Tuesday, March 1, 2016

A Co-Tenants Dilemma

We feel obliged to inform you of a rather troubling incident which happened to Dr. Theresa, a Senior Registrar 1 in the department of Psychiatry of Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital (Ile-Ife) and a dear friend to us all. She is a very gentle, easy going, ever smiling and hardworking resident doctor, but even if she didn't possess any of the aforementioned attributes, she didn't deserve any of what occurred in the duration of this incident.
It all began on Thursday 25th February 2016 at her service apartment building located outside the hospital. It seemed like just another day- a quiet morning with the dew still on the cars parked in the compound and chirping of insects the predominant sound till it was shattered by the shrill shouts of Dr. Okpara. Dr. Okpara is a Wing Commander in the Nigerian Air Force, a resident Doctor in the Dept of Community Medicine in the same hospital where Theresa works, and also resides in that compound. So what could make this man, slightly overweight and bespectacled, irate early on a Thursday morning?
The obstruction of his car in the parking lot within the compound; that's the simple answer, but as it sometimes happens in life, even simple things can devolve into ugly scenarios. As is common in some buildings, the parking space is inadequate and as such tenants have to park behind other cars within the compound. This doesn't constitute the end of the world and tenants occasionally call each other- through the security guard- to move their cars in the morning so that individuals are able to drive out.

According to an eye witness (who is a doctor in the same hospital and also lives within the same compound), Dr Theresa's car was obstructing Dr. Okpara's car and he called her out to move her car. She had told him she was dressing up and would soon be out. It would seem like the problem was settled but that wasn't good enough for him; he kept shouting and verbally abusing her. He didn't stop even when she came out to move her car. Perhaps affronted by her calm despite his torrents of abuses, he physically attacked her as she got into her car to make way for him.
Truth be told, saying physically attacked is sugar coating things. Truth is- and in the manner of calling a spade a spade- he beat her, with a succession of punches, each one meted out with the intent to humiliate her and put her in her place. And when the punches weren't doing a good job of that, he reached for a metal pedal lock as a coda to the lesson he was meting out. Thankfully he was restrained by some of the co-tenants but he did leave a mark, several marks actually, on her.
Theresa has a right nasal bone fracture, cerebrospinal fluid- the liquid which keeps the brain protected within the skull- leak, a deformed face, several bruises, and that's just listing the physical injuries. As it is, she has to decide if she wants major surgery to correct the facial deformity or live with a disfigured face for the rest of her life.
Life is a lot of things and sometimes we get a choice to either look the other way as though nothing has happened or stare tyranny in the face and make our voices heard. Maybe being a member of the Nigerian Air Force is a powerful intoxicant and what better way to demonstrate this than by beating up a woman- one defenseless woman, one who has overcome several odds to be who she is today, one who has lived with sickle cell disease all her life, one who is your sister, daughter, friend, and companion. Maybe it is easier to look the other way but in this fight, I stand with Theresa! ‪#‎justice4drtheresa‬.
Thank you all.
CMUL, 2008 Graduating Class of Medical Doctors & Dentists.

Posted by Funmi Falade Alao on Saturday, February 27, 2016

Posted by Funmi Falade Alao on Saturday, February 27, 2016

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