By Stephen Adeleye
Blessing Abbah, a woman subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment in Kogi, has commended the State Governor, Alh. Yahaya Bello for his swift response and intervention in coming to her aid.
NAN reports that Blessing Abbah, a widow was ridiculed, molested and exposed to inhuman and degrading treatment in a video that went viral, by a gang of youths in Ogugu community, in Olamaboro Local Government Area.
Some youths suspected to be from her in-laws’ family and the community, alleged that Blessing caused the death of her husband, Goodnews Abbah on account of infidelity and adultery.
Narrating her ordeal to newsmen at the Office of the Public Defender and Citizens’ Rights Commission (PDCRC) at State Secretariat Lokoja, Blessing expressed her utmost gratitude to the Governor for his timely intervention in coming to her aid through the PDCRC in collaboration with FIDA and the Kogi Ministry of Women Affairs.
”I want to appreciate and commend the effort of His Excellency, Governor Yahaya Bello, for his swift response through the office of the PDCRC, which collaborated with ministry of women affairs and FIDA to ensure that I get justice.
”I got married to my husband on October 31, 2020, after courting for about two years. Immediately after marriage, we moved to Abuja and lived together for about four months before he died in February.
”Shortly after our wedding, my husband fell sick and we first took him to several private hospitals before we were later referred to Gwagwalada Specialist Hospital where he was diagnosed of Hypertensive and other heart related and kidney diseases.
”Subsequently, my husband was ultimately diagnosed of dialysis which eventually resulted to his death”, she said.
Blessing further explained how she passionately loved her late husband and how she suffered with him due to family issues from her inlaws, sayng, ”I love my husband so much and married him out of love and not for any other reason”.
According to her, when my husband sickness persisted he was moved to the village by his brother, and on getting to the village they said it was a spiritual issue.
”When we get to the village they invited both of us to the village shrine, saying both of us had done some abominable things which we must confess.
”At the shrine, they consulted the oracle and I did all they asked me to do to proof my innocency and I came out clean, and it was left for my husband to do his own.
”But at that moment my husband’s family were not comfortable any longer since I came out clean, and they sent me and my mother away from their village in Oshi.
”At that point, they were already accusing me of many atrocities which were never true.
”Later that day in the evening, I received a call from a private number that my husband was dead, but none of his family member told me.
”While I was mourning my husband, his brother Richard came with some friends to my house to cause trouble, and threatened to beat my father up, but they later left when some people intervened.
”Shortly after, some armed men came to our house and kidnapped me after ridiculing me and do whatever they want, they pushed me into their car and drove me down to the market square.
”At the market square, they pushed me out of the car and accused me of killing my husband through adultery and they threatened to naked and kill me”, Blessing said.
She added that after she was subjected to all manner of inhumanity and degrading treatment at the market square, they took her back into the car and told her they were going to kill her and throw her body into the river.
She, however, said that she was rescued by a good Samaritan, who drove her back to her father’s house and advised her to run away from the village.
”I want to say thank you to the governor and all the human right agencies in the state for coming to my aid, because I was hopeless and helpless.
”I came from a poor background and my father is blind and aged, I don’t have anybody to fight for me. I thanked the governor for coming to my aid to ensure I get justice.
”Now, I feel more confident and more secured because I know I will get justice”, she said.
She added that the PDCRC in collaboration with Women Affairs Ministry and FIDA, had escorted her to the police headquarters to submit her petition and wrote her statement.
Blessing specially commended the Governor for the establishment of the office of the PDCRC upon which the intervention was taking place which would allow justice to prevail in the state.
”I have promised to make myself available whenever my attention is needed in the process of getting justice for me.
”Once again, I appreciate and commend the effort of the Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, for his swift response in order for me to get justice. I so much appreciate him and I will forever be grateful”, Blessing said.
Earlier while briefing the newsmen, Barr. Abdullahi Zakari, the Director General of PDCRC, said the briefing was an update on the previous press conference on March 17, 2021, when the Commission drew public attention to Blessing’s case.
”We drew public attention to the fact that whatever the cultural or traditional colouration about the incident, is not our concern.
”But our concern is the circumstances surrounding the abduction of Blessing and her subsequent exposure to all manner of ridicule and inhumanity which violated her human rights including right to dignity and privacy.
”Our message is very clear that it is no longer business as usual in Kogi State for persons to take laws into their hands or to be at the forefront of doing things that would violate the rights of any Kogi resident.
”What happened in Ogugu on that fateful day which went viral was with all intent and purpose a violation of Blessing Abbah’s rights.
”As an organization that is responsible for promotion and protection as well as enforcement of fundamental human rights, we will go all out to ensure that justice is done.
”We are not doing it alone but in collaboration with the Ministry of Women Affairs and FIDA to ensure that we work together and get justice for Blessing by bringing those perpetrators behind her ordeal to book wherever they may be”, Zakari reiterated.
The DG explained that the Commission had filed a formal petition with the police where some persons’ were listed as suspects in that infractions on Blessings’ rights.
He assured that they were convinced that the police would do the needful to ensure that those persons involved, pay dearly for their actions.
”We are also drawing the attention of the public to the fact that Blessing was not here during the last press briefing but today she has come from Lagos where she had treatment, to support the petition we wrote on her behalf and be part of today’s press briefing.
”She came to make statement to the police and to express her determination to ensuring that those behind her ordeal pay dearly for it.
”She also came to specifically thanked His Excellency, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, for his swift response and for continuing to work with her to see that she is truly rehabilitated, catered for, and encouraged”, he said.
Zakari further stressed that the PDCRC remained the State Government’s Agency responsible for not only ensuring the promotion, protection and enforcement of human rights of Kogi residents, but would also ensure that the less privileged in the state, have access to justice and legal aid free of charge.
”This is an indication that the right of every resident of Kogi State is sacrosanct, as the Commission has statutory powers to enforce same”, Zakari restated.
In her remarks, the Lawyer Attached to the Ministry of Women Affairs, Barr. Tina Ekele, said the Ministry was working in collaboration with PDCRC and FIDA to get justice for Blessing, and to protect any citizen whose rights might have been infringed upon.
Also speaking, the Chairperson of the Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) in Kogi,, Barr. Lilian Okolo, reaffirmed the commitment of women lawyers to ensure the culprits were brought to book to serve as deterent to others.