A 24-year old final year student of the department of nursing, University of Maiduguri, Fatima Habu Usman, is in critical condition at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH) following her abduction by two men in a commercial tricycle in broad daylight, who later disposesed her of her android phone and other valuables in her hand bag before bathing her with a chemical substance suspected to be acid.
Narrating Fatima’s ordeal to Daily Correspondents in Maiduguri, as the victim could not talk as a result of severity of her condition, a sister to the victim, Zara Habu, said on Friday morning, 16th March, 2018, her sister Fatima boarded a commercial tricycle popularly known as Keke NAPEP as soon as she emerged from the First Bank Plc along Sir Kashim Ibrahim way in the state capital where she had gone to deposit sum money for a relative.
She said on boarding the tricycle, it never occurred to Fatina that the two men she met in the tricycle were up to funny tricks.
Fatima had told the tricycle rider to take her to Baga Road, but within some few minutes into the journey, around the West End Roundabout, a man who sat close to her brought out a whitish handkerchief from his pocket and pretended as though he was coughing, but as soon as he started waving the handkerchief, Fatima became unconscious.
She said it was not until around 1pm that same Friday that Fatima regained consciousness but found herself dumped somewhere around the Railway-Bayan Quarters area within the state capital, where she attracted the attention of some good Samaritans, pleading that she should be taken to the Ibrahim Taiwo Police station, which is not far from her home at the Federal Low cost housing estate.
By that time, she said Fatima began to feel certain burning pains on one side of her face and her chest as a result of the chemical substance poured on her by her attackers.
When the good Samaritans flagged down a second tricycle rider, they assisted Fatima into it, and told the Keke operator to take her to any nearby police station. Eventually, the man dropped her at the Dandal police station and hurriedly left the vicinity for fear of being mistaken as the girl’s abductor.
She said Fatima walked by herself into the police station and pleaded that she should be taken to the hospital as she was in severe pains. She said it was at that point that Fatima realised that her android phone and the money she kept in her hand bags were stolen. They left only her small Tekno phone, which the police used to contact her people.
Narrating further, Miss Habu said around 2pm, her phone rang and a man who identified himself as a policeman told her to come over to the State Specialist Hospital, that her sister, Fatima, was harmed by suspected kidnappers.
On reaching the State Specialist Hospital, Miss Habu said she could not stand the sight of Fatima, who was in severe pains as the colour of the skin on her chest and right side of her face had changed due to the effect of the substance poured on her.
She said the doctors at the state owned hospital had to recommend her transfer to the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital for proper medical care.
As at the time Daily Correspondents visited the UMTH where Fatima was under admission, it was gathered that four doctors had already examined her and commenced treatment on her.
Efforts to reach the DPO in charge of the Dandal police station was not successful as calls made to his phones were unanswered.
When contacted, the UNIMAID Public Relations Officer, Mohammed Ahmed, said he was aware of the incident, adding that he could not comment because the incident happened outside the school.
He said, “I am aware because I saw it on the television and the state Commissioner of Police commented on it. When something happens outside the university, I cannot comment. I just arrived from a journey and if I will say anything, I will need to get back to the school to make more findings.”
The spokesperson for the UNIMAID Teaching Hospital, Mabruka Gaji, said she had scanty information on the incident.
She promised to send the contact of the Chief Information Officer of the hospital, Ibraham Abacha, but she did not as of press time.
The state Commissioner of Police, Damian Chukwu, told our correspondent that acid was not poured on the victim, saying the police were on the trail of the suspects.
He said, “On the day of the incident, she said she went to a bank for a transaction and after she was done, she came out and boarded a tricycle. She said there were two other passengers in the tricycle and she sat in their midst.
“She said along the way, one of them came down, remaining her and another passenger. She said suddenly, the passenger brought out an handkerchief which he started waiving. She said she suddenly lost consciousness.
“According to her, she was sexually assaulted. She found herself around a railway line and she managed to get a Keke Napep which took her to the Dandal Police Station. There was no physical pouring of acid. It was the handkerchief which probably contained some chemicals that affected her skin and later degenerated into blisters. The blisters then turned to burns. With this information, we have spread our dragnets and we are on the trail of the suspects.”