By Babatunde Titilola
A skin-care therapist, Pamela Onyeagusi, and an Abuja National Industrial Court judge, Justice Zainab Bashir, have traded blame following unsuccessful cosmetic procedures which left burns on the latter’s skin.
The therapist accused the judge of harassing and making life unbearable for her after she (Bashir) complained that the cosmetic treatments were not successful.
However, Justice Bashir accused the therapist of damaging her skin, adding that she had to travel out of the country to treat herself.
PUNCH Metro gathered that the judge approached Onyeagusi at her residence in Utako, Abuja, on May 8, 2022, to undergo facial, thigh, and stomach treatments after being referred by the therapist’s client.
The procedures were completed and the judge was said to have paid the therapist the sum of $2,000 on that day, and the balance of N500,000 two days later.
The peace, however, did not last long, as the judge complained that her face was breaking out days after the operation.
Our correspondent obtained pictures showing the burns on the judge’s skin after the botched procedures.
Onyeagusi told PUNCH Metro that the judge was aware of her skin conditions when she came for the treatment.
She said, “She came to my office on referral from one of my clients. When she came, I didn’t know she was a judge. She wanted facial, thigh and stomach treatments. She had acne on her face, black thighs, and stretch marks and also wanted laser hair removal.
“She had facial treatment and because of the many blackheads on her face, we used extractor on her. Her thighs were bad and when she requested the treatment, I told her it was quite painful and not advisable for her since she had undergone previous liposuction and other surgeries.
“But she insisted that I should do it that she didn’t like the way her thighs looked.
“So, she spent about three hours in our facility that day and afterwards, she sent her driver to pay $2,000 cash and the balance of N500,000 was paid on May 10.
“However, she complained about her face breaking out which I told her was as a result of the acne; she came to my place and I used ice to massage it for her. I later advised her to use honey and even sent her the type of honey to apply.
“For her thighs, I advised there was the need for her to avoid putting pressure on them and that she should relax and avoid moving around for some days. However, she travelled the very next day being May 9. She even did double trips to Jos and Lagos.
“By May 13, she called and requested a refund of the money she paid for the services. Before her call, the client who referred her to me called and told me she was a judge and had been complaining that she didn’t get satisfaction from my procedure and so, I should refund her.”
Onyeagusi claimed that when Bashir called for a refund, she sent back the money for fear of being in more trouble, adding that she did not hear from the judge until in September when she (Onyeagusi) decided to reach out on a courtesy phone call.
“The moment she picked the call, she started threatening me that once she returned from the United States, she would teach me a lesson. Since then, I have not known peace. My BP sometimes rises to 200. I have not been able to concentrate to do my work and I am nursing twins. I have begged the woman, sent people to beg her but nothing has worked. I do not know why she is bent on ruining my life. She knows the truth in this whole issue. She knows how her body was when she came to my place,” she added.
Onyeagusi alleged that some policemen were at her house on Tuesday and Wednesday while she was away.
PUNCH Metro obtained a letter sent by one of Bashir’s lawyers, Ganiyu Bello, dated October 7, which alleged Onyeagusi of criminal misrepresentation, negligence, and causing bodily harm.
In the letter, Bashir noted the reactions she suffered from the cosmetic procedures and asked Onyeagusi to take steps to remedy the damage to avoid a legal suit.
It was learnt that a copy of the letter was sent to the court as a direct criminal complaint.
In a response letter sent by Onyeagusi’s lawyer, Fredricks Ituka, SAN, dated November 30, the therapist denied the allegations of recklessness and negligence, adding that she would be “willing to have a meeting for a peaceful resolution of the issues.”
PUNCH Metro contacted Justice Bashir, who said all the allegations against her were untrue.
While threatening our correspondent with a libel suit, she said the matter had been sent to the Consumer Protection Commission, Abuja, adding that Onyeagusi destroyed her skin.
She said, “I am not in Nigeria currently because I came for treatment. She injured me and I’m using my money for my ticket, accommodation, and treatment. I don’t need her money but the lady must face justice. The case is already with the Consumer Protection Commission, Abuja. I will advise you to wait or contact them. They have invited her to the commission because she’s not fit to be running that business.
“All I went for was a facial treatment but she brought out a laser machine and said she could operate it. I didn’t know she could not and she burnt my face and skin.
“Have you seen where she is operating? She’s operating in one filthy place and she calls the place her house and also where she injured people. The police are aware that she has injured several persons. If I wanted to arrest her, I would have done that since May when it happened. I won’t say more. But the moment you write anything about me that is not correct, my lawyers will sue you.”
Our correspondent obtained a letter written by another of Justice Bashir’s lawyers, Babs Akinwumi, dated December 14, to the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, calling the agency to investigate the qualification and certification of Onyeagusi.
A Consumer Protection Commission representative, Oluchi Uchenwa, confirmed the report but declined further comments.
“The officer handling the matter is not on seat. She is the only person that can give you any update that you need,” she added.
A plastic surgeon, Dr Ayo Aranmolate, said liposuction should only be done by a dermatologist.
He said, “By the history of surgery, those who do liposuction are dermatologists. Dermatologists are skin physicians but are specialists. Someone can be a skin therapist and not a dermatologist.
“There are some that will open shops and be doing skin care because they have some form of training with skin care product providers. Some providers also train people on basic skin care.”
The surgeon noted that a patient should have proper diagnosis before undergoing skin care, as it would help the operators to know what they should or should not do.
“If a person wants to treat acne and she follows the necessary procedures, there can be flaring. It’s better to have informed the patient ahead on what she will experience after the treatment.
“So, there can be skin reactions after some skin procedures. Some may have plaster reactions, blistering, etc,” he added.
A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Sylvester Elema, said the judge’s reaction was understandable but expressed worry over the alleged threat to life.
He said, “The fact that she is a judge does not prevent her from feeling disappointed and dissatisfied with the services offered to her.
“However, if the allegation of threat to life is true, then she carried her grievance too far. It’s the right thing that the Consumer Protection Commission is now involved.”