#BounceExclusive: How This Community Created A 17-Year-Old Killer
Hannah Osazuwa is a pretty teenager, she looks older than her age but she is just 17.
The fair skinned youngster should be thinking of earning a university degree or owning a small scale business while acquiring additional skills.
Unfortunately, she sits on a cold floor in an unfriendly looking cell at the Ikoyi Prison.
Her crave for individualism and privacy has been cramped with prison mates she may never like. She eats food which tastes like concrete in her mouth.
No one knows for sure why she snapped that faithful day when she stabbed her 20 year old boyfriend Tomide Akintewe with a pair of scissors.
They had been quarrelling again. They argued a lot, said some the other occupants of the popular ‘Face Me I Face You” where she lived at No. 34, Road K, Close, Gowon Estate, Egbeda.
Neighbours could attest to hearing their arguments through the walls. It never ended well most times. It always tumbled into a fight.
In fact, a day before she gave the death stroke, she had stabbed him on the leg with a knife.
Eye For An Eye
There are unconfirmed reports that Tomide’s unfaithfulness led to the argument that day, while the ‘Amebos’ in the compound say it was because he found out she was either intoxicated or high on drugs (none of the ‘Amebos’ could agree on which it was).
The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Edgal Imohimie during a press conference in November 2017 accused parents of neglecting their responsibility, as most violent crimes committed in the state are perpetrated by teenagers.
Hannah has joined the statistic, but for every incident there is a back story.
Hannah Osazuwa lived alone. Her neighbors avoided her most times because they considered her to be ‘wayward’ and did not want to have anything to do with her.
Rumors were rife in the compound that she was kicked out by her parents. Others claim that she ran away from home because her parents could not cope with her risky lifestyle, that could have included excessive drinking and substance abuse (Marijuana, codeine, tramadol being the main dish of misuse.)
Dr Adedeji, director of Christ Against Drug Abuse Ministry, who spoke to Bounce News said until the nation understands that crime and substance abuse are connected, we may continue to record such sad cases.
"There is a breakdown in the value system of our society because virtually anything goes. Who are the role models of these young people?
"Some of these children when we see them in our center and you talk to many of these young people they tell you sad stories of a broken home. When a 17 year old lives alone, it is most likely something bad happened at home” he said.
Monday Ubani, a lawyer who also spoke to Bounce News, concurred with Dr Adedeji and pointed out the importance of society in a child’s well being.
"Any child that has a heart to kill a person is coming from a bad place. Churches, mosques and schools should play their role in society to build a complete human that with not cause a nuisance to society.
"In the old days the society helped bring up the children. Communal correction is no longer done because of modernity", he said.
How does the society help regulate a child's mental status?
When it comes to mental health Nigerians treat it like that distant eccentric cousin everyone hates because they don’t understand the person.
According to Clinical Psychologist, Toyin Alatise Abimbola, Hannah could be suffering from Bipolar Disorder - a mental health issue that is caused by extreme mood swings.
"It might be a case of Bipolar Disorder. It could have been triggered by the fear of being left alone.
"She might have been afraid that her boyfriend will leave her each time they quarrel, so she will react violently.
"Her mood shifts like a switch. She might also have been using substance abuse as a coping mechanism, so it is secondary to triggering her violent behavior", she said.
The psychiatrist believes that instead of just locking her up in a prison, a forensic psychologist should be called in to analyze her mental state.
The motive is to understand her state of mind at the time of the crime. So that even if she goes to jail, the treatment she would have received from a psychiatrist, will help her when she leaves prison.
Hannah faces a one-count charge of murder at an Ebute-Meta Chief Magistrates’ Court, and was remanded in Ikoyi Prison until the next court hearing on December 12.
The Chief Magistrate, Tajudeen Elias, sent a duplicate of her file to the office of the State Director of Public Prosecutions (DPPs) for legal advice.
Since Hannah is a teenager the DPP will most likely advice that she be sent to a Juvenile court where the punishment is much lighter, than the death penalty stipulated for adults.
There is also the option of sending her first to a remand home until she turns 18 before taking her back to a normal court where she would be made to answer for her crimes.
For now she just sits in her prison cell most likely staring at wall and saying "Nobody loves me".