ENUGU, Nigeria (VOICE OF NAIJA) – One Albert Eligbue has been arraigned for allegedly forcing a widow, Mrs. Patricia Eligbue, to drink the water used in washing the corpse of husband’s nephew.
Eligbue is a native of Atani in Ogbaru Local Government Area of Anambra State.
The defendant, Eligbue who is also the brother-in-law of the widow, was arraigned on Thursday on five counts before the Children, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Court in Awka.
He, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The presiding chief magistrate, Genevieve Osakwe, said that since the offence was a bailable one, the court would consider the bail application for the defendant.
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The court thereafter, granted Eligbue bail in the sum of N500,000.
The Court mandated Eligbue to provide a reliable surety in the like sum, who must be either a traditional ruler of Atani, the Onowu, or the President-General of the Atani community, with two recent passport photographs, and a valid means of identification, among other requirements.
The defendant was remanded at the Nigerian Correctional Centre, Awka, and the case was adjourned further till 7 June, 2023, for hearing.
Meanwhile, a group of women rights activists staged a peaceful protest to condemn the unwholesome widowhood practice of forcing widows to drink the water used in washing the corpse of their husband in the Atani community of Ogbaru Local Government Area of Anambra State.
The women, who gathered at the Children, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Court Awka, Anambra State capital, on Thursday, held placards with inscriptions, such as: “Stop violence against women and girls in Anambra State”.
Others are: “Ogbaru men and women, allow our widows some peace”, “Stop all obnoxious laws and harmful widowhood practices in Anambra State,” among other inscriptions.
Speaking to journalists during the protest, the chairperson of Violence Against Persons Prohibition group in Anambra State, Miss Hope Okoye, said: “This peaceful demonstration is only a way to make the women’s voices to be heard, as well as a clarion call on the communities in Ogbaru to review the existing obnoxious traditions and expunge all forms of harmful practices against women and widows.
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“All well-meaning indigenes of Ogbaru and indeed, Anambra State, both at home and in the Diaspora, should lend their voices in speaking against every form of ill-treatment against women and widows, not only in Ogbaru communities but also in all parts of the state.”
Okoye urged the Anambra State Government, through the state’s Children, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Court, to protect women and widows in the state and ensure that justice was served on perpetrators of unpalatable widowhood practices against women and widows, irrespective of their social status.