For not giving birth to a baby boy, life for 26-year old Christina Onwuliri, nee Amaefule, has gone sour orchestrated by her husband of four and half years, Mr Chukwuemeka Osmond Elihe Onwuliri.
Chukwuemeka is the second son and third child of late Professor Celestine Onwuliri and Professor Viola Adaku Onwuliri. The latter is the immediate past Minister of State for Education and Foreign Affairs.
Precisely on February 3, the marriage witnessed what may be called the final straw that broke the carmel’s back. On that fateful day, Christina, who had no iota of suspicion that her husband had a clandestine design to boot her out from the house, was shocked to see the sudden twist of events.
Narrating her ordeal to Friday Magazine at her father’s residence in Owerri, the Imo State Capital, Christina, struggling with emotions, related how she was kicked out of her matrimonial home by her husband, evidently acting on the influence of his mother, Prof Viola Onwuliri.
According to her, “they conspired and took away my two daughters, Sophia and Stephanie, three and two years of age respectively, and pushed me to the street on February 3 less than 18 hours after we arrived Nigeria from Canada.”
The embattled and embittered mother of two, who hails from Umuhu Okwuato Community in Aboh Mbaise Local Government Area of Imo State, said she was shocked and dumbfounded at what the former minister and her son, who are from Amuzi in Ahiazu Mbaise Local Government Area, were doing to her without recourse to the fact they are from the same clan. She alleged that though her travails in the ex-minister’s family began soon after her wedding, it aggravated with time before it climaxed on February 3, simply because she had not given birth to a baby boy.
“On February 3, I noticed the presence of Rev. Fr Jude Onuoha (a lecturer at the Federal University of Technology, Owerri), Mr Mike Iheanetu, (House of Assembly member representing Aboh Mbaise at the Imo State House of Assembly), one Mr Chidiebere Esogwa (a.k.a. Ina-ana), one Boniface (a.k a Bona), a driver by name Joseph, another driver, Paul and Mr. Pascal (a nephew in-law to Viola Onwuliri) and other men that I don’t know their names and then I noticed that my husband picked up a bag and was leaving the house without prior information.
“When I approached my husband to know where he was going to, to my greatest surprise he pushed me violently away from him and started beating me, he pushed me into a room and locked me up. While in the room, I overheard my husband, his mother, Iheanetu, Onuoha and the others taking my children away without my consent. I started screaming and was helpless but had no option than to start breaking the glasses and it was then that one of the drivers came and opened the door and I came out shouting for help. Then my children were nowhere to be found I then ran to my parents’ house barefooted.
“My husband and his cohorts confiscated all my academic documents such as WAEC certificate, first school leaving certificate, IELTs, Canadian version of my degree certificate, my degree certificate and secondary school transcript. All my travel documents; Ukrainian and Nigerian passport, Canadian permanent residential card, Canadian landing documents, my children’s American passports, their permanent resident cards, their Nigerian passports, Canadian landing documents, birth and baptismal certificate, my personal belongings such as clothes, shoes, jewelry, mobile phone, laptop and iPad.“
Christina, who recalled that she had petitioned the police in the state, regretted that the commissioner of police refused to attend to her complaint on the flimsy excuse that her case is a marital issue which the police cannot handle. She alleged that the action of the police lent credence to earlier boasts by her husband that they would deal with her and the Amaefule family without anyone saving them because of his mother’s status as an ex-minister.
She added that since the marriage was contracted in September 2014, her mother in-law has continually meddled into her nuclear family affairs. The fair complexioned lady, who hinted that she was working in the USA when she met Chukwuemeka and they agreed to marry, said she had to return to Nigeria to live in Port Harcourt after their wedding.
Recalling her sad experiences and unceasing physical assault and emotional torture while living with her husband in the Garden City before migrating to Canada in October 2014, Tina, as she is fondly called, narrated that the worst happened when “we went on vacation to Dubai. There, Emeka physically abused me and inflicted an injury that almost resulted in the amputation of the last toe of my right leg.’’
She pointed out that her husband, who was working with Schlumberger in Nigeria until 2014 when he lost his job and relocated to Canada on immigrant status, stayed in Canada without securing a job there until he tricked her into returning to Nigeria on February 2. In addition, the graduate of management, whose father is presently a lecturer at the Imo State University, Owerri, maintained that her husband also tortures her two daughters mercilessly hence her fears of what would be their fate now that he has taken them to ‘only-god-knows-where’. Of particular reference, she said is the incident of January 8, when Emeka allegedly hit Sophia on the face and her cheek got swollen.
Worse still, Tina remarked that she lost two pregnancies as a result of the serial beating and physical torture by her husband citing the case of October 2015 when she lost a three month old pregnancy. She accused her mother in-law of being behind her plight, saying her forceful ejection from the Onwuliri family residence in Owerri on February 3 by Emeka and others was merely acting the ex-minister’s script because she had earlier stated that “her son was not obliged to keep me in Canada or elsewhere in the world.”
She appealed to the Onwuliri’s to release her children to her and also called on relevant government agencies to intervene and save her, the Amaefule family and her two daughters from cruel treatment by her husband, his mother and their co-travellers.
Friday Magazine made several efforts to reach Prof Onwuliri for her reaction, but her line was switched off. However, the husband of the lady and son ofthe ex-minister, Chukwuemeka, when contacted on phone denied ever beating his wife or throwing her and her property out of the family house.
He also denied having custody of the children. Rather, he said, his wife, Christiana, left the home on her own volition with the children after damaging several properties in the house including windows.
“Let me first thank you, the Nigerian Pilot for contacting me to get my reaction to this marriage issue which my wife has been spreading all over the place. I want to tell you that all the things my wife said were blatant lies, no truth in them.
“For instance, my mother was not around when these things happened. She has no hand in the matter. Again, this matter is already before the Welfare and we have made several efforts to serve her with the letter of invitation from the welfare but she has refused to collect the letter.
“She is working together with her father in all she is doing. She left the house on her own. She planned it together with her father. You have done the right thing by placing the call to me to get my side of the story. My wife broke everything in the house before she left on her own volition.
“Nobody chased or pushed her out. Nobody beat her up as she claimed. Yes, her documents and other things are with me but we have tried several times to send them to her village but her people have each time destroy any vehicle we sent to her village, sometime they broke the windscreen. The police are aware of this matter. She is just telling lies to cover up her misdeeds,” he said.
However, in her counter reaction, Christiana insisted she was pushed out of the house and that her husband and the mother seized her belongings and children. Observers believe the truth of the matter will one day unfold.