A 14-year-old girl, Victoria Emmanuel is battling for her life after being bathed with acid by a friend on her birthday.
The incident occurred on March 29, around the night market in Mafoluku, Oshodi, Lagos Mainland, where she was celebrating her birthday.
While her peers were pouring water on her body, a 13-year-old boy, Moshood Yusuf, allegedly entered a shop, picked up a bottle and emptied its content on Victoria.
Witnesses said Yusuf thought he was pouring a disinfectant known as Izal on the girl.
When The Nation visited the victim’s 1, Babaelegbe Street, Mafoluku home yesterday, Yusuf’s parents were there begging her family. Victoria said she told Yusuf not to pour the content of the bottle on her since they did not know what was inside.
She said: “It was my birthday. I had told my friends the previous Monday that Wednesday March 29 was my birthday. So, when I went to fetch water at the night market that night, those who came to my house to rejoice with me followed me.
“I was carrying a big bucket on my head but on the road, they put it down and started pouring the water on me to celebrate my birthday. Some were pouring dirty water on me and others sand. That was how Moshood ran into a shop and brought out a container. There was something inside and I told him not to pour it on me because we don’t know what was in it. He opened it, smelled it and said it smelt like chemical. We told him again that he shouldn’t pour that on me but he didn’t listen. As I walked past him, he poured the content on my body from behind. I screamed and ran towards the tap but he got there before me and opened it so that water would pour on my body.
“While I was under the tap, the woman who owns the place chased us away that I was wasting her water, though she owed me N70. That was the last thing I remembered. I was later told that I fainted and was rushed to Edmark Hospital. I was discharged in the evening of the following day because my daddy insisted he wanted to take me to General Hospital. So, I was moved to Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) where they have been giving me treatment.
“Moshood was arrested by policemen from Makinde but he was later released. He has not come to see me since then but his parents have been coming. We didn’t fight. We have never quarrelled. He’s my friend. I don’t know what happened. Although, one Ganiyu claimed that he told him he was going to hurt me, I don’t know if that’s true.
“They said they have asked him where he got acid from but he insisted he thought it was Izal that was inside. He said he was looking for a container to enable him carry more water and pour on me. But the shop owner has denied keeping any acid in her shop. The woman was crying and swearing that she didn’t keep anything like that since she has little children, who could have easily gotten to it.”
Victoria’s mother, Mrs. Chidinma Emmanuel lamented the hardship the incident has caused her family, saying that she has not been able to concentrate on her petty trade. She noted the expenses they have incurred since the mishap, wondering if her daughter’s skin would ever heal.
Mrs. Emmanuel said her family was not interested in a case, explaining that they would appreciate if the hospital bill was refunded.
She said: “His parents have been coming. They have extended solidarity but I think it shouldn’t just be by words of mouth. You can see that we are a struggling family. This unfortunate incident has cost us so much. There’s a drug we have been buying N1,200 per sachet to apply on her body.
“I expect that Moshood’s family would support us financially or pick the bills, since all the children there said he was told to not pour the content on my daughter but he went ahead to do it. So far, we haven’t heard anything from them. Yes, they paid the N16,000 we were charged at Edmark the night the incident happened. After that, they haven’t done anything again. If they are coming for settlement, the only settlement is for them to pay all expenses incurred.”
Moshood’s mother, Mrs. Ganiyat Yusuf described the incident as a mistake, saying her family was awaiting the final outcome from LASUTH, to know what to do next.
She said: “It was just a mistake. In fact, Moshood also got burnt by the acid on his chest and leg. He didn’t know the content of the bottle and since they were jubilating, he poured it on her without knowing. It’s a regrettable mistake. But what we want is for peace to reign. We don’t want a situation where both families would start fighting over it or the two children becoming enemies.”