By Vincent Ujumadu
REACTIONS have trailed the humiliating treatment meted out to a woman accused of causing the death of her husband at Aguleri in Anambra East local government area of Anambra State because of her infidelity, with the woman admitting that although a man made sexual advances to her, that could not have been responsible for the death of her husband.
The woman was paraded naked by villagers who accused her of killing the husband with sex
An obscene video where Mrs. Ajueze Obiorah was stripped and paraded in her village went viral and this attracted both sympathy and condemnation from all and sundry..While some people believed that her infidelity led to her husband’s death because it is a taboo in the area, others said her husband might have died as a result of underlying ailment.
The woman said: “After I had warned the man to leave my room before my husband would come back, he pleaded with me to allow him to ‘release just once in-between my legs’, which he eventually lured me into doing, after pestering me for a very long time. And after that, he left.”
It was after this that that my husband fell sick, and was taken to various herbalists, who all said the cause of his problem was from his family; while one herbalist said that he was poisoned.
She, however, acknowledged that she made a mistake by not telling her husband about the sexual advances, made by the said man, adding, that her husband’s kinsmen threatened to take her to the shrine to swear that she was not dating the man, which she said she agreed to do.
She said that at the said shrine, instead of allowing the process, the people started forcing her to confess and accept that she was dating the man, to avoid them beating her to death, adding that after much pressure, she unwillingly acceded out of compulsion.
She added that when they came out from the shrine, women of the village grabbed her and stripped her, while people surrounded and started molesting and making videos of her, which were eventually posted on various social media platforms.
Obiorah has said that she would no longer wish to remain in the eight-year old marriage, especially as the only child the marriage produced had died. She added that the kinsmen of her late husband also forced her to make a covenant that she would never remarry, which she refused to accept, adding that as a hairdresser, she would prefer to relocate to somewhere to continue her hairdressing business.
However, the Anambra State Police Command stepped into the matter with the arrest of six persons suspected to be the brains behind the woman’s ordeal. Among those in the police net is a 44 –year old native doctor, who falsely accused the woman of infidelity, which, he claimed, led to her husband’s death when he made love to her.
In fact, it was the story told by the native doctor that made the villagers to strip and drag her along the road on a broad daylight in the community.
In the words of the Anambra State Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Mr. Tochukwu Ikenga, those behind the dastardly act were identified during the study of the video by a special squad of the police who watched the viral video after the incident..
In addition to the native doctor, others arrested were Udalor Egwuatu Nnalue (46), the deceased brother, Godwin Ezechukwu (42), Nonso Ezechukwu ( 20), Philomena Onyekwe (27) and Chineyere Mmachi (32 years,
Expectedly, women groups across the state were more disturbed about the treatment meted out to Mrs. Obiorah. The Anambra State branch of the Medical Women Association of Nigeria described the incident as shocking. In a statement signed by its president, Dr Chinyere Onubogu and secretary, Dr. Onyinye Nwazor, the female doctors expressed their total disbelief at the video being circulated of a woman alleged to have committed adultery.
Their statement read: “The video clip is quite graphic as the accused was paraded naked on the streets on account of the demise of her spouse during conjugal intimacy. It is worrisome and heart wrenching that such dastardly act is still occurring in our present society. The association joins her voice to call for redress for this young widow.
“It is imperative that our people should be educated on the possible causes of ‘sudden death’ in the deceased, who hitherto might appear to be in sound health. Chief of these ailments include ‘cardiac arrest’ known in lay terms as ‘heart attack’. Cardiac Arrest can be triggered by a myriad of cardiovascular diseases such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, coronary artery disease, undiagnosed and untreated high blood pressure, among others.
These illnesses could develop over the life course or be present to various degrees from birth. The medical diagnoses underlying ‘sudden death’ are limitless. They have been researched into and are no myths. Sufferers could remain without symptoms until a major crisis occurs.
“In view of the foregoing, MWAN Anambra Chapter calls for an autopsy. This will shed more light on the hidden and explain the mysterious death to members of the community.
MWAN, Anambra chapter also pleads with traditional rulers and community leaders to take better care of their women and indeed all community members. Such barbaric acts should not be seen among us. Perpetrators of this dastardly act should be brought to book.
“We also call for an urgent withdrawal of this video from circulation. We plead with the general public to stop circulating this dehumanizing clip. This will help limit the psychological trauma and damage to this young widow.
“MWAN, as a professional medical body, is geared to contribute to the sound recovery to health and psychological rehabilitation of our sister at this trying moment in her life. We can be reached at [email protected]”.
Also worried by the ordeal of the woman, the Anambra State Association of Women Journalists, NAWOJ, described the action of Aguleri people as absurd.
Chairperson of the association, Mrs. Franklyn Onyekachi called on security agencies and the state government to do all they could to protect women against any harmful, cultural or religious practice.
“It is with shock and disbelief that NAWOJ Anambra watched in the viral video of a woman being paraded naked by some members of her community on the accusation that she caused the death of her husband through infidelity. How could they prove this?,. The allegation is unfounded and people should have a better way to ascertain the truth of the matter
“The assault and public embarrassment alone could lead to this woman’s death and it is misleading to the general public about womanhood,” Onyekachi warned, urging authorities to arrest the perpetrators and make them face the wrath of the law.
“How did the people arrive at the conclusion that the woman killed her husband since no autopsy was conducted on the man before his burial?.
“We are also in shock that such a primitive and detestable practice will take place in 21st century Nigeria,” saying that the man may have suffered a cardiac arrest during the act. Proper channels and civilized methods should be employed while dealing with any offender and we urge the people not to take laws into their hands”,. Onyekachi said
She said it was also heartbreaking that fellow women were among the people who tormented the woman in the viral video and commended the Anambra State police command for rescuing the woman, appealing to the police to ensure the arrest and prosecution of all those involved in “the barbaric act”.
She urged the traditional ruler and President General of Aguleri, where the incident happened, to ensure the rehabilitation of the woman, having been subjected to untold humiliation, dehumanization, as well as, physical and emotional trauma.
Also reacting on the incident, the women of Aboatulu kindred of Avomimi village, Enugwu- Ukwu in Njikoka local government area frowned at the ordeal the woman passed through..
Their president, Mrs. Ngozi Mbachi described the allegation against the woman as a mockery..
“This woman is the only one that knows the state of health of her husband and actual cause of his death. If the people wanted to act in good conscience, they should have asked the woman what happened, instead of taking the law into their hands.
“They have lived for over eight years and she did not kill her husband and the man did not send her away over allegation of infidelity. Why should they do that in death? In fact, they have succeeded in disgracing their brother at death unknown to them.. If this woman is educated enough to know her rights, this treatment she received would not have happened.
Education is a very important tool for women emancipation to protect them from harmful practices, Mbachi said.
“We the women of Aboatulu kindred condemn the action and urge our spiritual fathers to educate the people better because they all go to church”,
“We also appeal to our traditional custodians to review some of their traditional beliefs and practices that are alien to the present generation as a way to avoid the reoccurrence of this barbaric actions.