The police in Lagos State have launched a manhunt for a resident of Azeez Olaosebikan Street, Agege, Babatunde Igbara, after he allegedly battered his wife’s eyes.
The man reportedly rained punches on the 38-year-old woman, Gbemisola Igbara, in the presence of their four children until her eyes became swollen.
PUNCH Metro learnt that Babatunde had approached the victim on Monday morning, two days after he was released on bail from the Kirikiri prison, demanding if she took the N2,000 he kept in the room.
He was said to have accused her of stealing the money and resorted to violence when she refuted the allegation. It took the intervention of the couple’s neighbours to restore order to the household while the incident was reported at the Abattoir Police Division.
Gbemisola told PUNCH Metro on Thursday that the 12-year-old marriage had been fraught with quarrels, adding that she decided to endure the assaults because of her children.
She said, “I was very weak that morning because of the stress I passed through to secure his bail from the prison over a land matter. He woke me up and asked if I took N2,000 from his clothes. I said no. When he continued to accuse me, I asked him why he thought I would steal his money when I spent over N20,000 and borrowed money from friends to facilitate his release.
“I told him to stop disturbing me. He then started punching me in the face and my eyes became swollen. My children begged him, but he refused. It was our neighbours who rescued me from him. I am fed up; but I don’t want to pack out because of my children,” she said.
Gbemisola explained that a similar incident happened about a year ago and she reported to the police at the Ile Epo division.
She said her husband’s mother prevailed on her to withdraw that case from the station.
“I can no longer bear the beating. He beats me to the point that I won’t be able to open my shop for days. I took a loan of N200,000 to start the business, but it has been difficult for me to repay it because of these troubles. I have reported to the police at the Abattoir division and they promised to get him arrested,” she added.
However, Babatunde, who spoke with our correspondent on the telephone in Yoruba, denied assaulting his wife, saying she slipped during the altercation and got injured.
“I didn’t beat her. It was a lie. It was true that we had a misunderstanding that day but I never used my hands on her. She fell and hit her face on an object. I need to see you so that I can explain better. Our families have been trying to resolve it,” he said.
But some neighbours of the couple, who spoke with our correspondent, said they had advised Gbemisola to quit the relationship due to the violence.
One of them, Akeem Alabi, said, “Many people on our street know he has turned the woman to a punching bag. I decided to take her picture and post it on the internet after he beat her on Monday. I want rights activists and security agencies to come to her aid and ensure justice is served.”
The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, SP Dolapo Badmos, had yet to reply to a text message sent to her phone on the incident as of press time.