Ifeyinwa Ezukamma, a 40-year-old mother of five, has been sacked from her matrimonial home by her husband’s family because she is insisting on pursuing justice for her eight-year-old daughter who was raped by their tenant.
Ezukamma lived with her family in their country home, Ogidi, Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State, Southeast Nigeria, where she caught a man, said to be 57 years, having canal knowledge of her daughter.
She said although she caught the suspect, Herbert Ogbonna, in the act on July 23, 2020, her daughter told her the man had been violating her since March.
The woman who presently lives in her parents’ house, said her husband compromised and warned her not to pursue the matter because it would damage the reputation of their family.
“I noticed an irregular noise and movement in the bathroom, out of curiosity I went to check if everything was normal. To my amazement, it was a tenant in our house, an old man that should be about 70 years old, having sex with my daughter.
“ I shouted and people gathered to see for themselves, the old man began to plead for forgiveness.
“I called my daughter and asked her what happened. She said the old man had been raping her for some months and threatened to kill her if she told anybody about it, that was why she did not tell me,” Ifeyinwa said.
She alleged that her husband collected money and asked her to go and negotiate her own and get paid off.
Ifeyinwa said her travail started when she refused to accept any financial pacification but insisted on getting justice for her daughter.
She said the family sent her away and took away her teenage daughters from her for trying to bring disgrace to the family and for reporting the matter to a child rights non-governmental organisation (NGO) after the matter had been incidented at a police station.
She expressed worry about the safety of her children who had been disconnected from her.
“It was my insistence to pursue this matter that led to my husband and his family people to chase me out of my matrimonial home and take my children away from me.
“I said I would not collect any money as appeasement for my little daughter that was raped.
“The painful aspect is that my other daughters have been cut off from me; I don’t know about their wellbeing now, “ she said.
In a preliminary report, Iyi-Enu Mission Hospital, Ogidi, where the child was taken for examination on August 4, stated that there was penetration.
It, however, noted that the private hospital where she was taken to on the date of the incident did not carry out physical examination on the child.
The document, signed by Dr Madubuike Chinelo, stated that the history suggestive sexual abuse.
“Further history obtained from the client stated that the said man has been abusing her asexually by inserting his penis into her vagina since the month of March 2020 with the promise of dashing her some money.
“The episode had happened up to five times prior to the most recent encounter.
“On account of incessant itching on the perineal area by the client, and mother’s quest to repeat the investigation and to have her daughter examined, mother brought her daughter to our facility.
“The urogentialsystem done in the presence of a chaperon showed there was hypereamia of the vaginal mucosa, no obvious vaginal discharge and a hymen that had already been tampered with, the client was placed on some drugs for the vaginitis,” it stated.
Child Right Brigade International (CRIB), an NGO, said the matter was reported to it on August 12 and vowed to resist any cover up but to ensure that the suspect was brought to justice.
Obiora Nnaemeka, the Coordinator of CRIB in Anambra State, said the organisation learnt that the father, Mr Alex Ezukamma, collected money to stop the matter at police station.
Nnaemeka said CRIB had written the Divisional Police Officer at Ogidi to effect the arrest of the suspect and the father of the child and resurrect the matter for investigation and prosecution.
On his part, Ezukamma confirmed that his daughter was violated and that the suspect, Ogbonna, arrested, detained and released on bail with a caution not return to his (Ezukamma’s) house where he was the landlord.
Ezukamma denied collecting any money to drop the case, saying that as a traditional African religion practitioner, he would not touch such filthy money but would rather opt that some cleansing be done.
He said he and members of his family told his wife that they would not like the family name to be associated with such prosecution because of the disgrace and the stigma it would bring to the girl.
He said Ifeyinwa went against the collective resolve not to make the matter public and thereby incurred the anger of their family.
“She disobeyed me, my elders and junior ones not to drag our family name into the matter because of the dent it will bring to us and our daughter, that is why I asked her to leave my house.
“I did not and cannot collect money from somebody who raped my daughter I got him arrested and detained for his crime but we don’t want to pursue a rape case.
“My wife can go to any length she wishes but our name must not be involved,” the husband said.
When contacted, CSP Remigus Ekuri, DPO, Ogidi Police Division, said the matter would be charged to court as soon as a medical report was available.