Two Civil Society Organisations working to curb sexual and gender-based violence across Nigeria – Men Against Rape Foundation (MARF) and Make A Difference Initiative (MARF)- have called out the Domestic and Sexual Violence Agency (DSVA) of Lagos State for their negligence and complicity in the circumstances, which led to the death of 35-year old, Mrs Bimbo Ogbonna.
Bimbo was alleged to have bought kerosene and set herself ablaze in the heat of hostilities between her and her husband, Mr Ikechukwu Ogbonna on the 13th of October, 2022 in their apartment in Lagos.
Speaking at a press conference in Abuja, the Executive Director of Men Against Rape Foundation (MARF), Lemmy Ughegbe and Director of Investigation, Make A Difference Initiative, Comrade Jacob Edi, the groups said the Domestic and Sexual Violence Agency of Lagos State, which they had often commended before now, failed to act proactively in Bimbo’s case.
“Based on our background in investigative journalism, we have taken time out to investigate the circumstances that led to Bimbo death and it is as disheartening as it was avoidable”, Ughegbe noted.
“It is on record that Bimbo cried out, filed formal complaint to Lagos DSVA about serial abuses by her husband, Mr Ikechukwu Ogbonna.
“We also have recorded conversation between Bimbo and a DSVA official, wherein Bimbo was distressed and called the agency for urgent action.
“Unfortunately, the evidence we have is that the DSVA treated it with complacency and usual bureaucratese of public service.
“For an agency set-up to deal expeditiously with issues of Domestic and Sexual Violence expeditiously, the complacency with which Bimbo’s distress call was treated amounts to negligence and complicity in situations that led to her death,” Ughegbe added.
He noted that it was even more ironic to note that an agency whose facebook page carried the message ¬“every domestic violence case is a potential murder case” would not act on a distress call from someone who had even taken the extra step to lodge two complaints already.
In his remark, Comrade Jacob Edi, who decried the rising tide of Domestic and Sexual Violence called on the Lagos State Director of Public Prosecution to call the DSVA for the files with documentary evidence of physical abuses of the deceased by her husband.
“We have seen video recording by Mr Ogbonna while his wife was locked inside the house with fire. How can a man whose wife is on fire be so calm to record the incident instead of call for help?” Comrade Edi queried.
Edi said that singular act, with the substantial evidence of his abuses of Bimbo, showed clearly that he knew more than he was saying about the fire incident that killed his wife.