3 docked for banishing widow from Anambra community

…the suspects allegedly used masquerade to force the widow out of the community

Three persons arrested for ostracizing widow from Umunankwo community in Ogbaru local government area of Anambra state have been arraigned before the Children, Sexual and Gender Based Violence Magistrate court in Awka.

The suspects who used masquerade to force the widow, Mrs. Nneka Uzor out of the community, were arraigned on a 5-count charge.

When the charges were read and interpreted to the defendants, Messrs Lazarus Uzor, Anozie Uzor and Valentine Chukwuma Okwuosa, a brother to the widow; pleaded not guilty of the charges.

Delivering ruling on bail applicantion for the defendants, Presiding Chief Magistrate, His Worship Genevieve Osakwe argued that, since the offence was a bailable offence, the Court would consider bail applicantion for the defendant.

The defendants, Messrs Lazarus Uzor, Anozie Uzor and Valentine Chukwuma were granted bail in the sum of #700,000 and must provide a reliable surety, in the like sum, who must be the traditional ruler of Umunankwo, the Parish priest of St Joseph’s catholic church Umunankwo or the President-General of the community, with two recent passport photographs, and a valid means of identification, among other requirements.

It would be recalled that the widow, Mrs Nneka Uzor, a caterer and a mother of two was banished from her community by her brothers and other relations who alleged her a witch.

Narrating her ordeal to Commissioner for Women and Social Welfare, Hon. Ify Obinabo, Uzor explained that she started living in her parents house in Umunankwo 9 years ago after her husband’s death and since has been met with all kinds of abuse by her brothers and other family members.

She noted that this particular issue started when someone died in their neighborhood and she, like other members of the community was invited to the burial which made her to sleep over at their family compound but was surprised to be called upon around 5:30am the next morning by her uncle and brothers, Nnamdi Uzor, Lazarus Uzor and Anozie Uzor with masquerades.

The widow told the Women Affairs Commissioner that after she got dressed and was accompanied by everyone in attendance alongside the masquerade and was marshaled out of the community with her brothers and other relations warning her never to step foot in Umunankwo again.

The sister to the widow, Mrs Nkiru Ozor noted that it was Lazarus Uzor, the immediate past President General of the community that instigated the act while Nnamdi Uzor was the leader of the act as the said Nnamdi was the one who made the video making rounds on the internet. 

Reacting, Commissioner Obinabo expressed satisfaction with court’s decision, promising to get justice for the widow and other widows in the state going through such ill treatment. 

She warned everyone to desist from any form of harmful traditional practices against widows in the state as such would not be tolerated, in stating that the government of Prof. Chukwuma Soludo has zero tolerance for such inhumane act.

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