“With just N10,000, they can kill for you.” That is a statement from a brutally beaten husband by the Edo Vigilante network in Ekpoma, Edo State.
Christian Onohomen Okekumatalor, 47, was beaten to stupor over an argument he had with his wife.
Mr Okekumatalor argued with his wife on 22 May at his laundry shop in Eromo street via Isidahome Eguare Ekpoma.
“It was a normal argument which ended up in laughter,” the businessman told Standard Gazette.
However, on 26 May, members of the vigilante group led by a man identified as Harmony attacked the businessman in the presence of his kids.
He was accused of beating his wife, Favour, and dragged out of his shop, forced into their van, despite pleading that his three children – 11, 1 and 9 months were under his care.
Speaking with Standard Gazette, Mr Okekumatalor said, “They came to my shop and forced me to follow them to their office, and I will take kids along with me since there was nobody to look after them for me in my office area because I had just picked them up from school.
“Those hoodlums didn’t allow me to drive my car along with them. They fling my kids out of the vehicle and force themselves into my car that I must go in their bus.
“I insisted I take my kids because the environment is not safe for children to be alone. They didn’t care; they started hitting me with their pump-action guns on my chest and ribs even and forced me out of my car and start beating me like a common thief.
“I started bleeding, so I was helpless. My neighbours tried to intervene, but they started shooting guns into the air to scare them.”
The father of three was adopted, dragged to the purported office of the hoodlums, where he was beaten until he lost consciousness.
“They started hitting – slaps in both ears, commanding me to lay down on the ground.
“I did, and they continue to match on my rib till I began to cough out blood and bleeding from my nose and ears.”
SG gathered that upon realizing he became unconscious, rather than take him to the nearest hospital, the hapless businessman was dumped at the nearest police station and ran off.
“When my wife heard this, she ran down and was crying ‘who did this to me?’.
Mrs Favour Okekumatalor denied contacting the vigilante group.
Almost two months after, Okekumatalor is unaware of why the group targeted him. He told SG that “they can’t even tell me who call them into my premarital issue.
SG gathered that the police invited the hoodlums for questioning, and they only pleaded for their actions without telling their victim what led to his attack.
“They couldn’t even defend themselves. Just pleading, That they were sorry, and it was a mistake.”
The thugs raised N30,000 to support his medical bills, SG learned. However, he is still taking medications and has spent more than N300,000 on hospital bills.
“My saving of about $1500 is gone on medical bills. They gave me N30,000 and begged that it was a mistake and that it won’t again.
“By the way, God forgives sin, so who am I to resist forgiveness. I was admitted to the hospital, but no more there; I go from home now.”
Okekumatalor is still “bittered” over the incident. He told SG that “I was disgraced for no reason and molested for no reason.”
SG gathered that Mr and Mrs Okekumatalor are no longer together since the incident. The husband said the hoodlums were fighting for his wife, adding, “perhaps, something is going on between one of them and my wife; if not, I don’t think they will be so interested in how I live with my family. That’s my conclusion.”
“She is begging me to accept her as a friend that she knows living together as husband and wife may not work out since that incident of anti-cultists attack on me.”
SG contacted the state coordinator of the Edo State Vigilante Group, Oboh Emmanuel Otoide for comment but has yet to receive a response