But they held her down and shaved off every strand of hair on her head.
Her tears touched them not and as they subjected her to this humiliation called tradition, they knew they were not done with her. They had their eyes on the plots of land the young man was leaving behind. They were also looking at the five trucks generating the income. Even the house he built at Oke Afa in Isolo Lagos was an item in their unhealthy avarice.
Chioma Odilinye, the young widow from Asaba but married to the late Onyebuchi Odilinye from Ogidi in Idemili Local Govt Area is going through a terrible experience in the hands of her brothers and sisters inlaws.
Read a PART OF HER STORY AS CONTAINED IN A PETITION SHE HAD SENT TO THE POLICE……
My name is Chioma Odilinye. I was married to Mr. Onyebuchi Odilinye. The marriage is blessed with a son. My husband fell sick sometime last year and it demanded that he would be flown to India for an operation. He left to India in company of his immediate elder brother, Mr. Hyacinth Odilinye. I spoke with my husband in India and he told me the operation was successful, that they will be back in a few days. I called again but nobody was picking my calls and after other trials, I discovered d number has been unavailable. I was forced to try my husband’s Nigeria number which went through and I spoke with his elder brother, Hyacinth, who told me that they are back from India and are now in a referral hospital in Abuja. I asked to speak to my husband but he wouldn’t allow me on the reason that he was too weak to talk. I demanded the address of the hospital in Abuja, but he wouldn’t give me. This went on for weeks. # During this period, my husband’s younger brothers (Emenike and Chukwujekwu) sent an urgent message that all our seven haulage trucks have been grounded by police and the only condition to release them was to provide the original documents of the trucks. I obliged them with d documents. Little did I know that my husband had died and they were using that as a ploy to collect all our properties.
Even our Highland SUV that was used to convey my husband to d airport has not been returned. # After the burial and funeral of my husband, Mr. Hyacinth Odilinye with sisters in the village at Ogidi in Anambra State, locked me, my mum and my son up in a room that the only condition to our release was upon handing over of the documents of the house I and my late husband suffered to build in Lagos. It took d intervention of some villagers for them to release us, but their sister Ebere followed us back to Lagos to collect the document. We got to Lagos and I made it clear to Ebere that the house belongs to I and my husband and I can’t give her the documents. This irked her and she threatened me that they will ensure that I suffer with my son. Few hours later, the elder brother Hyacinth called and also threatened to kill me if I don’t provide the documents. On several occasions lately, two people on a motor cycle would come at my gate, release one or two gun shots and speed off.
# I implore you to use your good office to recover my properties and also save my life which is in danger.
Hmmmmm…Not sure who this message should be going out to. Do I address bad inlaws who think their only mission in life is to wait for their son/brother to die so they can raid his house and disposes his wife of her late husband’s property after debasing and abusing her, all in the name of culture? Or should my anguish and frustration be directed to the late husband who neglected to put systems in place to ensure this did not happen? What about the wife? Did she become a slave to tradition and culture? Was she abducted or hypnotized to the ground where her hair was shaved or did she forget her right, as a human being, to self-dignity. What do our country’s laws say on inheritance? Do they not supersede these archaic and barbaric cultures? As this usually is a vicious circle, would this wife also do same if tables were turned? You can see in the pictures that the dehumanization and torture is being administered by fellow women. Sad.
Before you go thinking this is peculiar to a certain part of the country, I am here to tell you that I know of a case very similar to this one happening in Ogun state right now. The late husband’s mom and siblings have taken the wife hostage and are basically administering her late husband’s estate without her consent. I know of another recent case in Delta state. As they say, “Warri no dey carry last”. This babe checkmated the family members to the extent that they are now calling her to negotiate. Whosai! She don enter breeze with her pickins and all papers intact! Each time I hear about these cases, this Warri babe’s story is my usual example of what every woman needs to learn. She exemplified the Warri maxim which says “person wey dey cry still dey see road”. No dulling.
Back to Chioma’s case.
In closing, I leave this message for every husband
Present her as a queen to your family…mark her as untouchable!
Educate and empower her to know her rights
Use the format “Mr. and Mrs. Ochuko and Abimbola Okoye” in all your title documents
Make her a joint signatory to your personal bank accounts
Ensure she has income of her own from work or business
Make her your next of kin in all sensitive dealings