It was a spectacle in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital Tuesday February 25th 2014, when the sister-in-law of the Bayelsa Governor, Ms. Tare Konyefa, and a female lawyer engaged in fisticuffs that left the barrister bloodied and now lying critically bruised in an unknown hospital in the city.
The lawyer, Mrs. Bina Oregbeme, who works with the state Legal Aid Council, was brutalised along with her husband Mr. Ambrose Oregbeme for daring Konyefa over who owned the right of way at a roundabout near the Government House, Yenagoa.
It was learnt that the couple incurred the wrath of Konyefa because they questioned her reckless driving.
Konyefa who lives within the Government House, was said to have been angry at the audacity of Mrs. Oregbeme for condemning and cautioning her driving and descended on the lawyer, raining blows and slaps on her, after an alteration ensued.
An attempt by the husband to come to his wife’s rescue was met by heavy beating from the security aides of Konyefa.
An eyewitness said the fear of “Madam Tare” is the beginning of wisdom for those who have encountered her.
According to him, as they were waiting for the traffic light to turn green, Konyefa drove past the couple and allegedly blocked them with her Toyota Rav4 SUV.
“Konyefa blocked them on the side they were supposed to make a diversion. The green light was on their (couple’s) side while the red light was on the side of those going through Imgbi Rd. So the husband of the lawyer was hooting for Konyefa’s car so that they could negotiate their way.
“Bina on her part was using her hand and telling Konyefa ‘we are making a turn, we are making a turn’, while her husband was still hooting his horn. But instead of Konyefa to make way for them to pass, she blocked them. She came down from her car and started barking at the couple in pidgin, ‘So na wetin una wan do? Una wan beat me?’”
Bina was unhappy at her conduct and told her that if the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) officials were around, she would have reported her to them.
This infuriated Konyefa who quickly dragged the woman out of the car rained blows on her.
“Before long, some other boys and girls came, and asked Bina, ‘Do you know who you are talking to?’ They were many. We initially did not know they were in her convoy. But the unfolding scenario made us to know they were together.
“While Konyefa was dealing blows on Bina, her aides, I do not want to call them thugs, were giving Oregbeme (Bina’s husband) the beating of his life. They beat him mercilessly and tore his clothes. Some boys came and started hitting Bina’s face too,” he said.
The source said while the drama lasted, Bina had beckoned to a police officer for help, but unknown to her, the policeman was one of Konyefa’s escorts.
The eyewitness said instead of the policeman to help the couple, he held them down, thus enabling Konyefa’s aides to continue with the pummeling.
“After dragging her (Bina) out of the car through the car window, they now dragged her to the pavement and sped off,” he said.
He said by the time the state’s security outfit, Operation Doo Akpo, came to the scene, Konyefa and her aides had left.
It was the security personnel who took the couple to the Yenagoa Police Division to make their report.
When contacted at the hospital by newsmen, Mrs. Oregbeme admitted that she and her husband were assaulted and battered by Konyefa and her aides.
She said she had reported the matter to the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Bayelsa chapter, a Division of the Nigeria Police and to her office, the federal government-owned Legal Aid Council.
“I have yet to come to terms with what happened. For, me it was a horrible, terrible and traumatic experience. It is something I did not expect. I am still living in trauma and pains because I cannot imagine it could happen in a civilized society.
“I am a lawyer and law-abiding citizen. If this could happen to me, I wonder what hope the ordinary Nigerians have. I have reported to the relevant authorities and I have no doubt that justice will be served,” she said.
When contacted, the state police boss, Mr. Hilary Opara, said he was yet to be briefed on the incident.