Chinedu Okafor (not the real name), a middle-aged man from Umukwa village, Awka in Awka South local government area of Anambra state narrowly escaped public flogging and heavy fines on Thursday for allegedly trying to deceive his kinsmen about one of his children.
His late wife,Ngozi, was recently delivered of the baby boy before she developed post-natal complications from which she, unfortunately, died.
In the course of burial rites for Chinedu’s wife, a staff member of a federal agency in Anambra state, the widower incurred the wrath of his kinsmen.
It was gathered that trouble started when kinsmen and guests who gathered for the funeral and interment of the deceased discovered that the widower had lied to his kinsmen and those of his late wife (his in-laws) that the child delivered of the late wife had died in the course of the delivery.
Hell was let loose when, following serious interrogation by the elders and youths of the community, Chinedu later admitted that he handed over the two-week old baby boy to his mother for protective custody.
Amidst catcalls and rain of abuses, angry relatives and youths insisted
that the late wife could be buried only on the condition that Chinedu produced his children for the two families to see.
A vehicle was quickly dispatched to fetch the children in question – a daughter and the two-week-old baby.
Pandemonium, however, set in when a vehicle conveying the two children drove into the funeral venue as both elders and youths broke down in tears, with many wondering why the widower decided to hide the identities of his children from his kinsmen and in-laws after the death of their mother, his wife.
As the children were ushered in, the youths descended on Chinedu, dragged him out for instant trial and charged him with deception and refusal to comply with communal traditions. In a dramatic swift, the widower was sentenced to 24 lashes of the cane with an option of N50, 000.
As he was being dragged to a public arena for the public flogging, daughters of the villagen(umuokpu), led by their leader, intervened and prevailed plaintively on the youths for leniency. Following the mitigation plea by the usually revered daughters (umuokpu) of the widower’s family, the 24-lash penalty was waived and the fine for his deception was reduced to N20, 000, though not without a few fiery slaps from the youths of the village.