A Lagos-based human rights organization, Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre (RULAAC), and its counterpart in Enugu, South- East Nigeria, Civil Rights Realisation and Advancement Network (CRRAN) have called on the police to intervene in the ongoing alleged victimization and domestic war declared on an Enugu-based widow, Mrs. Annabel Moneke, by her late husband’s younger brother.
DAILY POST had earlier reported that Mr. Chukwuemeka Moneke, the widow’s brother-in-law, allegedly evicted the widow and her little daughter from her matrimonial home at Emene area of Enugu.
However, latest reports alleged that he physically assaulted the middle-aged woman last week and inflicted injuries all over her body.
A petition jointly signed by the Executive Director, of (RULAAC), Comrade Okechukwu Nwanguma, and president of (CRRAN), Barrister Olu Omotayo, made available to journalists on Tuesday in Enugu, said the intervention became necessary following recent threats to the life of the widow by Chukwuemenka.
The petition read thus: “We seek the urgent intervention of the Commissioner police, (CP) Enugu state, Amad Adurraham, in this case. It is a grave injustice to claim that a widow and her daughter cannot stay in her matrimonial home upon the demise of her husband.
“Such barbaric, gender-specific oppressive and discriminatory practice must be done away with in this modern age. Mrs. Annabel Moneke maintains that there is no iota of truth in the claim by Chukwuemeka, that her matrimonial home is a family property as all the documents relating to the property bear her late husband’s name.
“This joint petition becomes necessary in view of the beatings and grievous assault on Mrs. Annabel Moneke by Chimezie Moneke last Wednesday, though the widow said she reported to the Police investigators, but nothing was done to the assailant.
“We submit that the victimization, harassment and threat to the life of this poor widow and her daughter should be put to an end forthwith. We urge you, in the interest of justice, to guarantee the safety and property rights of Mrs. Annabel and her child and to ensure that they get justice as the circumstances of this case demands.”
They added that “There is no law in Nigeria that says upon the demise of a man his property automatically becomes family property and therefore the widow and her child must be forcefully removed from the property.
“Mrs. Moneke is being threatened, harassed, assaulted and has been grievously injured by Mr Chimezie Moueke in an unlawful bid to forcefully evict her from her matrimonial home built by her late husband Izuchukwu Okwudili Moneke, and where she and her daughter had been residing with her deceased husband until his demise in July 2019.
“It was so soon after Mrs. Annabel Moneke lost her husband on the 13th day of July 2019, after a brief illness that Mr. Chimezie Moneke started to harass her, asking her to vacate her matrimonial home situate at No. 1, Okwudili Moneke Crescent, Sunrise, Estate, Emene, Enugu, on the disputed claim that his deceased elder brother sold their fathers’ property to build the said house, therefore the building, a bungalow, is a family house.”
They hinted that “the deceased who was formerly resident in United Kingdom had 2 children namely Jesica Moneke (18 years) and Victoria Mouneke (15 years) from his previous marriage before he divorced his former wife and returned to Nigeria and married Mrs. Annabel Mouneke who has a daughter named Michelle Moneke with him
“Immediately after the burial of the deceased in his hometown Nawfia in Anambra State on the 5th day of December 2019, Mr. Mr. Chimezie broke into the Moneke home on the 7th December 2019, and took possession.”
The petition was also addressed to the Speaker of Enugu State House of Assembly, Hon. Edward Ubosi, and the State Commissioner for Gender Affairs and Social Development, Princess Peace Nnaji.
However, when contacted on the phone for his reaction, the accused brother-in-law to the woman, denied attacking her, saying “all she is saying are completely lies. Nobody beat her. Besides, she is not our late brother’s legal wife, rather she was his girlfriend.
“If she is saying that she is our late brother’s wife, I challenge her to produce the marriage documents. She also claimed to have had a daughter for our deceased brother, which is not true. Because of all these lies she is telling, our family has asked her to subject herself for a (DNA) paternal test, to ascertain if truly the girl she claims to be our brother’s daughter is indeed his blood.”