| credits: Stephen Ukandu
According to THISDAY report, the Director of Administration representing the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources in the Board of the Abia State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission, Mr. Christian Onuoha, has been arrested by the police for the mysterious death of his 10-year-old housemaid. The victim, Anurika Ngwakwe, was allegedly found unconscious in Onuoha’s car in his house at World Bank Housing Estate, Umuahia, on Tuesday, before she was rushed to the hospital, where she was confirmed dead.
The father of the victim, Mr. Chinenye Ngwakwe, a security man with the state’s Ministry of Finance, told PUNCH he wanted justice for the death of his daughter. The 49-year-old said the wife of the accused, Precious, who is also a member of staff of the Ministry of Finance, had been mounting pressure on him to find a housemaid for the family.
Barely two months after the 10-year-old girl came and settled in her new home at World Bank Housing Estate, Umuahia, the capital city, she was allegedly raped to death by the head of the family, Mr. Chinedu Onuoha, a director in the ministry. Ngwakwe, a father of six said that he was shocked when his phone rang late in the evening of the fateful day of January 10, 2015, and Mrs. Precious Onuoha asked him to rush down to the hospital “and see what is happening to Anurika”.
“There was blood gushing out of her ears, mouth, private part and wounds on her body,” said Ngwakwe when describing the state in which he found his daughter at the hospital, adding that she was already lifeless. The sorrowful man said that though everything pointed to the fact that his daughter was raped to death, neither the hospital authorities nor the police have told him exactly what led to the death of his daughter.
“I want to know what killed my child. They have not told me,” Ngwakwe lamented.
According to him, Onuoha has laboured in vain to explain away the cause of the girl’s death. He said that the senior civil servant told him that the girl had entered the car and locked herself in and in the process of trying to come out of the car got herself injured and was taken to the hospital where she died. “He told me that I should forget it, that what happen don happen,” Ngwakwe said, adding that Onuoha even went to his car and disgustingly brought out a bottle of hot drink “which he offered me and asked me to drink and cool my mind. Those who know the suspect described him as a polygamist and a heavy smoker and drinker.”
Narrating the circumstances that led to his daughter's journey to Umuahia and eventually to her demise, Ngwakwe said that Mrs. Onuoha, who also works in the Ministry of Finance, had been pestering him to get a housemaid for her. According to him, it was on January 10, 2010 that he took Mrs. Onuoha and her husband to his village, Owo Ohafor in Obingwa Local Government Area, to pick the maid he had arranged for them.
However as fate would have it, Ngwakwe had taken the couple to his country home to greet his family before proceeding to the family where the maid was waiting for them. It was then that Anurika rushed out to greet her father and Mr. and Mrs. Onuoha immediately liked the innocent girl and asked her father to forget the maid he had in mind and instead allow them to take his daughter. The prospect of life in the city excited the little girl and she readily agreed to leave her family and eventually went to Umuahia with the Onuohas. It was her final good bye to her mother and siblings.
The Abia State Police Command is now investigating how Anurika came to die in gruesome circumstances allegedly in the hands of her master. The command's Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr. Geoffrey Ogbonna, who confirmed the incident, said that the suspect had been arrested and taken into custody while investigations had commenced to unravel the cause of the girl’s death. The state government yesterday [Mar. 19] reacted to the incident by announcing the removal of the suspect from the board of ASOPADEC and placed him on interdiction since he is a civil servant, pending the final determination of his culpability in the rape and murder incident.
Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Chief Anthony Agbazuere, told journalists that the government decided to follow due process in dealing with the issue, adding that since the suspect is a civil servant he has to be interdicted first and later dismissed if his guilt is finally established. He also said the Civil Service Commission had been directed to take further appropriate measures deemed necessary to punish the suspect in line with civil service rules.
“We’re grounded in law and we have to follow due process,” the information commissioner said, adding that every individual has a personal responsibility for their action and whoever commits any crime should be ready to face the law.
Meanwhile, the state chapter of International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) has waded into the death of the minor with a view to ensuring that justice is done. Assistant Secretary of Abia FIDA, Florence Egwuonwu, told journalists that FIDA decided to wade into the matter because the victim involved was a minor and her rights had been violated, adding that they would not only ensure that an autopsy is carried out, but also follow the case in court.