Gender & SGBVNews

Mother Of 8 Narrates Life Of Abuse In Forced Early Marriage

Forced to marry at the age of 13, Chiamaka Okechi, 27, and a mother of eight, has remained a victim of torture and abuse in the hands of her husband, Obinwanne Chiafo, in their 13 years old marriage.

The couple from Ezeama Mgbagbuowa in Ezeagu Local Government Area of Enugu State started beating children immediately after their marriage and Chiamaka dropped out of school.

Chiamaka told “Women House” WACOL on August 24 when she came to report the latest assault on her by her husband that the marriage had been a tale of woes.

She said she had endured several forms of violence and abuse from Obinwanne who abandoned her in a mud house without any significant source of livelihood apart from her little subsistence farming within her immediate environment.

She said she had endured years of torture, physical and emotional abuse from Obinwanne.

She showed the team of WACOL lawyers a deep head injury which her estranged husband allegedly inflicted on her three days earlier.

Chiamaka alleged that Obinwanne had severely battered her and forcibly ejected her from their matrimonial home since five years ago.

She said Obinwanne also took custody of six of her children and denied her access to them.

She said he had also married two different women after evicting her from home and that she never opposed his decision to remarry.

She said Obinwanne had come several times to her parents’ house where she was staying to assault her.

Chiamaka said in spite of the humiliation, Obinwanne came back to her in 2019 to ask for forgiveness and got her pregnant for the eighth child after which he abandoned her again.

Chiamaka said that on August 21, Obinwanne came to her house and attacked her, saying, on that fateful day, Obinwanne violently pulled down her house door, dragged her on the floor and assaulted her.

“He pounced on me, kicked and punched me very hard all over my body, including several heavy blows that landed on my chest.

“I screamed as a result of the excruciating pain, but he kept on and brought an iron rod which he used to hit my head causing me severe head injury. It was at that point that he ran away,” Chiamaka narrated.

She said as Obinwanne was running away while she bled, he threatened to return and kill her.

Chiamaka said she went to the police station at Aguobu Owa, Ezeagu, a nearby community, to report the incident but policemen on duty asked her to bring money, which she coul not afford hence her decision to come to WACOL for help in Enugu.

She told WACOL that after the incident, she had been suffering from severe pains in the and chest and had been having sleepless nights.

Chiamaka said she had been in Enugu, far away from home, for three days and was afraid of returning to her community for fear that Obinwanne might return and carry out his threat to kill her.

“I want WACOL and law enforcement agencies to assist me to arrest this man because I don’t want to die, and I have nobody to run to. Please help me,” she pleaded.

The Founder and Executive Director of WACOL Prof. Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, assured her of the organisation’s support to enable her to get justice and treatment for her injury.

Ezeilo gave her N10, 000 to take care of her immediate needs and promised to help her get medical treatment, free legal aid, counselling and psycho -social support.

The WACOL legal clinic will also follow up with relevant law enforcement agencies to ensure that the perpetrator is arraigned and properly charge for grievously bodily injury, including murder threats, Ezeilo said.

Reported by Egodi Igwe

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