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Raw deal for widower accused of killing wife

By Egufe Yafugborhi

OBIO AKPOR—AN academic staff of School of Health, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Dr. Jonathan Onwugbuta, has narrated his ordeal in the hands of his in-laws after his wife, Mrs. Dorothy Onwugbuta, died on January 20, a week after childbirth.

Onwugbuta, who suffered partial stroke due to his wife’s death, said he never expected his in-laws would accuse him of killing a caring wife, not to talk of allegedly framing him to the Police and vandalising his home at Rumuekini, in Obio Akpor.

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He told NDV: “Can you believe my mother-in-law, who came to be with us, close to my wife’s expected delivery, took her to a quack birth attendant somewhere at Igwuruta, and gave her all sorts of concoctions without informing me?

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“The Police arrested the quack midwife for over one month. They only released her because both families agreed to make peace.

“Doctors at UPTH told me there was no single blood in my wife, when I rushed her there. I was asked to go run a test but before I returned, my wife was in coma. I started shouting and they asked me to go out. Half an hour later doctors came out to report that my wife died. When the news of my wife’s death hit me, I fell into coma, developed partial stroke. It was a month after I got back that I responded to Police invitation.

“The matter got to Inspector General of Police. State Criminal Investigation Department, SCID, handled theirs and when they were satisfied that I had no hand in my wife’s death, they released me.

“Police re-arrested me and took me to the office of AIG, Zone 6, on pressure from my in-laws before my family now reported the matter to Inspector General of Police. My mother-in-law also said I beat my wife, but before the Police she admitted that she never saw me do so.”

The offensive by vengeful in-laws and the Police hunt against Dr. Onwugbuta changed to appeals and remorse after an autopsy on the deceased carried out by  Dr. Musa Stephen on April 20, captured cause of Mrs Onwugbuta’s death as “anaemic heart failure due to uterine atony following recent conception and delivery.”

Those who witnessed the autopsy include Investigating Police Officer, Sunday Raymond, the deceased’s brother-in-law, Nwanfor Kingdom, and observer pathologist, Dr. B. P. Athanasius.

Police Public Relations Officer, Rivers Command, Nnamdi Omoni, said he could not remember the matter when NDV contacted him. However, a source in the Homicide Unit of the SCID, who dealt with the case, confirmed the twists following revelations from investigations.

The source said: “The allegations were false and defaming of Dr. Onwugbuta’s image. No finding suggested he killed his wife. We even tracked and arrested the quack birth attendant, who the mother took the late Dorothy for delivery.”

Family withdraws case

In an affidavit he swore to at a Rivers High Court, the deceased’s father, Chief Promise Ogoloma, acknowledged that the death of her daughter resulted to complaints and allegations of murder against her husband before law enforcement agents, even up to the Inspector General of Police.

He deposed: “After series of deliberations and consultation to achieving peace between the Ogoloma and Onwugbuta families, peace and settlement of all the issues in the aforesaid matter were achieved and resolved amicably.

“I, for self and on behalf of the Ogoloma family hereby withdraw all complaints and allegations of murder against our son-in-law”

In separate letter to the Rivers State Commissioner of Police by Onwugbuta, his relatives and Chief Ogoloma and other family members, both parties also mutually agreed to withdraw all complains to the Police and to returned all Dr. Onwugbuta’s three children, who were in his in-laws custody, to him.

The Ogolomas also pledged to return all property of their son in-law, including his certificates and those of his younger brother and sister removed from his home during the invasion.

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