•Women, groups demand justice
From NKECHI CHIMA ONYELE
When Hannah, a native of Benue State, moved in with Matthew a few years ago, she had hoped that they would become husband and wife.
After bearing three female children in quick succession for Matthew, the Tiv native had hoped earnestly that her fourth pregnancy would bring a male child, so that, perhaps, Matthew would do the needful and formally make her his wife.
But all those dreams are gone with the wind now, as the very man Hannah shared a bed with for years has just dispatched her to an early grave after a minor squabble over domestic chores.
Daily Sun gathered that the mother of three, who was eight months pregnant, was beaten to death by her lover on June 6, 2016, in their residence in Lugbe, an Abuja suburb, because she did not wash his clothes.
It was gathered the late Hannah, 30, had spent the greater part of that day at the ante-natal clinic, and by the time she returned home in the evening, she was too tired to do any chores.
Consequently, she had to postpone all the chores to the following day.
Unfortunately for Hannah, her lover, on his return from work, took offence that his clothes were not washed. The late mother of three was said to have explained and begged her man over her inability to wash his clothes on that particular day, promising to do the laundry the next day.
But all her pleas and explainations were like pouring water on a stone. Matthew promptly descended heavily on his lover. He pummelled her ceaselessly, until she gave up the ghost.
A former neighbour of the couple, Mrs. Precious Igbokwe, told Daily Sun how Matthew made life a living hell for the deceased because she gave birth to only female children.
“I lived close to their apartment as a single lady for over six years; we were close neighbours. Though they were not married legally as confirmed by Hannah, she was hopeful for the future. She really suffered much in the hands of that beast,” Igbokwe said.
She recalled that when the deceased delivered her last girl, her lover abandoned them at the hospital and stopped the neighbours from bathing the baby or assisting the mother.
“Thereafter, he continued maltreating them and calling the baby a bastard. He is a sadist. He doesn’t greet or respond to greetings from neighbours,” she added.
As soon as the incident occurred, Lugbe women took to the streets to protest the gruesome murder of Hannah, whom they described as a rare gem.
Speaking on behalf of Lugbe Women Community, Lan Musa, a native of Kogi State, expressed outrage over the death of the mother of three and called for a stop to domestic violence.
Musa, who has also suffered domestic violence, said Hannah’s death was the third incident of women who have been killed as a result of domestic violence in the locality.
She called on government to take a decisive stand to curb the ugly trend.
Similarly, a friend of the deceased, who she visited on the morning of the day she was killed, Mrs. Felicia Zira, told Abuja Metro with tears in her eyes that: “Hannah complained bitterly how her live-in-lover had been maltreating her for years, beating her uncontrollably, issuing threats to her life.”
“I adviced her to report the matter to her relatives or relevant authorities, like Ministry of Women Affairs, to tackle the domestic violence and stop its recurrence,” she said.
Another of the deceased’s neighbours, Mrs. Joy Ogu, said the the late Hannah lived in fear all through her co-habitation with Matthew, who she respected and adored.
According to her, “In a bid to make life meaningful for herself and children, she engaged in menial jobs in a nearby school, where she sneaked out every morning to clean without the knowledge of her husband, through which she was able to save N10,000 to enable her to set up petty business.
“Painfully, when she started selling kerosine and some foodstuff, he stopped giving them token for feeding, leaving her to worry about their upkeep.”
Ogu lamented that Hannah who desperately craved for a male child, did not live to birth her baby boy.
She said: “Our pastor and some members of the church took her to the mortuary, they evacuated the baby before taking her to the mortuary; they testified it was a handsome male child. What a tragic loss!
“I feel so bad that she died a painful death. Why would a man beat an eight-months-old pregnant woman as if he was in wrestling contest with his fellow man?
“Whitish substances were gushing out from her mouth and he saw her losing life, yet he continued beating her to accomplish his mission,” she said.
Spokesman for the FCT Police Command, ASP Usen Omorodion, confirmed that Matthew was in the custody of the Criminal Investigation Department, noting that he would be arraigned in court soon.
“He is with us at the State CID for further investigation. However, we would arraign him in court next week for judgement,” the PPRO said.