Mrs Amarachi Okechi, the woman who was repeatedly flogged, violently abused and held hostage for several days at Umueghu Amaegbuato community in Nkpa, Bende Local Government Area of Abia State has been rescued and taken to an undisclosed public hospital for treatment this afternoon.
In the video which trended over the weekend, youths in the community took turns to flog Mrs. Okechi who was allegedly accused of “witchcraft” by a relative.
The incident has gathered national condemnation.
Meanwhile Chief Press Secretary to the Wife of the Governor of Abia State, Mr Chika Ojiegbe who made news of the woman’s release public said “the First lady Mrs Nkechi Ikpeazu is particularly thankful to the member representing Bende South, Emmanuel Ndubuisi, the Bende LGA Chairman and his wife Mrs Leticia Onwuchekwa, as well as the traditional ruler of the area, for the role in successfully extricating the woman from the volatile area”.
“When the First Lady Nkechi Ikpeazu heard about it last night, she immediately swung into action to rescue the woman. In Abia we have a robust mechanism for responding to cases of gender based violence put in place by the First Lady, no matter how severe a case, it is treated individually according to its circumstances.”
“Several stakeholders were involved in securing the woman alive which is the first action that needed to be taken. This has been done. Now the next stage will be to address the issues surrounding the matter. The law enforcement agencies have been duly notified and have commenced appropriate investigations.”
“The allegations of witchcraft are strange to laws of the land. What is known to law is that no one can take laws into their hands to execute jungle justice. The law will take its course. The case will be closely monitored. Meanwhile the First Lady is picking up the hospital bills of the woman as treatment has commenced in earnest at the hospital. A team from the Gender Based Violence Resource Centre, Office of the Wife of Governor in Umuahia who were part of the rescue are also monitoring her health. I will give you updates as soon as they happen”
“Incidences like this are not welcome in Abia. Mrs Nkechi Ikpeazu has done so much in this regard. She was able to get the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Law passed and effectively functional in Abia State. She has repeatedly been to the House of Assembly to push for the passage of the proposed Obnoxious Widowhood Practices Prohibition Law, equal opportunities law, child rights law, disability law and many other human rights bills and the Assembly is working vigorously on passing these bills. Many institutions and structures have been put in place at the state, local government and community level which were called into play in this case to protect the woman. So Abia is very responsive, top three in the country in GBV response. This lead to a special award by the United Kingdom Government conferred on the First lady for her work.”
“Mrs Ikpeazu will continue to work to prevent and mitigate such violence against humans and to sensitise the people against such traditionally harmful acts, even in rural communities”