A seven-year-old boy, Augustine Bello, residing in Matari village in Rigna district of Toro Local Government Area of Bauchi State has been thrown into darkness for life by a fellow villager who kidnapped him from his grandmother’s house and plucked his two eyes.
Augustine, now receiving treatment at the Jos University Teaching Hospital, begged for his sight to be restored so that he could see what was happening around him. Narrating the victim’s ordeal, his brother, Yakubu Bello, 45, said on October 17 at about 5:00pm, a man, Muhammad, also residing in the same village came to their grandmother’s house and on seeing that Augustine was in the house with their grandmother, said he had come to ask for okro seeds.
He was allowed collect the seeds and he left. Shortly after, Augustine’s grandmother left the house to fetch firewood. By the time she came back, the boy was missing. She raised the alarm and a search party was constituted to look for him but he could not be found that day. Yakubu said their grandmother insisted that the man who came to the house to ask for okro seeds just before she left to fetch firewood should know something about the disappearance of the boy. Neither the boy nor Muhammad could be found that evening.
“It was in the morning of the following day that Augustine was found in the forest with his face and body covered in blood. When we saw him, we thought he was dead and had gone to report the matter to the village head. From there, we went to the police station.” With police escort, Yakubu said they went to pick what they presumed would be the boy’s corpse only to discover that he was still breathing.
“When he gained consciousness, we asked what happened to him and he narrated how Muhammad seized him when his grandmother was out and carried him into the forest. He said the man made a hole in his stomach before he plucked his two eyes. After that he lost consciousness and did not know what was happening to him until he was found in the bush. Yakubu, who said Augustine was the 13th and last child of their parents, said after the police had taken their statements, they took the boy to the general hospital in Toro.
It was from there he was transferred to Jos University Teaching Hospital where he is now receiving treatment. When Muhammad was arrested, he confessed committing the crime but said he was hired by one Idris to do the job. When Idris was arrested, he denied sending him but said before Muhammad went to kidnap the boy he hinted him about the evil plan and asked him to come along but he refused.
When asked why he did not inform the police about it, he said he did not see it as necessary at that time. Idris was last Tuesday sentenced to six months imprisonment by a magistrate court in Bauchi with the option of paying N5, 000 fine for concealing information. He was also asked to pay N20, 000 as part payment for the boy’s treatment. However, Muhammad is still being held in prison custody while the case is pending in court.