…Brutalised photo journalist narrates how he’s nearly killed for being generous
Thanks Soludo’s family as he heads for surgery
IT STRIKES like a tale of kindness repaid by wickedness, the story of how the photo journalist, Francis Abiagam ended up in dire need of plastic surgery after narrowly escaping death from multiple broken bottle stabs on his head, shoulders, hands and face, with his nose, precariously clinging to his face is as horrible as it is unreliable but it is true.
From lending a neighbour his hand held torch light to aide his harvest of a rare seasonal delicacy, aku (flying termites) overnight to going to the man the following morning and being drawn to a brawl which eventually led to his being stabbed ferociously with broken bottle, getting rushed to nearby hospitals in Ifite, Awka, Anambra State that rejected him as he almost died of profuse bleeding to being dumped at the Emergency Ward of Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu Teaching Hospital (COOUTH), Awka, without money for treatment until kind-hearted persons, comprising the family of Governor Chukwuma Soludo came with cash assistance.
Mr Abiagam’s case comes across as that of a sudden step into the harsh quarters of death and a surprise emergence of relief from unexpected sources. As at the time the Anambra State Governor, Soludo, on Sunday, doled out N100,000 for treatment of the injured photo journalist and copies contributor for the National Light Group of Newspapers, Mr Abiagam, during his tour of (COOUTH), in company of his birthday-celebrating wife, Nonye, he was at the verge of losing hope.
His dejection was also hinged on the fact that his good turn was turning to bad luck. More so, he could not foresee where the initial bill of over N160,000 was going to come from to let the COOUTH surgeons begin work on his nose.
47-year-old Abiagam, while narrating his ordeal described Mr. Governor’s family’s cash assistance to him as not only a financial lift but a vital lifeline that has enabled his treatment in the hospital and a crucial boost of his morale.
He recounted the story thusly:
What really happened on Sunday? Was it the governor that came to see you or somebody brought him to come and see you?
The governor’s wife was celebrating her birthday and as part of the activities to mark her birthday, they visited the hospital and they were sharing food to all the patients but there was a guy in our ward that was an artist that drew the governor’s picture and kept it beside him. The governor gave him a cash gift and then, I also pleaded with the governor after explaining to him what happened to me and he also assisted me with a cash gift to support my surgery and I also told him that I am one of the workers in National Light. I am very grateful to the governor for the cash gift. I pray that God will continue to bless him and his family.
What was the cause of the incident?
On Tuesday night, around 3am, I was hearing sound around my neighbour’s side, so, I came out to know what was happening. To the best of my knowledge, I saw someone by name Okey Okezie, picking aku (termites). When I looked at him, he was struggling to pick the aku because he was using phone torch. He begged me to assist him with broom and my torchlight for him to use, so, he can be able to see clearly. He promised me that he will bring it back by 6 o’clock in the morning.
I went back to sleep but couldn’t sleep that far because there was an event I wanted to attend the next morning. As early as six o’clock in the morning, I went to his house to collect my torchlight. He gave it to me but to my surprise, there was no battery in it again. The torch contains three batteries and one of the batteries is a camera battery. I told him that the battery I fixed inside the torch is no longer there. He told me to wait so he could look for it. I was there waiting for him and he was just walking up and down; then I told him to be fast that I needed to leave to somewhere.
He said that I should return the aku he gave me when I met him in the night picking the aku and decided to assist him with my touch before he will return my battery. So, I went home to bring back his aku and I gave it to him and requested for my battery and he said I should go and wait for him at my own house that he wanted to smoke.
I decided to go home and wait. As I was going, I never knew he was following me at my back, because he was barefooted. Immediately I was about to turn, he stabbed my head with bottle and when I turned to confirm what was happening, he stabbed my nose with the same bottle, punched me and started stabbing me all over my body. When he noticed he has stabbed me to the extent that I was in a pool of my blood, he stood up from my body and ran away.
People who came to help me rushed me to Assumpta Clinic at the Commissioners ‘Quarters but the staff on duty could not control my bleeding, so, they referred me to Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University Teaching Hospital (COOUTH), Amaku-Awka. When we got to Amaku, they were able to control the bleeding but the nose part, according to them, required a specialist for the treatment. They referred me to somewhere and when I got there, I was told I will undergo plastic surgery.
How did you get to the police?
My neighbours did. I asked them to go and report the incident to the Police and they returned with a policeman, who accompanied them to the hospital at the Emergency Room and took some pictures of me and also asked me to tell him the details of what happened.