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NBAWF condemns alleged killing of pregnant lawyer by husband

The Nigerian Bar Association Women Forum has condemned the alleged killing of a lawyer member, Adaeze Ikpeama, by her husband, Anthony.

The six-month pregnant Adaeze was allegedly beaten by her husband at their residence in Lagos on Saturday, which made her to lose consciousness and was immediately placed on oxygen on getting to the hospital.

The deceased’s colleague, Chukwudi Iwuchukwu, alleged that Anthony went to the hospital to remove the oxygen mask, which led to Adaeze suffering cardiac arrest and leading to her eventual death.

Iwuchukwu noted that the couple had been at loggerheads since they got married in 2014, adding that the COVID-19 lockdown made the abuse worse.

He said, “When Adaeze Destiny Ikpeama got married to Anthony Elvis Ikpeama in 2014, little did she know that the institution she looked forward to enjoying would cut her life journey short.

“Immediately the marriage was sealed, the man Adaeze got married to immediately turn into a beast by turning the Madonna University trained lawyer into a punching bag. Even when relatives from both sides intervened several times by pleading with Anthony to stop beating his wife, if not for anything, she was the mother of his kids and his partner, the man was obtuse as he continued to beat the poor girl any time he was not in a good mood.

“COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdown of staying at home made the domestic violence worse as it now became a daily ritual. Two days ago, another round of beating started and this time round, it was very intense, which eventually ended up with him taking her life.

“His focus was the tummy as he was punching her 6 months pregnant tummy with righteous anger and all the energy he could muster. He did not stop till she gave up and went into a coma. When Adaeze went into a coma and was rushed to the hospital by her good neighbours who came to her aid, Anthony followed them to the hospital and immediately she was admitted and oxygen was placed on her to resuscitate her, the husband went to her bedside and then removed the oxygen mask and that was how Adaeze suffered cardiac arrest and died.”

Iwuchukwu, stated that Anthony was arrested on Monday, and was granted bail by the police on the grounds that the couple’s children were too young to be left alone.

However, Iwuchukwu noted that Anthony was later re-arrested on Monday by policemen from the Zone 2 Police Command after public outcry about his release.

When contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, said the suspect was not released, as the case involved murder.

He said, “The man was not released; it is a murder case and it is not subjected to bail. The police do not have the power to release him on bail, not in that circumstance. As of yesterday (Monday), he was at the Ajah Police Station, and today (Tuesday), he was transferred to the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, Panti.”

The NBAWF, in a statement on Tuesday by its Head of Advocacy Committee, Folashade Alli, pleaded with the security agencies to investigate the matter and prosecute the man.

The statement read, “We are distressed to learn that the abuse by her husband was alleged to have gone on over the years. It is painful to know that our late colleague, an advocate, who holds the brief of others, had her life ended in such gruesome circumstances.

“To this end, we demand from the relevant security agencies that the circumstances leading to the death of our dear colleague be thoroughly investigated and the culprit prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

“We have also noted a rise in cases of domestic violence in our society at large. We, therefore, use this medium to call on our female lawyers to speak up and out on domestic violence issues using the platform of the NBAWF, so that such issues can be handled proactively.

“The NBAWF has put in place mechanisms and platforms to help female lawyers to protect themselves in such situations. We will work with the relevant security agencies, family members and friends of our late colleague to ensure that our colleague gets justice.”

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