The police in Lagos have arrested a salesman, Charles Ogbonna, for assault after he allegedly stabbed his boss in the chest and back.
The Punch learnt that Ogbonna had asked his boss, Eze Nwachukwu, to pay him N4m so he could set up his own business after working for the man for 18 months.
It was gathered that Ogbonna assisted Nwachukwu to sell foodstuffs at a warehouse in Boundary Market in the Ajegunle area of the state.
The Punch learnt that there was an agreement that Ogbonna would serve the businessman for five years after which he would be given money to start his own business.
His service was however terminated by the boss in October 2018 over stealing allegation.
Around 10am on Sunday, December 16, Ogbonna was said to have visited Nwachukwu at his house on Ben Onyeka Street, Olodi Apapa, during which he was reportedly treated to a meal.
It was learnt that trouble started when Ogbonna asked Nwachukwu to pay him for his service and the boss insisted to speak to his (Ogbonna’s) brother, identified simply as Honourable, who acted as an intermediary between them.
As Nwachukwu went to his bedroom to pick a sheet of paper, Ogbonna reportedly followed him and stabbed him in the chest and back, demanding N4m from the boss.
The Punch learnt that neighbours were drawn to the commotion resulting from the attack. They rescued Nwachukwu and rushed him to a hospital while Ogbonna was handed over to the police at the Trinity Police Station.
The 35-year-old businessman told the police that he wanted to write his phone number for the suspect to give Honourable when he suddenly attacked him.
He recalled, “I sell foodstuffs at Boundary Market. Sometime in 2016, Honourable brought Ogbonna from Ebonyi State to work for me. It was agreed that he would serve me for five years after which I would ‘settle’ him. He was supposed to spend six months to learn the business and the period was not part of the five years. He had just spent 18 months out of the five years when I sent him back to the village in October because I caught him stealing my goods.
“I was sleeping that Sunday when Ogbonna came to my house. He said he was coming from Aba, Abia State and decided to visit us. He said he was hungry and my wife gave him the food she had cooked for me. After he finished eating, we started discussing in the living room. He asked me to pay him. I was surprised because he had not fulfilled the agreement of the service.
“When he insisted that I pay him, I demanded to discuss with his brother on the phone on how to go about it. I went inside the bedroom to get a sheet of paper I could use to write my phone number for him when he appeared with a knife and stabbed me in the chest.
“When I wanted to shout, he pushed me on the ground and stabbed me in the back. He asked me to transfer N4m to his account or else he would kill me. We dragged each other to the doorstep as I struggled to collect the knife from him. If not for my neighbours who responded, he might have killed me.”
Nwachukwu’s wife, Gift, said she had left Ogbonna and her husband at home that day while she went to the market to buy some items.
She said she was at the market when Ogbonna called her that Nwachukwu was unconscious.
“I left for the market while he (Ogbonna) was eating. Some minutes after I got to the market, I called my husband, but he did not pick his calls. Ogbonna later called me with my husband’s phone. He said something was wrong with my husband, and that I should come home. By the time I got home, my neighbours had taken him to a hospital. They told me it was Ogbonna who stabbed him.”
In his statement to the police, the 24-year-old salesman allegedly admitted to the crime, adding that he regretted his conduct.
He said, “I am from Ebonyi State but I was born and brought up in Benue State. I came to Lagos in 2016. Presently, I am not doing anything. Mr Nwachukwu is my boss. I went to his house that day and begged him to ‘settle’ me. When he was reluctant, I entered the kitchen and picked a knife. I used it to stab him in the shoulder. I am very sorry for what I did. I did not know what came over me.”
A police prosecutor, Inspector Benedict Aigbokhan, subsequently brought Ogbonna before an Ajegunle Magistrate’s Court on one count of assault.
The charge read, “That you, Charles Ogbonna, on December 16, 2018, at 10.30am, on Ben Onyeka Street, Olodi Apapa, in the Apapa Magisterial District, did unlawfully assault one Eze Nwachukwu, by stabbing him in the back and chest with a knife, thereby committing an offence punishable under Section 173 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State of Nigeria, 2015.”
But the defendant pleaded not guilty when the charge was read to him.
The complainant, who is reportedly on admission at an undisclosed hospital, was not in court when Ogbonna was arraigned on December 18.
The presiding magistrate, Mrs Joy Ugbomoiko, denied the defendant bail. She said she would need to see the degree of the injury before she would rule on the bail application.
The case was adjourned till January 15, 2019.