News Update

Flogging Saga… In Search of Justice

By Uche Amunike

Very recently, the world woke up to the viral video of a naked woman who was mercilessly flogged by her fellow woman for allegedly having an extra marital affair with a married man. The said woman visited him on his invitation, but unfortunately, his wife and someone whom she claimed was her sister showed up, shortly after she visited the man and dealt with her.

They started by stripping her naked and locking her up in the bathroom for four hours, only to return and flog her heartlessly. At least, that was what the video tape depicted. Now, I don’t know if you have watched that video clip. If you haven’t, then you need to go and watch it, so as to truly understand why I feel the way I do presently. And what do I feel? Anger! Pity! Raw pain!!! Yeah. I am very angry at the height of wickedness that was meted out to that quiet looking woman by someone whom I think is quite younger and painfully, of the same gender as her. I feel anger that she was dehumanized for no just cause by the same woman. I feel anger that the man who invited her over to that house stood there and watched her being humiliated without making an attempt to protect her or even speak up in her defense. I feel anger that the woman didn’t even attempt to protect herself or at least put up a fight throughout her ordeal in the hands of her attacker, or flogger, if you will. I could go on and on. Rather, like a lamb being led to the slaughter, she just submitted herself to be flogged all over her body and have her nakedness exposed for the whole world to see. Odiegwu!!!

I talked about pity. Yes! I truly pitied her as I watched the four different video clips sent viral in batches. I pitied her for her fear. She felt fear. At every point, she wondered what would come next. I pitied her through her helplessness. I watched her humble submission to be humiliated for something she did not do. The more I watched that video clip, the more pity I felt for her. At a point, I also became scared for her as I wondered how it would all end, seeing the determination of her assailant to reduce her to nothing. I pitied her plight and wished that nobody I knew would ever pass through such a terrible ordeal.

I also felt raw pain as I had never because, our society seems to have a hand in the things that make us look like savages in the eyes of people in more civilized climes. This, in itself is crazy because Nigeria is actually civilized by my rating. Or at least, we should be counted as civilized, all things being equal. Or how do you explain the fact that a woman took the law into her own hands in broad day light and flogged the living daylight out of her fellow woman right in front of the man whose invitation she honoured? What about the men who eventually saw her being whipped with those canes and the belt outside the compound and yet couldn’t stop the madness and rescue her? Instead, they feebly begged her assailant to have pity as though she was some uncontrollable giant that they couldn’t stop. Were they not, as men, supposed to collect those canes from her and even instruct her to stop the abuse or even hand her over to the police, or even slap the living daylight out of her the moment she tried forcing her victim to take off the wrapper she managed to collect from some passerby to at least cover her nakedness?

My dear readers, at this stage in my life, I have learnt not to be judgmental. I have learnt to study situations before judging. We truly live in a wicked world and sometimes I wonder how come God hasn’t wiped out the entire world in anger. I have listened to arguments from different people as they all analyzed that issue. A lot of people sympathized with the victim for the inhuman treatment meted out to her. Some others blamed her for accepting to visit a man in his matrimonial home. Some were happy that she was dealt with for attempting daring to be an unfaithful wife to her husband. Some cried for justice to be done and for the woman to be compensated for her dehumanization. However, just before we start playing holier-than-thou, the police report released by the Anambra State Police Command has investigated the case and labeled it a case of CONSPIRACY, BLACKMAIL, DEPRIVATION OF LIBERTY AND ASSAULT OCCASIONING HARM. As far as I’m concerned, they labeled it accurately. Let me tell you what their findings were.

The lady that was flogged, Mrs Ogochukwu Okafor was invited by her facebook friend, Mr Ifeanyi Azota to his house at Amawbia. She visited him only for a lady who claimed to be his wife, namely Azotani Toochukwu to show up with her friend, Ogochukwu Nwankwo (the flogger) and locked the victim up inside the bathroom for four hours and left. When they returned with the big canes, Ogochukwu stripped her naked, flogged her mercilessly and threw her out of the compound, naked for the world to see. Remember that all these were videotaped by so called wife of the man who invited this lady over while the man did nothing to stop them. A day after, she received a phone call from them, asking her to pay sixty thousand naira or have the video tape posted to the internet. When she refused complying, they carried out their threat. I was so glad when I got wind of this statement by our dear PPRO, Haruna Mohammed on behalf of the Commissioner of Police. At least, I am pretty sure that the law will take its full course.

I was able to listen to both the culprits and the victim as they were interviewed by newsmen, here in Awka. I was shocked to listen to the flogger as she shed crocodile tears and told a pathetic story of being frustrated because her ex-husband took her only child and went to live with his girlfriend. According to her, that was what she remembered that made her flog the woman the way she did. She pleaded for mercy as she shed crocodile tears and appealed that wasn’t in her character to do what she did. You know, the more she cried, with her eyes shining like touch light, the more I saw through her crocodile tears and lies. You were frustrated to the point that you flogged an innocent woman mercilessly and dehumanized her in front of the whole world. You not only dehumanize her, you actually debased womanhood. You even forced her to remove the wrapper she collected from a kinder person than you. As if that wasn’t enough, you go trying to extort money from her for cheap blackmail. All because of sixty thousand naira. How cheap can one be? It would have made more sense if your ransome ran into millions. But sixty thousand to be shared by the three of you? I still don’t get it. By the way, why would your ex-husband not run away from you with your son? What man would have a wicked person as you as wife? One day, you will stab him to death in anger, seeing that you are a good candidate of domestic violence. You are too violent to live under the same roof with any right thinking person. As for the so called couple who hatched this dastardly plan with you, I pray the law deals with them. You are all thankfully being charged to court and I can’t wait to hear about the outcome of this case. I really do hope that justice would take its course so as to serve as a lesson to everyone who gets to hear about this case. It should serve as a deterrent to everyone.

As for the victim, I also hope you learnt your lesson. You don’t meet a man on facebook and go visiting him in his home just because he invited you over. You are a married woman. Even if you are widowed, it still doesn’t justify your visit to his home. You should have put your status into consideration. Now, see where your ignorance has landed you. You have a six year old son who will grow up some day and see that video clip. Even if he doesn’t see it for some reason, he will definitely hear about your ordeal. How do you think that would make him feel? Have you thought about the stigma he might face as a growing child? Will you be there to protect him when he gets taunted at school and on the streets? What about your parents, siblings and people who love you. You are widowed alright, but if you still bear your husband’s name, it means you are obligated not to bring shame to his name. You were actually lucky. What if he was a ritualist? What if those women stabbed you to death? What if they gave you an acid bath? according to you, during your interview with newsmen, you are a single mother and widow with a six year old son. Kindly try and be more careful in your dealings with people because you have a son to take care of. That little boy will still ask you questions when the time comes. What will you tell him? That you decided to visit an unknown man in his own home? I watched your countenance and you cut a picture of a reserved person. You seem a very decent woman. You also looked and sounded like someone who is from a good home. That’s perhaps the reason why you didn’t fight back your attacker. You were too submissive for your own good, thereby giving her full control over you. How weak can you be? I however apologize for your ill treatment and dehumanization and sincerely hope you learnt a big lesson from all this madness. I thank God you are now safely protected by the law and that pretty soon, justice will be done.

I implore the judiciary to handle this right. Are there female lawyers in this state? I expect them to volunteer to defend this lady for free. This case cries out for justice and the victim has said that she would not accept money from her traducers. She cries out for justice. Let this case not be swept under the carpet. The whole world is watching!