filled with liquid and hit me. I took an empty keg and hit him. He punched me and started beating me. Goke pressed my neck down and bit me. I saw myself in a pool of blood and then I became unconscious,” narrated Fausat.
She said that when she regained consciousness, she told the doctor to snap the bite wound before it was stitched. According to her, when she later asked the doctor to send the pictures to her, he said he had mistakenly deleted them.
She further recalled: “I got discharged from the hospital the following day after I was stitched. However, on the third day, my eyes began to swell. I returned to the hospital, only for the doctor to discover that pus was in my eyes. It had to be drained and the stench was offensive. I took five injections.”
Fausat said that when she became unconscious, neighbours rushed her to the hospital. She said her daughter called family members to tell them to come to the rescue of her mom. Fausat said her mother paid the medical bills and then assisted her to pack her children’s clothing after she said she was through with the marriage.
Fausat said: “My husband didn’t visit me in the hospital, but he gave my mom permission to take me away. He refused to allow me to take my youngest child, saying he would take her to his mother in the village. I grabbed the child and scaled the fence. He said the child was his only biological child, that the elder one was a bastard. I’m currently receiving treatment at my aunt’s place. I’m tired. I want a divorce, and I want him to play his role as a father to the children by paying for their school fees and providing monthly upkeep.”
Goke also has his own side of the story to narrate. Just like Fausat, he said that the latest conflict occurred after he returned home on that fateful day.
His words: “I returned home to see her downstairs. She didn’t come up to give me food. She was with friends, and when I asked her if she didn’t see I was back, she ignored me. I went to the kitchen to take food. Not up to 30 minutes, she came upstairs and warned me never to address her anyhow in the presence of her friends, else she would stab me. She has attempted to stab me three times with a jackknife. I have been living in fear in the house. On the day we quarrelled over the food, she grabbed my manhood and I almost died. I had to hit her so that I could free myself. That evening, I took her to the hospital and paid the medical bills. The second day, I was there, and they discharged her the third day.”
He continued: “After I paid the hospital bill, she was discharged. Two days after, she complained of an inability to sleep. We returned to the hospital; the doctor said she had malaria. I dropped money for her treatment and on the second day, I was there again. I asked the doctor if it was okay for her to go home, he said that he didn’t want her to go so that she wouldn’t have a relapse. He said that they would watch her until the next day. I called the doctor and told him that it was almost 7: pm, that he should discharge her. He said she had been discharged and already left. At about 8:30 pm, I saw her mother, two women and her younger sister; I saw that my daughter had already locked her door and was packing her clothes and then they took my baby and started packing her things. They drove off. I told them that as they were leaving, they shouldn’t return. A similar situation happened some years ago before I travelled out of the country. She spent almost eight years in her parents’ house before she came back.”
He added: “I’m a sailor, I’m not always around. She told people that I haven’t been having intercourse with her for more than four years. I told her that she didn’t even act like a housewife. A woman has to be submissive, and she’s not! She believes that she married me, but I will not allow her to dictate to me! If I give her N3000 for soup, she will complain and she knows I have no job. I can’t kill myself to please her.”