By Esther Onyegbula
The average Nigerian woman is gradually becoming an endangered species with the increasing rate of physical, emotional, and psychological torture, sexual and domestic violence meted to her at every phase of life.
From Lagos to Akwa Ibom, Delta to Benue, Kano to Abuja, Zamfara to Ekiti, Enugu to Edo, Kaduna to Osun, Anambra to Imo, daily the media is saturated with gory tales of girls; women, and mothers who are tortured, raped, beaten to a pulp, sometimes even to death. They are faced with life-threatening attacks in their workplace, community, family, and from people who should protect them.
For the flimsiest reason, a lady can be set ablaze by her lover. Recently in Benue, a middle-aged man, simply identified as Nicodemus, set himself and his girlfriend ablaze in Makurdi. While Nicodemus died on the spot, his girlfriend, Shiminenge, died later at the Benue State Teaching Hospital, Makurdi.
The Makudi police spokesperson, DSP Catherine Anene, said Nicodemus committed the act at his girlfriend’s residence on Inkipi Street, High-Level area of Makurdi on Saturday evening during an argument that had ensued between them. Nicodemus had locked himself and the lady in her room before setting the room ablaze.
It was learned that Nicodemus had abandoned his wife and kids for the lady and that trouble ensued when the lady told him of her plan to marry someone else.
Or shot in the eyes like Mr Austin Umera, a lecturer, who shot his wife and later shot himself at Kigo Road, Kaduna 19th November 2020.
Umera, a former principal lecturer of Kaduna Polytechnic, Department of Languages, at about 10 am on Thursday, shot his wife Dr. Maurin Umerah, a part time lecturer at Department of Languages Kaduna before shooting himself dead.
Dr. Maurin is currently receiving treatment at the State University to 44 Army Reference Hospital Accident and Emergency Unit.
Unfortunately nowhere seems safe for the Nigerian woman and Nigeria keeps happening to them in a negative way. Just last week a mother of eight identified as Gladys who has spent the last four years of her life locked up in a tiny room-cage by her supposed husband was rescued in Orerope in Delta state.
Gladys, who was accused of witchcraft, was peeing and defecating in the same room where her husband fed her bread. Sadly, he gave the said man 8 children, three of which she had while she was locked up by him in the Orerokpe community.
According to neighbours, Gladys’ husband told people his wife was deceased. When his children were interviewed they said they were waiting for her to die so that they can throw her away in the river. Gladys is at the general hospital in Orerokpe, where she is currently receiving treatment.
Murdered in the line of duty
The corpse of Chinasa Sofia Nkwegu a staff of Jennytex Intergrated Services with head office at Onitsha was found inside a drainage at at Odikpi Village, along Osumenyi/Akwaihedi Road in Osumenyi Town, Nnewi South Local Government Area of Anambra State on November 7, two days after telling her family over the phone that she didn’t know where she was being taken to by some persons.
When Nkwegu’s body was found, her mouth was gagged while her hands and legs were tied with rope. She left for work as usual on Thursday morning, November 5 but never returned. The last that was heard of her was on the phone when she said she didn’t know where she was being taken to.
Like Chinasa Sofia Nkwegu, Ijeoma Neke, a makeup artist who resides in Enugu was gruesomely murdered. Her only crime was working to make ends meet. Ijeoma was last seen on Wednesday 11th November 2020 in Enugu after she was booked for a makeup business in an undisclosed location.
It was gathered that when Ijeoma demanded for the address for the occasion but the customer asked her to come to EBS bus stop (a popular bus stop in Enugu) so that she will be taken to the place. However on their way, she suspected some unusual movement and contacted her brother via text message she sent her brother the phone number of the person who called her for the job in case of any eventuality. As at Sunday November, 15 2020 – 9pm Nigerian time, no one heard from her. Her phone number and the phone number of the person who picked her up for the job have been switched off.
Unfortunately a few days after Ijeoma went missing her corpse was discovered along the road. Ijeoma was a hardworking entrepreneur not a commercial sex worker yet she was gruesomely murdered.
Bahijja Gombe was just a fifteen year old housemain when she was alleged to have committed suicide in an apartment where she worked in Kano. It was gathered that Bahijja murdered herself by hanging, adding that no note was given up expressing the explanation she took the lethal choice.
Kano State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Abdullahi Haruna, who affirmed the tragic incident, said Bahijja was discovered hanging in the condo.
What will make a 15-year- old commit suicide, was an autopsy carried out to determine the exact cause of her death or was her remains conveniently dumped in a medical clinic mortuary?
Like Bahijja Gombe many of these cases are neither investigated, more especially when the victim is from an indigent family. The few ones that are investigated are poorly done leaving room for culprits to walk free. Some of the cases drag on for years before they are concluded. Hence the reason why only a handful of suspects who have physically, emotionally and psychologically torture or sexual abuse victims walk free.
Recently a 39-year-old man, Musiliu Owolabi, was sentenced to death by hanging for killing his lover, Afusat Idowu. Owolabi, an automobile mechanic, was dragged before the Abeokuta High court for killing his deceased girlfriend in February 2018.
The lead prosecution counsel, James Mafe who is the Director of Legal Drafting, Planning Research and Statistics, told the court that the Owolabi had taken his girlfriend to a hotel situated at Camp area in Abeokuta for pleasure and while they were having their time together, she complained of stomach ache and later started foaming from her mouth.
‘’The convict took her to his vehicle, on his way he noticed she was dead, and secretly took the deceased to an uncompleted building, dug a shallow grave and buried her without disclosing to anybody.
The convict was arrested when the younger brother of the deceased went to the police station to complain that his sister who told him she was going for a naming ceremony at Bode Olude area never returned.
Upon police investigation, with the help of tracking the deceased phone, it was discovered that the convict was the last person that spoke with the deceased.
On his arrest, he made a confessional statement to the police and took them to where he buried his lover.”
He was first arraigned before the court in November 2019 where he pled not guilty.
Delivering judgment in the case on November 18, the Chief Judge of Ogun State, Justice Mosunmola Dipeolu, held that the prosecution had proved its case beyond reasonable doubts that Owolabi was guilty of the offense charged and convicted him on grounds that the offense committed contravened the provisions of section 319 of the Criminal Code, Laws of Ogun 2006.
She held that the evidence presented by the prosecution was tenable and therefore sentenced Owolabi to death by hanging.