Time was around 1:30a.m She screamed from her sleep as she felt the burning effect of acid poured on her by her Ghanaian friend. Now, Nigerians living in Ghana are smarting from the brutal attack on that lady, Kasali Kofoworola Zainab, and have called on Ghana’s security operatives and the judiciary to bring to justice perpetrator(s) of the crime.
“There is a general hatred for Nigerians here and if it had been a Ghanaian at the receiving end, it would have created a media sensation here. It is not even being discussed on radio here. They would normally have been throwing expletives at Nigerians if it had been the other way round,” a Ghana based Nigerian embittered by the sad incident informed the Saturday Tribune in an email. He, however, craved anonymity.
The victim, Zainab, a Nigerian nursing student in Ghana was allegedly sprayed with acid by the friend she was living with at Auntie Aku, near Santa Maria, a suburb of Accra. A student of Pherson Health College at Achimota in Accra, Zainab, aged 25, was sleeping on a couch when her friend poured the acid on her. The police have given the name of Zainab ’s friend, who is suspected to have poured the acid on her, as Eugenia Billiana Coleman, a 32-year-old businesswoman.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian community in Ghana has appealed to security agencies not only to ensure justice in the case but to also expedite action into the investigations on the acid attack. Already, a number of peaceful protests and mass demonstrations have been staged by Nigerians resident in Ghana to press for justice in Zainab’s case.
Executive President of All Nigerian Community-Ghana (ANC-Gh), Moses Owharo, has appealed to Ghana’s Inspector General of Police (IGP) John Kudalor and the Chief Justice, Mrs. Georgina Theodora Wood, to ensure that justice is done to the late Zainab. Owharo also called on the Nigerian High Commission in Ghana to do more to ensure that Nigerian citizens in Ghana are protected. Zainab spent eleven days at 37 Military Hospital, where doctors battled to save her life but when her situation was getting out of control, she was transferred to Nigeria. Six days after reaching Nigeria, Zainab died at a Lagos hospital to end a 17-day ordeal at the hands of acute burning sensation.
An elder sister of Zainab, who gave her name as Ms Bukola Kasali, told Ghana’s Daily Graphic that Zainab died at exactly 6.30 am on Friday December 4. “We had looked forward to her recovery from the severe injuries from the acid. We were heart-broken when we heard that she had passed on,” said Kasali. Just like Owharo had admonished Ghana’s justice system, Kasali has words to add: “We the family of Kasali have put our trust in God and we know the wrath of God will deal with the perpetrators and anyone trying to influence the law in the course of the investigations and prosecutions.”
Zainab’s discussion with investigators However, before she was transferred to Nigeria, Zainab had given useful information to investigators.. She told the police on her sickbed that Eugenia subjected her to the acid bath after she had rejected a request by Eugenia to join her in narcotic business. She was said to have told the police that Eugenia asked her to go with her (Eugenia) to Tanzania to survey the security condition in that country so that they could traffic cocaine there later.
According to the police, Zainab said she declined to give her passport to Eugenia for the processing of their travel documents, since she did not want to be involved in narcotic business. However, Eugenia, who denied being the culprit, claimed unknown assailants threw the acid on Zainab while she (suspect) was out of the house. Zainab is said to have moved from her rented apartment at Auntie Aku, near Sowutuom, to live with Eugenia in the same area after Eugenia had agreed to share room with her, following a series of robbery attacks on Zainab.
A second person, identified as Samuel Boateng, an accountant with the Ghana Cocoa Board, believed to be Eugenia’s boyfried is also in the custody of the Sowutuom Police on suspicion of being Eugenia’s accomplice. Zainab, who sustained burns on her face, the front part of her body, buttocks, hands and legs, is said to have woken up from her sleep screaming hysterically at about 1:30 a.m. on November 18 after the acid had been poured on her.
When contacted, the Sowutuom District Police Commander, Superintendent of Police Ms Susana Adjei, confirmed Eugenia and Boateng’s arrest. She said Zainab had told police investigators on her sickbed that when she felt the effect of the acid on her body, she started screaming, but Eugenia, who was standing by her, told her to stop shouting, as nobody would hear her. Zainab is also said to have told the police that Eugenia later dragged her by the hair to the bathroom and put her under the shower.
Ms Adjei said the police, in their preliminary investigations, found that though the suspect and the victim lived in a compound house, none of the co-tenants was called in to assist Zainab. Zainab also told the police that after pleading with Eugenia to take her to hospital, the latter, who failed to inform anyone in the compound house, did not do so immediately, but rather drove her around town.
Police investigations also established that Eugenia drove towards Tema, using the Spintex Road, until a police patrol team told her to go to the 37 Military Hospital. At the 37 Military Hospital, records show that Eugenia arrived at the facility at 5:30 a.m. and failed to report the incident to the police. While at the hospital, a witness whose name is being withheld heard Boateng, believed to be an accomplice, telling Eugenia that life would have been simple if she had killed Kasali. Ms Adjei said though Eugenia was told by the hospital authorities to report the case to the police, she refused to do so until the Airport Police was called in to arrest her.
The Airport Police subsequently transferred the case to the Sowutuom Police for further investigations. Ghana’s Daily Guide newspaper which also reported the story said the Amasaman circuit court where the case was heard had granted Eugenia and Boateng bail while the two are currently in the custody of the Police Homicide Unit at the Police Headquarters.
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