How Medic Nearly Killed His Colleague in Borno

By Sam Kaye

They started the day peacefully as a team in Damboa a sleepy council headquarters community located about 89km from Maiduguri, the Borno State capital in northeast Nigeria. No one suspected that tragedy was lurking around the corner before the usual long night creeps into the compound of Medicines Du Monde (MDM). MDM is a French non-governmental organization (NGO) which is involved in medical support to residents in Damboa and of course resident internally displaced people (IDPs). They have their headquarters in Maiduguri. Eleven of the staff of MDM including two security guards live and work inside the MDM guest house compound in Damboa. There was no sign of tension before the end of that working day even in their nearby clinic where the aggressor Dr James Korinjo works with his colleague, Dr Francis Akume.

Just about 11.30 pm, on that 17th March, trouble started. Dr James Korinjo who started work with MDM in December 2023 knocked and entered the room of his colleague Dr Francis Akume. Instead of his trade mark stethoscope, he was armed with a knife, screwdriver and surgical scissors in his hand obviously to unleash harm. He locked the door behind him and started intimidating his colleague Francis to comply with his devilish demands or prepare for deadly repercussions.

After demanding the Android phone of his colleague Francis, he started a strange live broadcast on Facebook with the phone when he was sure he had gotten him cornered and could film him effectively. Francis a tall lanky young fellow had no choice but to comply with the wrongs done to him because James Korinjo was angry and wanted revenge over some unexplained bottled-up issues with his colleagues as related in the live broadcast made available to this reporter.

The Shattered door to the room of the victim

Till today, no one can assess the mental status of the strange behaviour of this doctor. Even if he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), nobody has been able to ascertain. There have been several cases of PTSD among military and non-governmental organizations within the war theatre of operations Hadin Kai especially at Damboa. But the behaviour of James Korinjo believed to be normal was outright unprofessional and if not, Dr Francis had dodged some of the hits from the weapons in his hand, he would be a dead man by now.

Hear Dr Francis: “After instructing me to sit on the bed under duress, Korinjo accused us of poisoning him. He also said we connived with the military to do all manner of harm to him which I don’t understand. He started a live video recording and forced me to say all manner of things I never did in his recording. He virtually forced me to say what I didn’t do and I was helpless in the circumstance. He said I was a small boy but I was making him look small in the organization. He also said that from the coordinator to the field coordinator, we planned to kill him. He used my phone for the live broadcast to make people believe it was real and it was done with my approval. Meanwhile, I was sitting on the lower side of the bed helplessly watching what next, he would do.

“While we were going through the struggle between life and death in my room, Judith Peter our sexual and reproductive health officer came by the window to find out what was going on. She called my name, Francis what is going on? I couldn’t help myself because he was facing me with the weapons I mentioned. So, she yelled at James to stop his assault on me which I kept dodging to stay alive. But James would not bulge. And when the entire compound was at the scene and saw that he was adamant, they pounced on the door to my room and brought it down to free me from his hands before he landed the last stab which was meant to kill me.

“Saminu Lewi our data man was one of those who rushed in to disarm him and free me. Sadly, in the process, he got hit by one of the weapons he was holding. He was badly afflicted with a cut on his head and chest and he too had to be given medical treatment at the Damboa military base to stop his bleeding. He also attended the UMTH for further treatment and is recuperating now.

Assault on Augustine Sharah with a wrench

Meanwhile, the head of the MDM in Damboa, Augustine Sharah in a bid to ensure his staff were safe was moving from one room to the other to check his people. And to ensure that another scenario is not playing in another room without them knowing. While going around, he did not know that James was lurking in the corner and targeting him too for an attack. Before he could turn to see who was trailing him, he was hit on the left side of his head by a massive wrench which dealt a nasty blow to him bringing him down unconscious.  He said he was told the moment James injured him, the policemen and CJTF were summoned to the compound. The rest of the occupants hibernated somewhere else and the gate to the house was locked so he couldn’t escape. His arrest was made in the morning. They (policemen and CJTF) kept vigilance all through the night to ensure he didn’t escape.

A victim being conveyed for medical attention

According to the medical report, he had “severe traumatic injury, multiple fractures on the scull, sinusitis that resulted in blood oozing out from his nose and mouth, cerebral contusion and oedema/haemorrhage.

After Augustine lost consciousness, he was rushed to the nearby military base for urgent first aid to bring him back to life. “The military guys did their best but suggested that his case must be taken to the UMTH as fast as possible to bring him back to consciousness.” Days after being revived at the UMTH, Augustine managed to compose himself and sat down for a long chat with this reporter.

His words:  “I became unconscious after the blow on my head by that heavy equipment from James Korinjo. To answer your question on how that stuff got to our compound, I can tell you right away that there is no department of work with us. But there was maintenance work that was done in the compound last year and some tools were bought by the organization to help out. I suppose that’s where he got the adjustable spanner (wrench) which he had access to assault me. I was taken to UMTH the following day which was 18th March and I stayed there till 10th of April 2024. I went back for a follow-up on 8/05/2024. That will determine the next course of action. Meaning that I will be taken to Abuja for superior treatment or abroad to bring back my slurred speech. I was a normal man well coordinated in speech before this attack but now I struggle to express myself. Regarding your question on treatment abroad, the MDM has not discussed taking me abroad yet. This was something we thought was going to happen from the beginning but it didn’t happen. However, they have been talking about seeking another specialist opinion in Abuja.”

Tormenting ordeal at the UMTH

While Augustine was at the UMTH, his wife said they were psychologically harassed by friends and agents of James Korinjo who came in on the 25th of March in the name of checking on him. One Meshelia claiming to be medical personnel putting on a lab coat came to check on him and left.

But on the 23rd of March, three people who claimed to be family members of James Korinjo barged on him and verbally assaulted Augustine in the presence of his wife accusing him of wanting to punish James for nothing. They accused the wounded man managing to reciprocate on his sick bed of pretending to be ill. After James had inflicted so much harm on him with many witnesses around in Damboa they said he was well but pretending to be ill. The friends went ahead to harass him by barging in on him while he was eating and recuperating inside the amenities ward and even snapping his pictures without his permission. They committed a lot of dangerous and unethical atrocities on a patient who should have his privacy even after being moved from the “trauma centre” to the amenities where he was entitled to privacy. Imagine a patient suffering from Dysarthria or -slurred speech due to traumatic brain injury following the assault on his head going through such ordeal based on the directive of Korinjo’s mother who came to town desperately to free her son then in police custody. They sneaked in beating the security of UMTH to harass him consistently. Augustine was however released to go home on the 10th of April and has been taking medications awaiting further verdicts from the doctors based on the progress he has been making.

On Saminu the second staff assaulted by Korinjo, he was not admitted into the teaching hospital but he was released the same day. He kept going for wounded dressing and injections from 18/03/24 to 22/03/24. His stitches were removed on 22/03/24 and he is alive and stable for now.

Korinjo’s Desperate Petition and the Reaction of the Police Spokesman

At the time of writing this report, Dr Korinjo was said to have jumped bail and escaped from Maiduguri with the help of his mother. He was said to have informed close friends that he was going off to Jos to seek medical treatment. One wonders which treatment he is looking for having written a libelous petition to the Inspector General of Police alleging bad treatment in the custody of the Borno State Command. Nobody seems to be aware of his exact location now after jumping bail. And nobody is aware if Dr Korinjo was suspended or sacked for bad behaviour by MDM known for extreme secrecy in their operations in Borno. Even the head of the Damboa centre doesn’t know his whereabouts at the time of writing this report.

“I have no access to official decisions. I have not been consulted about such. Since the incident I have been focused on recovering.” said the head of the centre Augustine. After the misdemeanour of Korinjo, a case was filed on the 19th of April against him. The case file is yet to be awarded to a judge as at the time this reporter visited the Ministry of Justice. But there is assurance that the case will soon come up at least for mention.

Attempts to get the Investigating Police Officer (IPO) Yakubu Gadzama to speak on the matter were turned down. But the police spokesman Nahum Daso, an Assistant Superintendent of Police confirmed that Korinjo has indeed jumped bail. This is because he did not show up according to the bail conditions the police gave to him. He however assured that the Police are on top of the matter as expected. He frowned at the massive bad campaign against the command by the family of Korinjo who are trying to run away from reality. As at the time of filing this report, Korinjo’s family through his mother who visited Makurdi was said to have directed their lawyer to file another counter case in Abuja against the Nigerian Police and Augustine. The filed suit was served on them on the 19th of last month by one Hassan Bemdo Esq.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *