70-year-old widow, Mrs Maria Oko, of Amauzu Nkpoghoro in Afikpo North
council area of Ebonyi State, who was recently banished from the
community for allegedly having sex with her 30-year-old boyfriend, Mr
Okpanu Nwachi popularly known as Odoodo; a mechanic has given her
account of the incident.
Abani, caught the woman while she was allegedly having sex with the man
in her matrimonial bed. The act, according to the residents, was
sacrilegious in the community.
gathered, had been noticing nocturnal movements of the young man in her
granny’s room every night. She was said to have laid ambush for the two
lovebirds and on that fateful night, caught the duo smooching.
said to have immediately raised the alarm, which prompted the villagers
to storm the widow’s home. Some of the villagers, who converged at the
scene, it was gathered, invaded her room and dragged the two lovers out
of the house and locked the man in their cell. The duo was paraded
around the village the following morning with scornful songs as
punishment for their act. She was subsequently banished from the
community after the parade.
incidence. While some commentators threw their weight behind her, citing
human rights, some others passed a damning judgement on her based on
religious and cultural reasons.
storm has stepped forward to absolve herself of any wrongdoing. She
explained that the man was just a family friend who assists her
financially. When Saturday Sun visited her residence in Amauzu
Nkpoghoro, which is about two hours drive from Abakaliki, the state
capital, she was seen carrying out some home chores.
straight with answers when asked to tell her stories, however, accused
her granddaughter of being mischievous.
crime or not. It is my bad granddaughter who caused this public
embarrassment to me because if she did not report to the community, I
wouldn’t have suffered this type of public disgrace.
youths wouldn’t have rung the community bell which caused my disgrace;
my granddaughter would have shielded me if she was a good child”, she
Saturday Sun that she was attending to her customer (the alleged lover
boy) at about 11:30pm when her granddaughter ran into her room and
started shouting that she was having sex with the young man.
having intercourse with the man, I would have switched off the phone but
the light was on. So, my granddaughter shouted and reported to her
uncle that she saw a man having intercourse with me. From there, the
matter was reported to the youths and to the entire community and I was
to the community that I was having sex with a man. This is a year and
three months I took her to my house to stay with me. She gave birth and I
took her to my house to stay with me so as to take care of her and I
didn’t know that doing so will cause me problem by monitoring me and
every step I took.
her husband doesn’t care how we are faring. It is even the man they said
had sex with me that is taking care of her; at times, the man will buy
uncooked foods including rice and some noodles and gave her to cook for
food and leave the rest for her. When my granddaughter’s baby was sick,
it was the man who went into the bush and got herbs used in curing the
baby”, she explained.
the young man often visited her in the night and sometimes stayed into
the midnight. But she was quick to clarify that he only comes to buy
regularly. He stays till 12 midnight at times. That fateful Sunday they
said he had sex with me, he came with his friend from Ozziza community
and left at about 10:30pm after drinking some bottles of beer.
which I was selling him when my granddaughter barged into my room with
her own cell phone light and shouted that I was having intercourse with the man and started asking the man what he was doing with me”, she added.
fine of one goat imposed on her by the community. “I have actually
offered the goat the community asked me to bring for what they said I
did. I have to give the goat since it is what they said I should give
according to tradition.”
herself of all wrong doings, the residents of the community insisted
that she was guilty as charged. “She was guilty. That was why we
sanctioned her” they insisted.
confirmed that Maria’s granddaughter brought report that a certain young
man often visited her granny in a manner the family members found
offensive in the pretext of buying dry gins.
around 11pm and asked her granny to sell her drink. The girl reported
that she waited for a long time but her granny didn’t return. So she
went to the room and caught them having sex”, he added.
youth leader, Mr Agha Michael Chukwuemeka, pointed out that the episode
lasted for three days.
the woman would have faced a greater punishment if her husband was
still alive. He noted that the act has brought shame to the widow’s
family, adding that she was among the most respected women in the
community before the incident.
for a widow to make love on her late husband’s matrimonial bed. To
appease the ‘gods’, the tradition of Amauzu Nkpoghoro community demands
that the accused person must offer a goat.
told Saturday Sun that “If a woman stays in her husband’s house and
commits adultery, she must offer goat to our community as custom
demands. Once she does this, the case will be over; nobody will touch
her, nobody will blame her and nobody will pursue her.
will stay in pains and it will now be between her and the husband. It
will be a case between her and the husband. If the woman continues,
refusing to offer the goat to cleanse the land according to our custom,
some elders of the community will be dying.
songs and parade the woman round the community to tell her that she
defiled the land by committing adultery in her husband’s home. The women
will carry rubbish from wastes bins and heap on the woman’s house. The
rubbish will block the entrance to the woman’s house and the house will
be sealed with palm fronds.
done because the widow’s son was embittered on her mother’s act which he
saw as a disgrace to the family and the community. The widow’s son was
not happy about her mother’s character and that was why the community
did not heap rubbish in their house.
rubbish and palm fronds as sanction for committing adultery is for both
widow and a woman whose husband is still alive. As for a widow, if she
leaves the late husband’s community and commits the adultery, this will
not be done to her because she is free to do whatever she likes since
she has left the late husband’s community.”
Agha, said that the community was not partial in handling the matter as
it was an age long practice.
to other people in the community who have been doing this type of thing
and getting away with it. For those of them who were doing this with
boldness, this sanction has made them to be careful because they will
also be sanctioned if caught” he said.
the man. He is free. The punishment we gave him was that we sent him
out of our community because he is not an indigene. If he was an
indigene, he would have been fined a goat as well”, explained Agha