A Lagos-based carpenter, Mr. Joseph Ajaye, may have been disfigured for life after his friend of five years, Kayode Abiola, allegedly bit off his nose during a fight over a customer.
PUNCH Metro learnt that the duo had not been in talking terms for sometime after Abiola, a painter, accused his carpenter friend of snatching his customer.
It was gathered that some other friends called a peace meeting to settle the feud, but were reportedly rebuffed by the men who began exchanging words at the venue.
It was said that the verbal exchange escalated after the suspect allegedly pushed the victim into a gutter, which resulted in a fight.
In the ensuing scuffle, the suspect allegedly drew the victim close and bit off his nose.
The incident happened on Thursday, January 26, 2017 in the Abule Oja area of Lagos State.
Ajaye, who spoke with our correspondent on Tuesday, said he met Abiola, who hails from Ondo State in 2012, when they started working together.
He said, “He comes to my house at least three times in a week for spiritual guidance. We work in the same shop and people know us as close friends.
While he is a painter, I am into carpentry and furniture making.
He also scouts for furniture jobs and I do the jobs. Sometimes, he pays me, other times, I leave the money for him.”
He said they disagreed over a job Abiola brought to him sometime in May 2015, which created animosity between them.
He said, “The job was worth more than the N220,000 he charged and I said I was not interested.
He asked me to take him to the market where he would get the materials and I did. He begged me that we should manage the money.
“However, I discovered that before the work ended, he had collected all the money.
When we ran out of funds, I started borrowing money just to save my reputation.
“I later had to beg the client to pay me some money to be able to finish the job and he obliged me.
I finished the job on July 15, 2015, after spending 13 days on it.”
The 51-year-old Ijebu Ode, Ogun State indigene, explained that the customer called him some days later for another job.
Ajaye said he insisted that the customer speak with Abiola.
He explained that the client did and there was a mutual agreement between him and the suspect.
“The customer had yet to give me another job since then. However, to my surprise, Abiola started gossiping about me that I went behind him to collect a job worth N2m from the man.
He said I spoiled his reputation and I was a devil,” he added.
Our correspondent was told that some friends who observed the feud between them for a truce.
The meeting was, however, deadlocked, as the two friends allegedly resorted to abuse and threats.
Ajaye said he was heading for a bank after the meeting when he was accosted by the suspect.
“He said if anything happened to any member of his family, he would kill me. As he was talking, he pushed me into a gutter. I came out of the gutter and pushed him back.
“He attempted punching me and later put his finger into my mouth. I bit his fingers and he quickly released me. Then he went for my nose and bit it off,” he said.
It was learnt that residents, who separated the friends, took Ajaye to a hospital where a doctor demanded N30,000 to stitch the nose.
Our correspondent was told that the doctor later reduced the fee to N10,000 the following day when the pain became unbearable for Ajaye.
“Around 12pm, the tissue was stitched. But it had died and had to be removed,” he said.
The matter was said to have been reported at the Sabo Police Division.
The victim said he was not interested in pursuing a case against the suspect, adding that he wanted him to bear the cost of a surgery to reconstruct the nose.
PUNCH Metro learnt that the case was also reported to officials of the Office of the Public Defender, who assisted in the arrest of the suspect.
The Director of OPD, Mrs. Olubukola Salami, urged restraints when under provocation.
She said, “Actions taken in the heat of a moment can damage someone for life. A bit of patience and restraint could have prevented such a life-damaging action. Under no circumstance should anyone resort to such extreme measures to prove a point.”
The Police Public Relations Officer, SP Dolapo Badmos, confirmed the incident, saying Abiola had been charged to court.