Sunday Magazine

Living in hell

•I chained my wife, battered her for inviting NDLEA to arrest me, my girl friend –Chukwuani

•I’ve been living in hell, says Ngozi •She was dehumanised –FIDA

 

Sixteen years after they were joined together as husband and wife, with four children including a set of twins, the wine in the marriage between Chukwuani Ngozi and Uche Chukwuani has gone sour. Both want to go their separate ways as the union has turned violent. Chukwuani has turned Ngozi into a punching bag battered and chained her like a common criminal. UCHENNA INYA reports on what led to Ngozi to say that she has been living in hell

 

 

Ngozi Chukwuani, a native of Ifitedum, Anambra State and Uche Chukwuani who hailed from Mmaku, Enugu State were love birds. They took their union to the next level and tied the nuptial knots according to native law and custom in 2002.

 

To underscore their commitment to each other, they went to the church to exchange vows until death do them part two years after, precisely in 2004. The union was blessed with four lovely children including a set of twins.

 

However, things are no longer the way they used to be as the liaison between the duo under threat with Ngozi now a victim of domestic violence as the brutality escalated recently when Chukwuani allegedly chained Ngozi in their house at #10, Ukwansi Street, Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital.

 

Ngozi’s father furnished and gave the house to her as his first daughter, as it is the custom. They have been living there as a family with the children. Ngozi while narrating her ordeal in the hands of her husband to Sunday Telegraph, said her husband was not satisfied with the three-bed room flat her father gave them and complained bitterly about it.

 

She said: “After our wedding in 2004, my husband said he was no longer happy with our marriage. He said the things my father used and settled me as his first daughter when I wedded was not enough.

 

He complained that it is only a flat of his threestorey building that my father used and settled me after he furnished it properly. “My husband said it was just house hold furniture for the flat my father gave to me.

 

That he needed something tangible like landed property or something that has document. I told him to relax that his character would attract more things to us from my father. I also told him that as young couple, we have bright future ahead, we should try and make our own money and other property.

 

“I told him that my father has boys and if this storey- building which he gave us a flat in it is to be shared to the boys, it will not go round, some of them will not get. I pleaded with him that it is better we hustle and get our own and as our marriage lasts, money will come through our efforts and we will get acquire our own property.

 

“My husband refused my pleas. He was still embittered. He was no longer happy with our marriage. He would go out and come in anything he likes without letting me know his whereabouts. I didn’t know what to do since I have taken a vow and married. I found it difficult to take a walk from the marriage.

 

While this was going on, I took in. I carried the first pregnancy without my husband taking good care of me. The same with the second pregnancy, there was no care. Things changed a little better during the third pregnancy which happened to be twins.

 

We had no issues. But he is riled anytime he remembers that the house rent on the three – storey building was not paid into his account, he becomes unhappy with me and this he did not pretend about it.

 

“I have become a victim of domestic violence as my husband has turned me into a punching bag. He beats me at will, inflicts injuries on me. The one which led him to chain me started October last year after my father died and was buried.”

 

‘My journey to South Africa compounded my woes’ However, things came to a head last year after she went to South Africa in order to baby- sit (Omogwo) for her younger sister who was about to be delivered of a baby.

 

Ngozi explained that when she informed her husband about her plan to travel to South Africa, he was opposed to the idea, but later changed his mind after he had procured the traveling papers, including the international passport and visa.

 

She said, she had to disobey her husband and travelled to South Africa and that when she came back, the problem in the marriage escalated with the husband carting away all the household property with which her late father furnished their apartment.

 

“My brother – in law (my younger sister’s husband) returned from South Africa and told me that my sister was heavily pregnant and was due. I was free to go. If I interested in going to South Africa, I should let him know. I told him to let me seek my husband’s consent and will get back to him. “He said okay that it was good. I met with my husband and told him about it.

 

My husband asked me why I was interested in going to South Africa and I told him that if not for any other thing, I want to board an airplane since I have never knew how the inside of an aircraft looked like. Moreover, it will be added experience for me to travel outside the country. He laughed and said okay ‘go ahead and prepare the document for the travel’.

 

“I got back to my brother – in law and told him that my husband has given his consent and he started processing the travel documents. I got a call to go to Enugu and collect my passport and other particulars for the travel to South Africa in the presence of my husband. He changed his mind after I answered the call.

 

He said I would no longer go to South Africa. I told him that I sought and got his consent before I started processing the travelling arrangement. After answering the call, he changed his mind that that I will no longer travel to South Africa.

 

I told him that I sort his consent and he approved it and my travelling passport and other documents are ready. He said I should not bring those things to our house. “I went to Enugu and collected the travelling documents.

 

After I returned from Enugu, he asked me why I went and collected the travelling documents. I told him that there was no way I can abandon the documents especially as I told him about it. I told him that even if I am no longer  travelling, there was no way I can abandon the documents.

 

He started crying and collected my phones and everything he found on me. I apologized to him and appealed to him. He insisted I would not go to South Africa even if I have the passport and other documents for it.

 

“The travelling date was approaching fast and I started thinking on what to do. I made up my mind to go because it is a very big opportunity for me and if I lose it, I may not have it again in my life. He moved to his lady friend and started living with her. I accepted his decision.

 

Few days for me to travel, my husband left our house and stopped coming home. I left for South Africa and left my children in the care of my sister. While in South Africa, my husband moved in with his girlfriend. He called me severally on phone; that I went to South Africa for prostitution. “In January, I came back from South Africa and met our house empty.

 

 

My husband had carted away everything with which my father furnished our apartment he gave me as wedding present. He removed them to an unknown destination. As you can see, there is no single thing in our house again. We later reconciled and my husband started coming home again.

 

Tuesday last week, I called him because it was already 11: pm and I asked him of his whereabouts. He told me that I should not worry he would tell me when he returned. He came back and asked for food which I gave him.”

 

‘Why my husband chained me’ Ngozi, a classroom teacher disclosed that Uche, her husband accused her of being the mastermind behind the arrest of the girl he became friend with.

 

National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), she claimed arrested the lady for drug related offence.

 

Also she accused her husband of being a drug addict, a chain smoker and a womanizer. Ngozi alleged that her husband battered her to the point of becoming conscious and chained her when she regained consciousness to ensure that she was also in the same condition with the lady who was in handcuffs under the custody of NDLEA.

 

“My husband said I masterminded the NDLEA’s arrest of his girl. He said I was destroying his business, that I have scattered his business.

 

He also accused me of constantly inviting NDLEA that has been arresting him for drug offences and that I am dating some of the NDLEA officials and that they usually give me a cut from the money they make from arresting him (my husband). I was on the floor trying to sleep and he woke me up that I will not sleep until I went and secure a bail for his girlfriend that was in the NDLEA custody.

 

He started beating me, inflicted all manner of injuries on me. He coughed severally and spitted on my face while battering me. I kept quiet and refused to retaliate. He went and brought chain and chained me to a pillar in our flat.

 

He smoked weed. A wrap of it was even on the floor when he was torturing me. He called me NDLEA informant while torturing me and I told him I was not and I cannot be.

 

“My husband is not a good person; he is a drug addict, he smokes a lot and he womanizes too. I didn’t know these. We didn’t date even a single day before we got married. We met in a church and he proposed to me that he wanted to marry me. I told him that if he was really serious about it, he should meet my parents.

 

He met my father and he told him to go and think very well if I was the one he wanted to marry and he came back and told my father I was the one for him.”

 

My ordeal in Ngozi’s hand, NDLEA officials -husband When contacted on phone, Uchenna Chukwu Ani threatened to deal with our reporter if he dared publish the story after denying that he was not the owner of the phone number used in contacting him. He however narrated that he has been facing all manner of insults from his wife since he married her because he is living in the wife father’s house as a result of lack of money to rent house.

 

The man who admitted chaining his wife, explained that he was dealing in weed business with Ngozi and from there, they diversify into cocaine business from which they made N850, 000.

 

According to him, the wife went and reported to the NDLEA that he was doing drug the NDLEA officials came and parked all the money in his house without any exhibit found on him or in the house. He said “I have been living in her father’s house since we married because I couldn’t gather enough money to rent house for us to live.

 

Because I don’t have money to rent house, I continued living there and my wife refused to be bringing money for our feeding. Every time, my wife will be tormenting me because I was living in her father’s house.

 

“Every time, she will invite police and NDLEA to arrest me. I was selling weed with her. From there, I started selling cocaine also with her, from cocaine; she got money and ran away to South Africa without my knowledge.

 

Because of this, I parked all the properties in our house and took them away. I told her the reason she is behaving the way is because I am living in her father’s house. She reported the matter to the police that I carted away our property. The police told her it was a family affair and they can’t meddle into it. “She went to family law centre and reported the matter. The family law centre told us that we should park out of that house we are living. They said my wife don’t have respect for me because we are living in her father’s house.

 

They blamed her for abandoning me to South Africa. From this drug business, there is a place that God gave me and I have finished it. “My wife reported me severally to NDLEA and always calls me armed robber and drug dealer. I am a drug dealer but I am not an armed robber.

 

She went to report me and they came and parked my N850, 000. My wife told me that the operatives said the money must be shared into two before they will release me. I told my wife, this people came to our house, searched it and didn’t see any drug but my money. I asked my wife is my N850, 000 an exhibit?

 

She said I should better do what she said because the NDLEA can still come back to me and that they already know I sell cocaine. I said okay, since you are with them, let the money be shared into two with half of it brought to me. My wife brought back only N200, 000 for me out of N850, 000.

 

“There was a time I told her to take care of our children let me go and deliver a market without knowing that she has already set me up with NDLEA operatives and I was arrested. They set me free, destroyed the cocaine they found on me and went and arrested my girl friend who was innocent.

 

So, I was not happy and I decided to also put her in the condition of that my girlfriend to see what that my girlfriend was seeing”. We are sad on chaining the woman-FIDA Meanwhile, Federation of International Women Lawyers (FIDA) has said Uche dehumanized Ngozi by chaining her.

 

The Ebonyi state Chairperson of FIDA, Grace Chima said the organization frowns at the treatment Uche meted against her. “We feel sad about this, it is uncalled for and that is why we speak against domestic violence anywhere we go to.

 

“Apart from the fact that the man battered the woman mercilessly, he went to the extent of chaining her in the presence of her children who were crying on behalf of their mother. He cannot take laws into his hands. He must face the music.

 

The moment he is apprehended, we will do our job which is rendering legal services to the woman to ensure that she gets justice for what she passed through,” she said.

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