At first, when relatives of a 25-year-old student of Enugu State College of Education, Chika Egbo, learnt of her romance with a man from the south western part of the country who had offered to marry her, they were surprised giving the fact that their daughter and sister does not live or school in that part of the country.
In spite of the initial skepticism, they later consented to her request of marrying the man, identified as David Sulieman. Her father, Matthew Egbo, is a Taraba based businessman, upon giving his approval, asked her to bring the man and his family to their home town in Awgu, Enugu State, for proper introduction.
The mood in the family became ecstatic, as both her parents and siblings couldn't stand the joy of giving her out in marriage. But little did they know that she was in for trouble.
On June 25, 2011, Sulieman and a couple of friends visited Egbo's home town in Awgu and performed what her father described as 'knocking on the door' which he said was in line with Igbo tradition. "None of them identified themselves as his parent and they said they came for introduction.
I welcomed them and asked Suleiman to bring his parents to me, because marriage is not for children and I also wanted to be familiar with the family I was about giving out my daughter to in marriage. He then told me that his father was sick and he was in coma but he can bring his mother and other members of his family for the marriage ceremony. I said okay that I am waiting. But few months after that, my daughter called me and said she was pregnant.
"I was so shocked and embarrassed. I berated her for letting the family down and not waiting for the man to bring his family to conclude her marriage rite before going to bed with him. She told me that she was sorry, so I accepted and asked her to leave all she was doing in school and travel to Lagos to inform the man's family about her pregnancy.
When she got to Lagos, she called me and said she met a man at Sulieman's house who introduced himself as his father but he was healthy, hail and hearty . She also said that the man told her that he was unaware that Sulieman was engaged to any woman.
She said the man told her that all Sulieman had always requested was visa for him to travel abroad and they have been making plans for that. The man also told my daughter that he had separated with Sulieman's mother for a long time and they were no longer staying together.
Then he gave her Sulieman's mother's phone number and asked her to call the woman and tell her what was happening. When she did, the woman was so surprised and my daughter was embarrassed, she thought Sulieman's mother was on the know of all his plans to marry her and unfortunately his mother wasn't. She then asked her to call him and confirm.
"When she did, Sulieman told my daughter that he wasn't in the country. When my daughter checked the number she used in calling him, it was a local number. She sensed trouble and left the place angrily. Later, she called and told me everything that happened.
She said Sulieman is a liar and she would have to abort the pregnancy because she cannot marry a man she does not trust. I asked her not to do such a thing because it is against our religion and no one knows who the child could become in future. She accepted and kept the pregnancy." Egbo explained
Crime Guard gathered that Chika carried her pregnancy for nine months but Sulieman didn't show up. Her father said they took care of her and paid all her hospital bills. " I didn't hear anything from the man who impregnated my daughter. I and her mother struggled to take care of her and we also paid all her hospital bills and when she put to bed, we also did not hear from him.
We took care of our daughter and when the child became three months, we asked her to bring the child to us at Taraba State so we can take care of her. All this happened last April and by November 4th, I got a call from Sulieman that he wanted to see his daughter, then I told him that if he wanted to see his daughter, he must bring his parents to see me.
That was all I told him and the next day, I got a call from my son in Enugu that his sister has been poured acid by the man who wanted to marry her and she is currently at the hospital. I asked him to rush down to Lagos and confirm if it was true and he did. After he called, I travelled to Lagos and I saw my daughter. I shed tears when I saw her. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw her burnt body.
When I asked what happened, I was told that the man who wanted to marry her tricked her to Lagos, that his mother wanted see her and when she got to Lagos, he took her to a spot, then he brought out a can and poured acid on her, that an Okada rider who took them to the spot saw what was happening and ran after Sulieman but he emptied the can of acid on him also but the man held him firmly. After which they were both arrested by the police who took my daughter and the Okada rider to the nearest hospital.
"All I need now is justice, I have told Sulieman's parents to do all they can to restore my daughter's face. She did nothing to this man. I don't know why he would do such a thing to her. When I spoke to Suileman at the State SCID, Panti, Yaba, lagos, he told me that the devil took over him, that was why he did what he did. " he lamented.
When Crime Guard visited Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, LASUTH,Ikeja to see Chika, doctors at the hospital said she could not talk as she had just gone through a surgery. Also, efforts made to speak with the suspect at the State Criminal Investigations Department, SCID, Panti Yaba, Lagos failed as policemen insisted that nobody should visit him.