What would have prompted a mother to be so cold-blooded as to dispense the type of punishment that would result in the death of her own child? How obstinate or badly behaved can a child be to warrant death as Nigerian self-acclaimed pastor punished son to death?
These were the questions on the lips of nurses and doctors of St. Mary Hospital Gwagwalada, and police officers handling investigation in the matter.
The boy, Chiboy, was taken to the hospital with his hands swollen and peeling. He was fragile and could barely breathe.
His eyes were wide open and he kept complaining. One could tell that he was seriously in pains.
Regrettably, efforts invested into saving his life by the doctors at the hospital were rendered useless as he passed away a few hours later.
Chiboy’s mother, Rosemary Okeke was there as life slipped out of her 9-year-old son. She could hardly believe that the’ little’ punishment she had given to her boy would lead to his death.
But what manner of punishment could lead to death?
Okeke, who said she was the pastor of Sabbath church called Yeshua, the King of Kings church said she had tied her son’s hands with a ‘china’ cloth and had in addition put ‘small pepper’ into his eyes for disobeying her and proving stubborn.
She said: “We wanted to go out. I saw him putting on his sandals and I noticed that the buckle has spoilt. I asked him what happened to his sandals and he said that the buckle was spoilt long ago whereas it had just spoilt. I told him that I have asked him never to lie to me again and said I will punish him till I come back with his brother from where we were going.
“I told him to ‘hang in the air’ but he refused to do the punishment. I brought out a whip and wanted to flog him but he started struggling with me.’’
Okeke said she was angry that her boy was proving stubborn and “he wanted to show me that he was stronger than me. That was when I brought out the pepper and put a little in his eyes. I also called his 15-year-old brother to help me tie his hands and I left him in my room.’
Chiboy it was gathered stayed in the room from 7am 7.30pm crying and begging for forgiveness. But his tears fell on deaf ears as his mother who did not give him food paid him no attention.
“It was when I entered the house in the evening that I noticed that my son was not my son again. I shouted and called my neighbours who brought a car and took us to the hospital. The doctor said he won’t treat him unless we get a report from the police station. So we rushed to the police station,” she added.
One of the patients at the hospital who saw the situation of the boy had called the police to report the incident and they were requested to come with the boy to the police station
It was further gathered that at the police station, the police took the boy to a nearby hospital, St Mary’s Hospital Gwagwalada.
‘’The boy’s hands were peeling off. And the eyes were wide agape. The doctors were planning to amputate his hands in order to make sure the infection did not spread to other parts of his body. According to a nurse who chose to remain anonymous, “the doctor said that the effect of the pepper had already gone to the brain” (How can a mother pour pepper on her son? Was she trying to make pepper soup out of him?).
Ironically, Okeke ended up not going to where she had originally intended to go prior to when the sandals problem came up.
So many people have been asking what would come over a mother to enable her mete that kind of punishment to her own child.
“It was anger. I was just angry with him. It is just that the anger got out of hand,” she kept saying to herself.’
The rage certainly grew out of control because the 32-year-old mother found herself losing a child and is currently in police custody, at the Gwagwalada Divisional Headquarters.
Okeke has though rebutted the accusation that she intended to use the boy for rituals and swore to high heavens that Chiboy was her son.
“He is my son. His father is dead, he died long ago,” she said.
Okeke who lives in Angwan Hausawa in Gwagwalada said she had come to Gwagwalada to begin a branch of her church and that she had been residing in the town for the past six months.
“We are yet to build the church. We have a land. We are hoping to put a batcher there and start off until we can build a church. I consult for people. That is how I survive.
They pay consultancy fee for N500 and sometimes give me money for items we need for prayers,” she added.
But those are not the crux of the matter.
The matter is that Chiboy is dead. Dead by the hands of his mother who took her rage to extreme levels. She is now left with her 15-year-old child who will keep questioning why in the world he had assisted his mother to bind up his brother.
She is also not free from the police who are still astonished on how a piece of cloth may have possibly resulted to the terrible blisters on the child’s hands and eventually lead to his demise.