A Nigerian couple brutally beat their sister-in-law to stupor over suspicion that she was having an extra-marital affair.
The victim, Bela Omeneka, 29, began living with her husband's brother and his wife after she got married in 2016 to a man who lives in Amsterdam. Bela's husband, Felix Omeneka instructed her to move into his family’s house at 1, Maduafa street, off Chief Vincent Eze street, Ajao estate, shortly after they got married.
Bella said staying in the family’s house became uncomfortable following series of quarrels between her and her in-laws. It came to a peak on Saturday as she was beaten between 11 pm and 4 am by her brother-in-law, Kelly Omeneka and his wife, Mercy. The couple beat her so much that she had angry red and purple marks all over her body.
Bella narrated her plight to Vanguard, saying:
"The first attack on me occurred in May 2017, by Kelly’s wife, shortly after I started staying with my in-laws. But my mother-in-law intervened and said I should forgive her. My in-laws did not hide their dislike for me. When my husband visited, I complained to him but he pacified me to stay with them, saying he did not want me to live alone. Shortly after he left, I was attacked again. When I could not bear the attack and continued threat, I went to my elder sister’s place in Lekki.
"By December last year, Kelly told me to travel with them to the village but I declined on the ground that my husband was not around and also because I had an interview. He attempted to beat me but I left for my sister’s place out of fear. When my husband called, he told me to go back to where he left me and I obeyed and returned last Saturday to his family’s house."
On arrival, she stated that she observed that some of her personal belongings had been stolen. She said when she confronted Mercy, Kelly’s wife, a quarrel which degenerated into a fight ensued.
"During the fight, she called one of my brothers-in-law, Benjamin on phone. Benjamin, in turn, contacted Kelly to come and chase me out of the house. Immediately he arrived, he met his wife fighting me, he did not separate us. Rather, he went for a horse whip and started flogging me all over my body and at the same time, hitting me in the ribs. He said he would leave an indelible mark on the face I usually pose on Facebook and that he would also kill me.
"He accused me of bewitching his brother to the extent that he does not look at the face of another back in Europe. A member of the family called and instructed them to seize my marriage certificate so that I won’t have any vital document to prove that the union was legal. He also seized my phone and dragged me out of the building. All I could remember at that point was seeing an oncoming car approaching the direction he dumped me, as I passed out."
Concerned neighbours were said to have revived her but none of them could take the battered woman in, as she was left by the side of her in-law’s gate until 4 am. Bela said Kelly later opened the gate for her and ordered her to pack her things out of the housewhile accusing her of being promiscuous.
"He told me that they had a directive from their mother not to allow me in until I went to the village to swear an oath of fidelity. A concerned neighbour put me in a cab that took me to my sister’s place, from where I was rushed to the hospital"
Kelly Omeneka denied taking part in the battery when Vanguard contacted him. He insisted that the marks of brutality were inflicted on Bela by his wife while they were fighting. He, however, admitted to having pushed her outside, saying he acted based on his family’s decision.
"I am from Uromi, Edo state and it is a taboo for a married woman to have extramarital affairs. She left the family house for over one month without telling anyone where she went to. As it is, I am not expected to have anything to do with her so as not to fall a victim of the consequences of her action."
His wife, Mercy, a 2015 graduate of Criminology from the Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, admitted to having fought with Bela. She claimed that the fight was over an allegation by Bela that her fan was stolen from her room, while she was away.
All parties concerned were interrogated at the gender Unit of the Lagos State Police Command.