Helen Ndubueze is the elder sister of Joy, who was shot in the mouth by her former fiancé, one Sergeant Eze Aiwansoba, in October 2020, which led to Aiwansoba’s dismissal from the Nigeria Police Force. She shares her family’s pain with ALEXANDER OKERE.
Can you introduce yourself?
My name is Helen Ndubueze. I am the elder sister of Joy Ndubueze.
The Lagos State Police Command recently said it had dismissed and prosecuted one Sergeant Eze Aiwansoba for attempting to kill Joy. What is your reaction to that?
I saw the post. I was very happy when I saw it. At least, justice is being served. I don’t know their (police) next step.
Who was Sergeant Eze to your sister?
Sergeant Eze and my sister dated for two years and were supposed to have their traditional wedding in December (2020). But in the first week of September (2020), I was on my way to Trade Fair in Lagos when he called to say that he had told my sister he was no longer interested. So, I called my sister immediately and she was crying seriously. I told her to calm down and that if a man told her he was no longer interested, it was not the end of the world. She later said she would try to see me as she was looking for an agent to help her get another apartment.
Is it true that she had been living with him?
Yes. They planned to live together.
Did Eze tell you why he decided not to go ahead with the marriage?
He did not say why he decided to call off the marriage plan. He only invited her and told her to tell her people that he was no longer interested.
Did your sister say anything to him that could have led to his violent action?
No. When he told her to stop telling her family about the planned marriage since he was no longer interested, she asked him why and told him to inform her pastor and her father about his decision. But he said he had no business with her pastor but could only tell her father. She then told him she was going home and they left the place where they had gone to have a drink. As they were leaving, he shot her.
How did you learn about the incident?
I got a call and was told to go to the General Hospital, Ikeja, that my sister had been shot by a policeman. I immediately went to the hospital. The first person I called was Eze and asked him if he had heard that Joy was shot. He asked me where she was and I told him and he ended the call. That was the last time I spoke with him. When I got to the hospital, I called him several times but he didn’t answer the calls. At the hospital, I saw a crowd of people. When I identified myself as Joy’s sister, I was told that my sister showed some people the photo of the person who shot her. When I saw the photo of Eze and confirmed that from my sister, I screamed, “It’s her fiancé!”
Did your sister tell you about any argument they might have had before she was shot?
No, she did not. When they met with the (police) provost, she narrated how she was shot and Eze said everything she said was true. She said he had never beaten her before but wanted to know why Eze wanted to take her life.
Did Eze’s relatives reach out to your family when the incident occurred?
We only saw the elder brother, who used to come to the hospital to beg us to temper justice with mercy. He said what happened could happen to anybody.
What exactly does your family want from the case?
We want justice.
In what way do you want justice served?
Eze did something wrong, so let him face the punishment. He has to go to jail.
Do you think he regretted his action?
If he truly regretted his action, the day we went to the (police) provost’s office, we would have seen it (regret) on his face, pleading that he was sorry. But he did not (plead); he was just standing. I don’t think he felt remorseful.
Is your family satisfied with how the police are handling the case?
We are not satisfied. We are supposed to know what is going on (on the matter) but we are not carried along. For instance, we were not aware of the report (on Eze’s dismissal) until I saw the report.
Can you describe the condition of your sister when she was shot?
When I got to the hospital, what I saw was horrifying and scary; I had only seen such in a movie. The impact of the shot affected her mouth and severed her tongue, so it had to be stitched. All her teeth were damaged.
Can she speak now?
Yes, she is trying.
Can you hear her when she speaks?
Yes. She can remember things very well.
How many surgical procedures has she undergone?
I think she has undergone five procedures. She was supposed to have one yesterday (Wednesday, April 14, 2021) but we were told that an order had been placed for the instrument needed for the surgery. So, the surgery was postponed to next Wednesday (April 21, 2021). She cannot swallow (any solid food). She eats custard and pap while lying on her back.
How are your parents coping with the situation?
They don’t have a choice. She is their daughter. They can only pray for her.
What is your sister’s occupation?
She is a minister (sings in a church) and she participated in promos for different companies.
Did she tell you about her worries?
I don’t think she can go back to her job. How would she do that? According to the doctor, all her teeth will be removed and an artificial set could be fixed. That one will cost money. How will she sing or promote products? Often, she looks at the photos she took before she was shot and compares them with what she looks like now. This makes her feel pain but I calm her down because life goes on. She is traumatised.
She said she no longer trusts men but I tell her not to expect all men to repeat the same mistake. When God says the time (for marriage) has come, nobody can change it.
Who has been taking care of her medical bills?
We have been paying her bills with the contributions made by Nigerians.
Have the Nigeria Police made any contributions to offset her medical bills?
How much do you think has been spent so far on her treatment?
I can say about N9m or N10m.