Married at 13, mother of 8 at 27: How Enugu teenager finally escaped a life of hell
27 year old Chiamaka Okechi hails from Ezeama Mgbagbuowa in Ezeagu Local Government Area, about 45 kilometers from Enugu State. She got married to her husband, Mr. Obinwanne Chiafo when she was 13-years old. She has eight children. On Saturday, August 21, Chiamaka sustained an injury on her head when her husband mercilessly broke her head with an iron rod. This scenario got to the point where Chiamaka almost lost her life due to the violence unleashed on her. Narrating her story, Chiamaka lamented that she has been suffering this torture since she got married to her husband.
Her 13-year-old marriage has been tales of woes as she has endured several forms of violence and abuses from her spouse. The victim currently lives in a mud house without any significant source of livelihood apart from her little subsistence farming within her immediate environment.
She had endured years of torture, physical and emotional abuses from the husband, Mr. Obinwanne Chiafo, who hails from the same village as her. Chiamaka revealed that she has been inflicted with torture from her estranged husband when she visited the Women Aid Collective, WACOL, August 24, to report the incident.
She narrated how the father of her children severely battered her, forcefully ejecting her from their matrimonial home five years ago, including taking custody of her six children. She has not been allowed access to these children.
She further noted that the perpetrator has married two different women after he forcefully evicted her, but she never objected. Notwithstanding, he still came around her parents’ house to regularly assault her.
The victim further revealed that her estranged husband returned in 2019 to ask for forgiveness, which she accepted, but unfortunately, he got her pregnant for the 8th child and he abandoned her again. Narrating her ordeal, Chiamaka, lamented, “I entered into an early forced marriage at the age of 13 and started giving birth early with the result that I dropped out of school and eventually could not complete my education. “On that fateful day, Obinwanne came to our house and unleashed terror on me.
He violently kicked down the door, dragged me on the floor and attacked me. “He pounced on me kicking, and started punching 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. “I bled profusely as a result of the injury sustained yet Obinwanne recklessly abandoned me in that pitiable condition and left.
He also threatened to return and kill me. “I went to Police station at Aguobu Owa, Ezeagu LGA, the next town to report the incident and unfortunately police asked me to bring money, but I couldn’t afford it and that was how I came to WACOL from my rural area to Enugu city”, she narrated.
She told WACOL that after the incident, she has been suffering from severe pains on her head and chest and has been passing sleepless nights.
Her greatest challenge now is that she is unable to go back home for the past 3 days, out of fear that the perpetrator could return and carry out his threat to kill her.
In her plea, she further stated that “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, WACOL, Prof. Joy Ngozi Ezeilo OON, assured her of WACOL’s unflinching support to ensure that she gets justice and treatment for her injury. She was given some amount of money as assistance to take care of her immediate needs.
According to Ezeilo, “Under the arrangement, she will also receive free medical treatment, free legal aid, counseling and psycho -social support.
WACOL legal clinic will also follow up with relevant law enforcement agencies to ensure that the perpetrator is arraigned and properly charged for grievously bodily injury, including murder threats”. WW made efforts to reach Chiamaka’s husband for fair hearing on the issue but it was to no avail as he is at large.
According to WACOL, “We have tried in our capacity to bring him to our office so as to hear his side of the story but he is nowhere to be found. He has been avoiding the police, even the traditional rulers in the community have done their best to bring him for questioning but efforts was to no avail”, she said.