One Jessica Obinomeh and her mother, Sandra, have drawn a battle line at an Ogba magistrates’ court, Lagos State, over lingering family issues.
Obinomeh alleged that her mother and siblings tortured her with a hot iron, compelling her to lie that her father raped her.
The plot, according to the 20-year-old woman, was meant to shame her father who is based abroad, and his extended family.
But the mother debunked her claim, saying that she was tortured for stealing N345,000 from her (Sandra’s) account.
Obinomeh said her mother wanted to get back at her husband for allegedly marrying another woman abroad.
In a petition dated January 27, 2020 and addressed to the Divisional Police Officer, Man Centre Police Station, Ikeja, Obinomeh stated that her mother in connivance with her (Obinomeh’s) brothers, held her in a room for days and declared her missing.
She stated, “Sometime in 2016, my mother and two brothers came to pick me from my school (a private varsity) under false pretences that my father was seriously sick and flown home from abroad. I was shocked but on getting home, I discovered it was a lie.
“The next day, my mother summoned all of us (her children) to the living room and announced to us that my dad was having some issues abroad with his wife and he would not be able to come to Nigeria for now. She said she was afraid that our stepmother might come to Nigeria and fight for our father’s property.
“She said our father’s family would support her (the stepmother) and they would throw us to the street. My mother said it’s me that can help the family and she told me to say my dad sexually abused me so that it will be a big shame on him and his family. I said I can never say such against my dad. My bothers supported my mother and they started forcing me and beating me while they tried to make a voice record of me. I was locked up in a room for almost a week and declared missing.”
Obinomeh explained that when her mother and siblings noticed she would not dance to their tune, they resorted to assaulting her. She said she surrendered because they threatened to kill her.
“My mother dragged me to herself, put my head in between her legs and held my hands. One of my brothers held my legs firmly why the other brought a hot iron and placed it on my back. The torture was too much that I agreed to do what they wanted.
“My mother told me what I must say so, so that nobody would know it was planned. They took me into the car in the compound and they started the recording. I lied to save my life,” she revealed.
She said after the recording, the family members refused to set her free because the injury on her back was fresh, adding that she eventually managed to sneak out and reported the case to her uncle. She stated that the uncle confronted her mother but she denied beating me.
“Two months after I ran away from home, my mother and brothers started calling me to console me over the death of my father. I was shocked because I wasn’t aware of my father’s death. My mother has already identified herself as a widow on Facebook but I later found out that my dad is alive.
“My mother and brothers are trailing me. I walk around in shame because my mother is spoiling my name. I want the government to bring my mother to book,” she added.
Following the petition, Sandra was arrested by the police, but she denied her daughter’s allegations, stating that the complainant was punished by her brother for stealing.
She explained that sometime in 2016, Obinomeh confessed to her that her father had been having sex with her. She said she was shocked, but she “didn’t react because the matter was really huge.”
Sandra said she had gone to the bank one day to withdraw money and was told her account was empty.
She said, “The bank printed a paper for me. In that paper, I saw transfers from my account to Jessica’s account to the tune of N345,000. It was then it dawned on me that all the while she came to my shop, she had taken my phone and transferred money from account to hers and then deleted the alerts.
“I was wondering if she was giving the money to men or using it to take drugs and I told my first son. I called her home and her brother gave her serious beating. She was not beating on the day she confessed to me her father was sleeping (having sex) with her.”
A police prosecutor, ASP Benson Emuerhi, consequently brought Sandra before the Ogba Magistrates’ Court on three counts bordering on assault and false accusation.
Emuerhi told the court that the offences contravened sections 168(D), 245 and 411 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State of Nigeria, 2015.
The charges read in part, “That you, Sandra Obinomeh and others now at large, on September 2, 2016 and January 14, 2020, at Ikeja Magisterial District, did conduct yourselves in a manner likely to cause breach of the peace, by falsely accusing one Miss Jessica Obinomeh of having carnal knowledge with her biological father.
“That you, Sandra Obinomeh, and others now at large, on the same date, time and place, in the aforementioned magisterial district, did conspire among yourselves to commit felony to wit, assault by placing a hot iron on one Miss Jessica Obinomeh.”
Sandra, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The presiding magistrate, Mrs O. Sule-Amzat, granted her bail in the sum of N20,000 with one surety in the like sum. The case was adjourned till March 4, 2020.