A young woman, Mary Sunday, has alleged that she was assaulted by Isaac Gbanwuan, her fiancé, who is also a policeman after discovering that he had a low sperm count a few weeks to our marriage.
Mary told SaharaReporters that her fiancé, Gbanwuan, was diagnosed with low sperm count a few weeks to their wedding, and thinking she would leave him, he beat her up and poured hot stew on her alongside a lit stove in the process.
She stated that though he had been placed on medications, Gbanwuan suspected every phone call she had was from an imaginary lover and accused her of having an affair with men around her, including her pastor.
She said, “He was diagnosed with zero sperm count and was placed on medication. He started suspecting every call that I had on my phone. He accused me of trying to run away because of his predicament. Everyone around me then, as long as you are a man, you must be going out with me. He called everyone, including my pastors, and accused them of having an affair with me.
“We already had our introduction, we were about to do our traditional marriage when I discovered he had the challenges.
“I threatened to leave him if he didn’t adhere to the doctor’s advice but I didn’t mean it though. I just wanted him to take his prescription seriously.”
Narrating the incident that led to her deformation, Sunday said she had followed Gbanwuan to the hospital for his treatment and while coming back, she got a call from her aunt who was on her way to Lagos from Akwa Ibom State.
She said the language barrier between them and the long conversation she had with her aunt made Gbanwuan paranoid.
“Gbanwuan suspected that I was calling another man and had probably disclosed his medical condition to the person, that I couldn’t talk to a fellow woman for such a lengthy period. Immediately we got home, he started beating me. He’s from Benue State while I am from Akwa Ibom State, so he doesn’t understand my language. I tried to convince him but he kept on beating me.
“When I couldn’t bear the beating anymore, I decided to force myself out of his room and ran to his neighbour who was also his very good friend at Pedro Police Barracks, Shomolu. I went to her to seek refuge but Gbanwuan chased after me. She was in her kitchen cooking stew. I shouted for help and she quickly responded. She tried to stop Gbanwuan while I was hiding behind her; all the kicks and punches Gbanwuan threw at me landed on her body.”
Sunday said the neighbour got tired at a certain point and decided to leave the duo, especially as Gbanwuan continued warning the woman not to interfere in his family matters.
“I escaped into the kitchen when I saw she had left me to face Gbanwuan. Apparently, he overpowered me and had access to the kitchen. I shot the door. I tried to lock it from inside but couldn’t as Gbanwuan was pushing it from outside. He came in, the lit stove with the stew that was on it, he dumped everything on my body. The stove exploded and I was on fire. I ran out of the kitchen in search of water. People downstairs saw me covered in flames and ran to my rescue. They poured water on me and rush me to the hospital.”
According to her, she was taken to Christiana Hospital, a private hospital I. Shomolu.
She said Gbanwuan only visited her to mock her. She said she spent about four months at Christiana Hospital and that her medical bills were paid by her family.
“Later, they dragged Gbanwuan to Pedro Police Barracks where the bill was split into two for my family and Gbanwuan. He signed an undertaking to pay in instalments. The doctor at the hospital paid part of the bill. Gbanwuan paid N90, 000, my family paid N140, 000 and the rest was paid by the doctor. The bill was around N300, 000.”
Mary said she was later transferred to the National Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi, Lagos, where she spent 6 months. She said Gbanwuan never visited her at the hospital nor paid the medical bill.
“Three stages of surgeries were done; I was later referred to India for reconstructive surgeries. My family paid the bills that were almost N2 million. I was discharged and referred to India for corrective surgeries.”
The survivor also alleged that while on admission at the orthopedic hospital, Gbanwuan sent a text message to her sister, telling her that Sunday could move on.
She said a few weeks later, her sister received videos and pictures of Gbanwuan’s traditional marriage on her phone.
“He got married while I was still struggling in the hospital. My sister wanted to react but people advised her not to do so to avoid two people going down. In 2016, four years later, I lost my sister, my breadwinner. When I lost her, my world shut down, I didn’t know where I was, I saw objects in twos. I was frustrated and started looking for ways to survive. I don’t have parents. I have no one anymore. I called my lawyer, she offered me accommodation in Abeokuta so I relocated to Abeokuta in Ogun State.”
The distraught lady said she had consequently approached the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team at Alausa to get justice.
She said a letter was written to the Attorney General and former Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, and got an immediate response after which she was sent to India for surgeries.
“I did two stages out of three before coronavirus shut down the whole world. I still need to do more surgeries,” she said.
She, however, alleged that the police had refused to arrest Gbanwuan, whom she said had also failed to appear in court.
She said the police force has been shielding Gbanwuan since 2012 and that though he is on the list of officers to be prosecuted over police brutality following the #EndSARS protest, Gbanwuan is still serving and has not been arrested.
“The case is already in court but the police refused to produce him. Please, I want him to appear in court. They have been shielding him since 2012. He is number 3 on the list of officers to be prosecuted during #EndSARS protest. He is still serving. He has not been arrested,” she said.
According to her, the Director of Public Prosecutions in Lagos sent messages to the state police command twice, but no positive response followed them. She said petitions were also sent to the Inspector-General of Police by Lagos State, without a response.
She also said the Lagos Police Command once sent a lawyer to court, who “promised to bring him to court on the next adjournment date, but both the lawyer and the policeman have failed to come till date”.
She said, “My way to get justice has been tough and narrow. My sister tried to get justice for me but couldn’t as the police failed to produce him; lies upon lies were all we got from the police. So, my lawyer dragged the Federal Government to the ECOWAS court for failing to prosecute him. Till now, Nigeria Police Force still doesn’t want to bring him out.”
The verdict given by the judge at the ECOWAS court says, “IHRDA (The Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa) and WARDC (Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre) today, 17 May, 2018 have obtained a favourable judgment against Nigeria in the ‘Mary Sunday’ domestic violence case. Mary in 2012 was severely abused by her fiancé, a Nigerian Police Officer, which resulted in the deformation and incapacitation of the victim, as her fiancé, Corporal Gbanwuan Isaac beat her up and poured a pot of boiling stew on her, causing severe burns on her head and body. The complainants alleged the state’s failure to effectively investigate the incident, prosecute and punish the perpetrator of the violations. The Court found Nigeria in violation of Mary’s right to access to justice and right to have her cause heard; and has ordered Nigeria to pay Mary reparation of N50 million – about $138,000.” At
Mary said Gbanwuan was conspicuously absent eight consecutive times the court sat for a hearing and the next hearing date is March 1st.
The lady, who is a graduate of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka in Enugu State said she was gainfully employed before the incident but had opted to join the Nigeria Police Force before the incident.
She said had obtained the application form and started the process before the incident.
She said her dreams were cut short.
She lamented how she lost her fingerprint and a sweat gland which has made it difficult for her to take up a job.
She added: “I was still in the process of becoming a senior police officer when the calamity struck. The journey took me to meet with Afe Babalola, Mr. Caleb, former Minister of Police Affairs, and Mr. Pius, the Chairman, Police Service Commission, then. My dreams were cut short. I wrote the final exam in Abuja. I started in my state, from my state to Cross River State and finally to Abuja where final selections were made.
“I have lost my two pinnae (the external part of the ear), and fingerprint. My right ear can’t hear sounds anymore. I also lost my sweat glance, I can’t sweat anymore. Doctors said nothing can be done to restore it. It was completely damaged by the flame. I don’t go to work. Even if I get a job, it will be difficult because of the heat. Eating a square meal a day remains a miracle. if I expose myself to the sun, I can collapse. I don’t put on clothes for a long time. It has no remedy. It will remain like that till my last day on earth except a miracle happens.”