* Girl tortured, humiliated for refusing sex gains new home, scholarship
By Sunday Ani
Fate is one mysterious story teller, whose suspenseful weaving of an otherwise tragic plot often ends in blissful conclusion.
So it is with the story of 14-year-old Uzoamaka Chukwu, from Uburu in Ohaozara Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, tortured and dehumanised by a five-man gang of perverts for refusing to be used as a sex toy.
In June this year, the Coordinator of Ohaozara Development Centre in Ebonyi State, Ogbonnaya Ene Odii, his younger brother and three policemen allegedly abducted Uzoamaka and visited hell on her at the coordinator’s home where they held her hostage.
The JSS 2 student was stripped naked and flogged like a common criminal, allegedly under the supervision of the coordinator. The wicked act was recorded on video with mobile phones and thereafter uploaded on facebook and other social media platforms to embarrass Uzoamaka.
The orphan’s alleged offence, according to her tormentors, was sleeping around with different men, married and unmarried in the community; an act they saw as a threat to the peace of the community.
The suspects fed the social media audience with a stunt that Uzoamaka was caught by her father having sex with her boyfriend in the family sitting room, hence, her public disgrace.
After the video went viral on the internet, Uzoamaka denied the charge and shocked the world when she revealed that one of her traducers, the coordinator’s younger brother, acted out of malice and unreciprocated loved advances to her. She said the boy had made sexual advances towards her, which she turned down, because she considered herself too young to engage in such amoral affairs.
The revelation, exposed the plight of Uzoamaka, who had hitherto lost her parents, attacting sympathy from every nook and cranny of Nigeria and beyond.
A cross-section of young ladies, who bared their minds after watching the video clip had expressed shock and indignation and argued that the ferocity with which the girl was tortured, debased and dehumanised clearly showed that only denial of sex could make a man go to that length of brutality against a woman.
But, the brutality visited on Uzoamaka has turned out a blessing in disguise for her. She now has a new home, in addition to a scholarship up to the university level. Uzoamaka has been transformed overnight, while the men, who felt they were too big for the law to catch, are today facing prosecution.
Uzoamaka’s story changed from sorrow to joy when the Managing Director of Veroz Group, Mrs. Rita Anoh, who is also from Ebonyi State, heard about her ordeal and decided to give her a new lease of life.
A touched Mrs. Anoh said: “Uzoamaka was like a deprived girl in the society. She had no opportunity to good education; she had no guardian and that was why the people were able to take advantage of her and do what they did to her. That is also why I am offering her a scholarship; I want to give her a life to make them understand that, that is what the society is supposed to give to her.
“I have been able to find out her level of education and from where she is now, which is JS 2, I am taking it up to the university level. When she is through with her university education and the national youth service programme, I will equally help her to get a job.”
Mrs. Anoh, who is a player in the hospitality industry in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, said that she had already adopted Uzoamaka as her child and that she would live with her until she is through with her university education. “I have actually adopted her. She will live with me; I will rehabilitate and take care of her from now onwards,” she said.
An elated Uzoamaka said she was very happy about the scholarship. “I am very happy about what she (Anoh) has done for me and I pray that God will continue to bless her,” she said.
The poor girl seemed to have handed justice in her case over to God, whom she said would decide the fate of her tormentors at the appropriate time, stressing: “Well, whether they are punished here on earth or not, God will surely visit them with the appropriate punishment they deserve.”
Her tormentors, have been arrested and are facing trial. To start with, however, the three police officers – Cpl Paulinus Nwodom, Cpl Monday Nweke and Cpl Obinna Irondi who were suspected to be partakers in the dehumanising act, have been booted out of the force after facing orderly room trial.
They, together with the alleged masterminds of the sordid act, Ogbonnaya Ene Odii, his younger brother, Enekwachi Ene Odii and a third member identified only as Martins are already facing 10-count-charge bordering on abduction, torture, stripping and dehumanisation before the Okposi Magistrate Court.
The men were arraigned in court last Tuesday, and they pleaded not guilty to the charges.