A neighbour of the late gospel singer, Osinachi, Grace Nnaji on Thursday told an FCT Court in Abuja, that the singer on several occasions begged her not to report her husband, Peter Nwachukwu’s abuse.
Nnaji, who is a tailor, told the court that she met the singer when her husband approached her to make the wife a dress.
Nnaji while giving her testimony led by the prosecution counsel, Aderonke Imana said she became close to the deceased as her Aco Estate, Airport Road, Lugbe, Abuja shop and residence were close to the Nwachukwu’s house.
“The first time in 2014, when Nwachukwu brought her for her measurements, when they got to the house, he said, idiot come out for your measurements”.
Nnaji said she was shocked that it was his wife he referred to as an idiot.
She added that the deceased confided in her that the defendant was always hitting her at the slightest provocation.
”Ekwueme, as I used to call her, came to my shop one day with injuries on her daughter’s head and she told me that the defendant pushed her and the child into the wall”
”The daughter had a fever at the same time and I was the one that gave Ekwueme money to buy drugs from the pharmacy to give her daughter
“Another time she came and showed me injuries on her back and told me that Peter kicked her on her back with his leg and she slammed into the wall with her chest.
”One day she ran to my house at about 5am and said that the previous night she locked her door and he kicked it open with his leg and proceeded to hit her on her chest.
”She fell to the floor and remained there crying until she slept off”, Nnaji alleged
She further said the defendant was in the habit of locking his wife out whenever she went to church and she would be at the gate knocking for hours.
She said at times it will take the intervention of neighbours before she would be allowed in and that she slept in her house for two days, on one of the occasions he refused to allow his wife into the house.
She also testified that on one occasion he left her in church after a vigil night and while she was trying to find her way home, she was attacked by hoodlums who disposed her of her phone and bag.
”When Ekwueme got home and told him about the incident, he said you are lucky you were not killed as that will have been the best thing that could have happened to you” Nnaji alleged.
Nnaji equally said the defendant threatened that he was going to destroy the deceased’s reputation, kill her brother and that was the reason she was afraid to tell anyone about her ordeal.
Nnaji also said when she told the singer to report the abuse to the police, her family, church and also a human rights radio, she refused.
” When I told her that I was going to report to the church, she begged me not to, saying that her husband will change”
Speaking about when the deceased was ill, she said she had to sneak into her house to help her clean to avoid the defendant getting angry and complaining about an untidy house.
”Even when she was ill, she travelled for ministration and came back complaining about chest pain and she said she didn’t have money to treat herself
When the witness was asked about the defendant’s nature of his job for him to be at home always to beat the wife, she said, ”I asked Ekwueme, she told me that her husband was her manager and that he does not have any other job”.
The defence counsel, I. A Aliyu who was slated to cross-examine the witness after the prosecution was through, craved the indulgence of the court to adjourn until Friday.
The judge, Njideka Nwosu-Iheme, however, stepped down the matter until 2:30pm.
The News Agency of Nigeria ( NAN) reports that two former employees of the deceased testified for the prosecution on Wednesday and alleged that the defendant verbally and physically abused the late singer.
Nwachukwu is standing trial on a 23 count-charge bordering on domestic violence and culpable homicide and is accused of being responsible for the death of the late gospel singer who was popularly known for her song “Ekwueme”.
Nwachukwu has been remanded at the Kuje Correctional Facility since April after his wife’s death.