The 61-year-old mother of the late gospel singer, Osinachi Nwachukwu, Madam Caroline Madu and the deceased’s sister, Favour Madu, have insisted her widower, Peter Nwachukwu, was responsible for her death.
They accused Nwachukwu of maltreating his late wife and allegedly preventing her from freely relating to and assisting her samplings and parents.
They spoke while testifying as prosecution witnesses in the trial of Nwachukwu before a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in Wuse Zone 2, Abuja.
Led in evidence by the prosecuting lawyer, Mrs Aderonke Imana, Madam Madu, who testified as the first prosecution witness, said the defendant’s claimed to be an evangelist when he came for her daughter but turned out to become somebody else.
Madam Madu, who spoke in Igbo with her testimony translated by two translators, said: “Peter came to steal my child. He told me that he is an evangelist. That was why I gave her my child. He used to beat my child like a carpenter would beat wood.
“When she was pregnant, she used to beat her. I was begging her to come and see me. Her husband did not allow her to visit me and she would not come for the fear that her husband will kill her.
“Another thing her husband told her was that if she did not go alive, she will go in death. When she told me, I told her it was better to come back alive.”
Madam Madu added at a point said she sent one of her daughters, Favour Madu “to go and bring her. When they brought her back, she stayed with me for in Enugu a year and three months. But her husband came with some pastors to come and beg Osinachi to follow him back. I begged my daughter not to go back since her husband had said if she does go alive, she will go in death.
“My daughter said what God has joined together, no one should put asunder, that she has married him and she is willing to live with him. When she went back, her husband started maltreating her like he used to do but shame did not allow her to tell me.”
Madam Madu, who on some occasions, became emotional, further told the court that when Osinachi had her third child, the deceasaed called her and complained that she was hungry and needed help.
In response, the witness said she bought foodstuff and sent them through one of her children – Chibuzo, who delivered them to Osinachi in her matrimonial home in Abuja.
“When I gave Chibuzo food to his sister in Abuja, he only stayed for four days. He started crying. Chibuzo said the in-law, Peter Nwanchukwu did not allow him to rest, he was always disturbing him,” she said.
Madam Madu added the only ailment her late daughter had was ulcer, which she claimed was because her husband denied her access to suffecient food.
She said until her daughter’s death, she did not set her eyes on her children because her husband prevented them from visiting her.
She said she only visited them once when she was sick in all the 14 years of the marriage.
Under cross-examination by the defence lawyer, Isa Aliyu, Madam Madu said she did not know if her late daughter had any other medical conditions outside ulcer and all she said about the frosty relatioship betwen Osinachi and Peter was from her interaction with the late singer.
Favour, who testified as the second prosecution witness, claimed the way her husband maltreated her sister led to her death.
She added: “He treats her like an animal, beats her anyhow and did not allow her to associate with us as a family.
“We call him Manager because he was controlling everything the wife had. She could not relate well with me because of her husband,” the witness said.
Under cross-examination, Favour said she was unhappy with the defendant because of the way he treated his late wife and prevented her from helping her parents and siblings.
As the witnesses testified, the defendant, who sat on the dock a few meters away, would shake his head intermitently in reaction to the witnesses’ claims.
On two occasions, the defendant rose to his feet and sought the court’s permission to be allowed to ask to Favour some questions, a request Justice Njideka Iheme-Nwosu declined, noting that having engaged a lawyer, he should allow his lawyer to conduct his case.
When the defendant rose the second time, the judge told his lawyer to caution him, following which Aliyu assured Nwachukwu that he would have the opportunity to state his case in the course of the proceedings.
The trial has been adjourned till 12 noon on Tuesday.
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