Bilikisu Bello, mother of Abdulqudus Bello, on whom a hoodlum poured hot vegetable oil, speaks on the pains her son is passing through, in this interview with TUNDE OYEKOLA
What is your name and what is your relationship with Abdulqudus?
My name is Bilikisu Bello. I am his mother.
How did you learn about the incident?
The husband of my sister came to inform me. He was in a tricycle on his way home when he saw people gathered around the place where my son was frying puff puff. So, he came to inform me about what happened; that was around 10pm. I then rushed there but they told me that they had taken him to the general hospital. When I got to the hospital, the security men at the gate blocked us from entering. Despite our pleas, they didn’t allow us inside. I was emotional because, when I was at the hospital gate, one man who was coming out from the emergency ward uttered a word of prayer. He said, ‘God should spare the life of this man because the wound is too much.’ I just wanted to enter and see him to know if he was alive or not. The security men didn’t allow me to enter the hospital because they said I was too emotional. They, however, allowed my mother to go into the ward to see my son. I didn’t see my son till the second day.
When you were not allowed to see him on that day, what did you do?
My other relatives and I stood at the gate but later I learnt that some of his friends were planning to go and attack the home of the boy that poured hot vegetable oil on him. I also followed them, but when we reached the place, I started pleading with his friends not to engage in violence but I also shouted that my son should not be allowed to die as a result of what happened to him.
What type of work are you into?
I am a trader. I used to sell cosmetics before my business nosedived. Now, I sell soybean cake. Abdulqudus has been supportive by giving me out of the little profit realised from the sale of puff puff. He gave us puff puff on a daily basis and money at intervals to feed.
What happened on the second day when you saw the condition of your son?
I lost all hope for his survival. Later, people advised us to move him out of the government hospital. He was discharged on the third day, but when we got to the first hospital in town we approached, the doctor gave us a bill of N500,000. We left the place for another hospital in Gerewu area, but the hospital told us that there was no bed space for admission. People, however, advised us to take him to this (current) hospital where some good Samaritans have been assisting us.
How much have you expended so far on the treatment of Abdulqudus?
We have so far spent over N600,000 on the treatment. We spent N59,000 at the General Hospital and the remaining amount here. We are from a poor background; we don’t have money but the good Samaritans whom we did not know provided the money. A philanthropist paid the hospital bill and some provided money for drugs, while others bought beverages for us. My prayer is that God will help them in their hours of need.
You said you went to the family home of the person who poured hot vegetable oil on your son. What was their reaction?
The people didn’t make any reaction. They were just begging us.
Have they made any contribution to the treatment of your son?
Yes, on the third day since I went there, they brought N40,000, which they paid to the hospital. They have also come to make an additional payment to the hospital.
In view of this, what do you expect the government to do to the perpetrator of this act?
I want justice to be done.
Abdulqudus said he would like to go back to school. Would you support his aspirations?
Yes, I would also like him to return to school and sit his West African Senior School Certificate Examination, but the challenge we are facing is (lack of) money. He wouldn’t have survived this burning but for those who came to assist us.