Enduring a long-term abusive marriage can be quite exhausting, as a result of the huge emotional cost and constant fear of physical assault.
Since the news broke of the unfortunate death of celebrity gospel music star, Mrs Osinachi Nwachukwu, from pulmonary ailments penultimate Friday, the horrors she endured in her marriage of roughly 10 years to Peter Nwachukwu from Ukpor community in Anambra state came to light.
In many quarters, it is believed that her death was due to excessive beating and other inhuman treatments by her husband.
As a member of the Dunamis International Gospel Centre (DIGC) which is headquartered in Abuja, Osinachi led worship ministrations across national and international platforms.
However, the ugly story of her toxic marriage has challenged both the culture of silence in most abusive marriages and the doctrine of divorce in church circles.
With Osinachi’s husband now in security custody for allegations of culpable homicide related to her death, many people who knew the couple closely both as worshippers in DIGC and as a private family share some of their exclusive experiences with the Nwachukwus.
Pastor Paul Enenche of DIGC, amongst others have weighed in on the basic dilemma faced by many women who seem trapped in very abusive marriages.
When 38-year-old Glory was told about two weeks ago that Osinachi, her bosom friend, had began experiencing severe chest pain, little did she know that it was the beginning of the health challenge that would claim her life.
At the onset of the sickness, no one in Osinachi’s close circle, including her younger brother who resides somewhere in Lugbe district of Abuja, could figure out what the severe chest pain that was linked with her vomiting blood was all about.
In what seemed like a cruel oddity, the late singer’s husband was focused mainly on denying Osinachi’s family members as well as her friends from having access to her while on the sick bed.
Nevertheless, after several efforts to see Osinachi in the hospital, Glory was finally allowed to meet her friend at the National Hospital in Central Business District of Abuja in her final days on earth.
Since April 8, 2020 when Osinachi transited into the beyond, recounting the sad experiences she endured in marriage has not been easy for her friends and family.
Sharing the singer’s ordeal with Saturday Vanguard, Glory alleged, “Osinachi’s husband sometimes poured a full bucket of cold water on her while she was deeply asleep.
“Osinachi told me that he (husband) threatened her that she would die and he would marry another wife. He called her an imbecile. He even told Osinachi’s twin sister that he was going to separate them. He called Osinachi a pig (smelly dirty woman) publicly.
“When we went for music ministration and programmes, Peter would put the children on dry fasting from morning till evening. He would wake them up by 2:00am to pray for eight straight hours while he himself would be fast sleeping. And if they dared sleep off, and he caught them, he would flog them as well as their mother.
“One of Osinachi’s sons has about 25 scars on his back from the strokes of cane which are testimonies of how he manhandled the children. Another of their sons bears 12 cane scars on his own back.
“He monitors them excessively. If not going to church or school, these children don’t leave the house.”
Why Osinachi didn’t open up
Glory admitted that some of the late singer’s friends were aware of her marriage predicament but somehow could not do much to help her situation.
She said: “Osinachi’s husband used to lock me out of their house when I went visiting. He told me to my face that he didn’t want to see me in their house
“He was fond of spitting on her head and face to show his feelings of disgust towards her, but in spite of all the humiliation, Osinachi did not cry out for help.
“One day, she told me that there were three reasons she didn’t want to leave the abusive marriage.
“First, Osinachi said she didn’t want to be the reason people would curse God. Two, she believed divorce was unacceptable to God. Three, she didn’t want whenever, she was ministering people would who gossip her situation as a woman who couldn’t keep her marriage and then undermined her service to God.”
Osinachi was simply avoiding stigmatisation.
Peter Nwachukwu’s secret marriage
While Osinachi and family may have been oblivious that her husband was previously married, because he kept the truth away from them, a close friend of the family said he knew about the mess since 2012, but didn’t mention anything about it to the late gospel music celebrity.
“Peter had said something to me about his first marriage in 2012, but I couldn’t tell if Osinachi was aware of that union,” the family friend said.
Asked why he kept the secret away from Osinachi, the source said: “I didn’t know how she would react. Peter told me that his first marriage was so terrible. That was when I came into Dunamis newly at the Area 1 church in Garki. Till date, he never said anything more to me about that union. It was only yesterday, I now recalled how he gave me the hint a long time ago.”
‘I reported Osinachi’s husband to police because he was celebrating her death’ —Concerned resident
Meanwhile, a concerned resident of Abuja, who spoke in confidence, during his visit to Nwachukwu’s house in Aco Estate Abuja, revealed why he invited policemen to arrest Peter Nwachukwu after his wife’s death.
The man, who is married to one of Osinachi’s close friends, said Mr. Nwachukwu was arrested by the police in his house, because he drew suspicion upon him when he started paying more attention to the serving snacks and drinks to people who came to mourn with him.
“When I heard that he was in the house celebrating and consoling other people, I was mad and said ‘No’ this can’t be happening. Something is amiss.
“I quickly recalled that when Osinachi’s twin sister came around last two weeks, we all went to the hospital to visit Osinachi, Peter walked his wife’s twin sister out of the ward. Even when my own wife was praying for Osinachi, he kept telling her to cut the prayer short.
“But, he is now begging (for mercy) at the police station. The man started trying to confess, because now he has said it was no longer cancer of the throat that killed his wife.”
“Osinachi’s husband served Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu (former Anambra Governorship candidate), who has maintained that he is not interested in supporting any act of violence, and had repeatedly warned him to desist from abusing women.”
How I would have handled Osinachi’s predicament —Pastor Enenche
Pained by Osinachi’s unpleasant marital experiences, her pastor, Dr. Paul Enenche of Dunamis Gospel International Centre Abuja, insisted that justice must be done in the case over her untimely death at 42 years.
The cleric said he will do everything humanly possible to ensure the speedy dispensation of justice in Osinachi’s case. He also applauded security agents for launching an investigating into the case..
He said, “Justice will be done. The full weight of the law. Whatever may be the mystery behind Osinachi’s death will be unraveled. Whoever is responsible for her death, man or woman, will be exposed and justice shall be done. Osinachi’s life cannot be wasted just like that. I am sure the police is investigating.
“It is a loss on the side of the devil. Whatever be the balance of the mystery of this whole situation, we ask that God unravels it. We speak peace in the atmosphere.”
Enenche was visibly dismayed by the revelation of Peter Nwachukwu’s first marriage which he carefully concealed from Osinachi and her family for over a decade.
In candour, Pastor Enenche said he was not aware of the day-to-day abuses the late gospel music celebrity endured in her turbulent marriage.
Shocked when he was informed of Peter’s leaked photographs that capture his white wedding with a woman who is not Osinachi, he queried: “Which picture? What are you people talking? Peter married a first wife and nobody knows? I am about to cry now. Osinachi is not aware of this? This is a total mess. (The union with Osinachi) was not a marriage.
“Why? What is this? Man married before in church with a child and then got into another marriage and beating the wife? One beating was enough, if not too much. Jesus Christ! Why didn’t you tell me? These information are coming a bit too late.”
The Pastor said that he would have dissolved the marriage, if he had been made aware of Osinachi’s terrible ordeal in the hands of her husband.
According to him, “Sister Sharon told me about her sister who was in a violent relationship whom I didn’t know and have never met. I told her ‘Tell your father and mother to go and pick her up.’ They went and did so under 24 hours.
“I sent them airfare and told them to meet me. I said to them ‘It is better you’re alive than to live in a marriage you will die needlessly.’ My wife reminded me that if I could do that for someone I have never met, how much more for Osinachi?
“The only thing compulsory in life is to make heaven. Marriage is not compulsory. It is better to be alive and not be married than to be married and die unnecessarily.
“If you find anyone in this situation bring them out you don’t need their permission. I once told an abusive husband that with the way he was maltreating his wife that I may one day ask her to leave the marriage, and personally wed her, if she wants to remarry and stand by her to show the world that domestic violence is not acceptable. That was what eventually calmed the situation.”
Enenche’s last words with Osinachi
The clergyman also recalled his last conversation with Osinachi a day before she died, when he told her she would travel out of the country with him for ministration.
“She was healthy and very okay on Thursday. We spoke everyday. I told her, ‘You will go with me to Cameroon.’,” Enenche said.
In describing the late gospel artiste, he said though Osinachi may have struggled to stay in the marriage as most terribly abused women do, Enenche noted that the singer never allowed her situation to dampen her faith in God or deter her from making an impact in life.
He said, “We appreciate God for the life she lived. Some people live and pass out of this life without any impact. Nobody remembers them for anything. We thank God for the quality of life that Osinachi has lived. We thank God for the global impact all over the world. We appreciate God, because this impact cannot die. She has passed on to eternity, but this impact cannot die.
“Above all, thank God also for the children she has left. They are a representation of her to the next generation. Thank God for her sister for the mantle shall remain in this family.
“The anointing cannot die. All he children can sing like her. It is the devil that will pay for Osinachi’s death. The children will be liberated and the anointing will be multiplied.”
Also reacting to Osinachi ugly marital experience, a renowned Catholic priest at Christ the King Church in Kubwa district of Abuja, Fr. John Chinenye Oluoma a.k.a. Fada Oluoma, advised members of the public undergoing spousal abuse not to wait until their cases become too critical or late before quitting the union.
He gave the advice while stressing that there’s nothing godly, pious or Christian about women remaining in a marital union with men who beat them mercilessly and put their lives in danger.
In a Facebook post he made recently, Fada Oluoma wrote: “In one of the parishes I worked, a woman always came to me with bloodied nose and swollen face, fatal decoration from the man she called her husband. It was always a dilemma counseling her because I could see her helplessness. The next thing she feared more than loosing her life to her beastly husband was actually losing her marriage to him. To worsen her case, she didn’t have anything doing economically.
“Long story short, I finally convinced her to run for her life, after receiving more bouts of life threatening beatings. I paid for her transportation to her Uncle’s house. After two weeks, she came telling me that the man called and begged her to come back, she was obviously looking for my approval for her chicken hearted and Lilly livered disposition. In my magnanimity, I chased her back to her uncle’s house.
“After some months, the man went to beg. When I was consulted, I told the uncle to give the man two major conditions: One. Empower the woman economically. Two: Deposit an undertaken never to beat her with the police and the uncle.
“Death in marriage by the hand of an abusive spouse is avoidable, don’t honor it. We all woke up to the sad news of the death of Osinachi, a gospel singer, famously known for the song EKWUEME. Suddenly, the cause of her death started filtering. I’m now reading that she died from injuries from violence by her husband.
“The news going round now is that she was enduring this violence for years. So, her death, for me, was avoidable. Whatever made her to stay in that marriage despite constant life threatening violence CAN NEVER be godly.
“There’s nothing pious and righteous about enduring life threatening violence till death. The Bible never says “Blessed are those who are killed by their husbands or wives, for theirs is the kingdom” nope, it rather says “Blessed are you when men persecute you and speak all kinds of calumny against you on my account, rejoice and be glad for your reward will be great in heaven” Mtt 5:11-12.
“If spousal violence is the cause of Osinachi’s death, she won’t be the first, I don’t know if she will be the last, but I hope her’s will help in the liberation of many women in such situation.
“The Catholic Church has no place for divorce in marriage, it’s not a lexicon in catholic sacramental theology. Yet, there’s separation and dissolution. Separation is allowed when the life of any spouse is realistically threatened. It’s called SEPARATION FROM BOARD AND BED.
“So hear me once more, run away from the spouse that wants to kill you by any means, run for your life. Some women find it difficult to run because the man is their only source of sustenance, this is why Osinachi’s case befuddles me. She was a celebrity, so I don’t think she couldn’t cater for herself or kids in the event of separation, if the story is true.
“I repeat, there’s nothing godly, pious or Christian about staying with a man who beats you mercilessly and puts your life in danger. God can save you miraculously from accident, armed robbers, bandits etc but you see a violent husband or wife, you have to save yourself: RUN.
“Ladies, get a job or career or trade, just have something doing for a living, marriage is not employment or social welfare for jobless women. You will need it. If your husband is financially buoyant and negotiates with you to stay off work for the sake of raising your children, that’s fine by me, but insist on him paying you a reasonable amount you fix in an account for as long as you stay home for the kids, E get why.
“May the soul of Osinachi and the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God rest in peace
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