I forgive my husband but … says woman whose hubby killed only son, burnt her with hot pressing iron

on   /   in Crime Guard 12:50 am   /   Comments

We warn that this story contains a graphic photo some may find offensive

By Evelyn Usman

Remember  the 36-year-old Mercy Nnadi, whose husband killed their only son and burnt her with hot pressing iron over allegation that she was having an affair with his father, eight months ago, in Okota area of Lagos?
To many residents of  the area, Mercy’s issue is a forgotten one, as they assumed she did not survive the  third degree burns that she sustained from the attack by her spouse. But how wrong they are because  as you read this piece, Mercy, who once looked a shadow of her old self is back to life.

She is presently occupying a one-room apartment in Agege area of Lagos, courtesy of three Non-Governmental Organisations; Project Alert on Violence Against Women, Centa for Development, and Zaharawomen.  Aside the apartment, the NGOs also gave her the sum of N150, 000 to start life afresh.

Even in the light of all this, Mercy, in this exclusive interview with Crime Guard, said nothing could fill the vacuum created by the demise of her son, Ebuka, who was barely one-year-old then. Although she stated that she had forgiven her  husband for making her go through  untold anguish, she vowed never to reunite with him again.

Recalling the incident of that fateful Saturday, April 7, 2012, which almost sent her to an unprepared grave, Mercy stated amidst tears: “ On that fateful  Saturday evening, my husband told me to cook yam for supper before leaving the house. After a long  wait for him to come back so that we could eat together,  I ate mine and slept with my baby.

*Mercy, 2nd left , receiving a cheque of N150,000 from Mrs Josephine Effah-Chukwuma,(1st right) while Nkiru of Centa for Development (2nd right) and a representative of WAPA look on

When he came back, he ate , put on the power generating set  before going to bed. Later, a neighbor knocked on the door to inform us that Power had been restored and he went to put off the power generating set. He came inside and started ironing   customers clothes because he is a dry cleaner.

By then, the room became hot and I left to take a shower and stayed outside  waiting for when he would be through . When he was done, he told me to fetch water for him to bath and I did.  While I was going to fetch the water, he started smoking before going to take his bath. We both retired  inside and I slept off after breast feeding our baby, Ebuka.

But a sharp  pain woke me up from sleep. At first, I thought I was dreaming. But no! Right in front of me was my husband of two years placing the hot pressing  iron on me. I screamed and begged him to stop. When I raised my hand to stop him, he  placed the hot iron on the hand.

I lifted my leg to prevent him from further attack, only for him to place it on my thighs, instructing me to keep quiet. As if that was not enough , as he placed the hot iron on me, he used a screw driver to pull off the skin, pressing the hot iron  harder on the same spot. As he was doing it, he kept asking me how many times his father had slept with me.

I begged him passionately but he would not listen. He  warned me to keep quiet informing that other members of his gang were outside . I did not know what he meant by that.

He concentrated more on my chest, by leaving the hot iron there for what seemed like eternity. Just then, our son Ebuka,  woke up  crying. I begged my husband to allow me breast feed him, so he could go back to sleep. Instead, he placed the pressing iron on my two breasts and at the same time used the screw driver to peel off the skin.

I shouted for help . But it was far from   me. At that point, he took my son away . Immediately he left the room , I rushed out to the kitchen where a neighbor offered me a wrapper to cover my nakedness. That was all I could remember until I found myself at New Evolution hospital”.

While Mercy succeeded in escaping from the Biblical shadow of death , same could not be said of her helpless  son, Ebuka. Eye witnesses said Henry dragged the crying baby who apparently was waiting to grab the nipple of his mother’s breast for  milk,  by his left arm.

Rather than getting the expected milk, Henry as gathered, landed a metal right on  Ebuka’s head, thereby prompting  him to let out a shrill cry, which forced out some excreta. As if the pains were not excruciating  enough for the fragile baby, his father whom many concluded was possessed by a demon, landed the metal again  on his head.

This time around, instead  of  crying, there was dead silence, which sent the hapless Ebuka  to  the land of no return, with his remains  buried a few days later.

News of my son’s death shattered me

All through her stay in the hospital, Mercy was made to believe that her son was in good condition of health.  Thus, when she was discharged, she yearned to see Ebuka . But no body could tell her the true position of things until she visited  Ago  Police division, where the case was earlier  incidented, only to be consoled by one of the policemen who was oblivious of the development.

“ Initially, I did not get what the policeman was trying to say. But after a while, I discovered it had to do with my son Ebuka. I broke down in tears, without knowing what to do. I kept asking why Henry would kill an innocent child over nothing?  I was shattered by the news of my son’s death. “Oh! My son died without being allowed to have the last suck of my breast milk.

The last memory I have of him was when he woke up crying. How callous! He was the reason for my hanging on in the marriage because I never wanted to have a broken home. Had he been alive, he would have been my only consolation”, she stated amidst tears.

I forgive my husband but…

Asked if she would accept her husband back if he comes  begging, Mercy winked and smiled at the same time, saying: “ I have forgiven him no doubt. But I will never go back to him. I learnt he is in Ikoyi prison  awaiting trial. I was told he called his younger sister and asked if I was okay and even told  her to give me the phone so he could speak with me. I tried the number once but it rang without response.

My mind is made up. The only thing that would have made me have a re-think is my son. But since he is no more, nothing is worth my staying back.

Mercy Nnadi after the attack

That was not the first time he would beat me. I have always complained to my father-in-law about his batterings and he had  always cautioned him. At a point, he warned his father to stop interfering in his family matter and  further told him to stop coming to our house. He also stopped me from going to his father’s house, warning that he would break my leg if I disobeyed him.”

My neighbors fled on sighting me

In order to make do her threat of leaving Henry , Mercy  visited number 3 Lambe street, in Ago-Okota, which used to  be her matrimonial home, to move her belongings. But a mild drama unfolded as those who recognized her  took to their heels, apparently thinking it was her ghost.

“ I was shocked at first. But I was later made to understand  that news went round that I was dead. They later came around to thank God with me.  As I was leaving with my belongings, I bid farewell to  what used to be home ”.

At this point, she wept profusely, on remembering how her son used to crawl on the veranda of the building. After satisfying her emotions, she expressed gratitude to God for at least  sparing her life and giving her a second chance . ”Even though I know that the death of my son  has left a vacuum that will never be replaced in my life, I am still grateful to God for granting me the privilege of being alive”.

“That I am alive today  is by the grace of God and  help from good Nigerians. My appreciation first and foremost goes to you, Vanguard. I learnt your first publication attracted well meaning Nigerians to New Evolution Hospital where I spent three months. These Nigerians whom I  never knew  from Adam,  had compassion  on me and donated money for my treatment.

Even the first lady of  Akwa-Ibom state came to my rescue by paying over 300,000  for my treatment and feeding. Ah! Can you imagine, a nobody like me gaining such recognition, Isn’t God wonderful? I also want to appreciate other media houses which toed  Vanguard’s path. My sincere gratitude goes to the management team of New Evolution Hospital who managed the situation when I was rushed in , until I was transferred to  government hospital.

I really did not know when I was taken there. Even when I regained consciousness, I could  not bath and clean myself. The nurses  were there for me. What more can I say about my father in-law , his wife and daughter, they were by my side all through.

My appreciation will be incomplete if I fail to mention the three  NGOs that gave voice to my cry. They went as far as involving the Lagos  state government and in the process, offset  my outstanding bills at New Evolution hospital and even gave me shelter at Ipaja before I was given an accommodation in Agege. From the donations they got from members of the public,  I was given the sum of N150,000 to start life afresh”

Again, she paused, fiddled with her nails and by the time she looked up , it was obvious she was fighting hard  to hold back the tears. But she could not as they trickled down her cheeks . And in an emotion- laden voice, she said, “ I wish my son was alive, then my joy would have been complete. I honestly wished I was given the accommodation money , I would have relocated back to my village because I  do not want anything that would remind me of the death of my first experience  of motherhood”  .

Speaking on behalf of the NGOs during the formal rehabilitation of Mercy at the conference room of the Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation WAPA, Alausa, Lagos, the Executive Director, Project Alert on Violence Against Women , Josephine Effah-Chukwuma, said, “ We sought to help Mercy pay her steadily mounting hospital bills, and rehabilitate her. We are proud to say we have been able to accomplish all these,  along with some funds for her to start life afresh”.

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