Security operatives in Ebonyi state have launched a manhunt for Mr Uchenna Ani, a self-confessed narcotic drug peddler who tortured and chained his wife in his bid to secure release for his girlfriend on detention by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
Ani, who accused his wife, Ngozi of masterminding his girlfriend’s arrest, was said to have chained her to a pillar in their Ike Street, Abakaliki, Ebonyi state home on Sunday, July 26, 2020. This was after an hour-long assault and battery of the woman. He took the keys to the apartment away and his whereabouts remain unknown.
It took the intervention of the special assistant to Ebonyi state governor on security and utility [Capital City], Saint Nchekwube Anakor, with the help of a welder, to break in and free the woman.
The mother of four told newsmen that the ordeal was just one in a series of domestic abuses that defined their 16-year marriage. In tears, she said, “My husband is not a good person; he smokes a lot and womanises too. I didn’t realise all these because we didn’t date for even a single day before we married.”
The Ifitedunu, Anambra state-born Ngozi disclosed that her husband returned that Sunday night after a five-day absence from home and accused her of masterminding the arrest of his girlfriend, also a drug dealer and that “I was destroying his business, by constantly inviting NDLEA that has been arresting him for drug offences”, adding that she was an NDLEA informant and dated the agency’s officials and “collecting some percentage from the money they make after arresting him.”
“I was trying to sleep but he said I would not until I went and bailed his girlfriend from the NDLEA custody. He beat me, smoking Indian hemp as he did. He coughed severally and spat on my face. He later chained me to a pillar in our flat.”
Speaking on his mobile phone from a hideout, the suspect maintained his accusations against his wife about his girlfriend’s arrest and incarceration. He also alleged that he operated the narcotics business alongside his wife, adding “My wife reported me severally to NDLEA and always called me an armed robber and drug dealer. I am a drug dealer but not an armed robber.”
According to him, NDLEA officials searched his house and seized N850,000. “My wife told me that the drug people (NDLEA) said the money must be shared into two before letting me off. I argued that NDLEA searched my house but didn’t see any drug except my money. She said I had better cooperate with the agency as the operatives already knew I sold cocaine. I then agreed following which, shockingly, my wife brought back only N200,000″.
Ani blamed poverty for his inability to secure his own apartment during the marriage. “I have been living in her father’s house since we got married. My wife refused to bring money for our feeding and would always torment me because we live in her father’s house”, he claimed.
Ngozi, however, disclosed that her marriage to Uchenna had been frosty from the start due to his frustration over the wedding gift [a flat] from her father. “After our wedding in 2004, my husband said he was not happy with our marriage; that the wedding gift from my father was not enough for a first daughter. He said he needed something tangible, like landed property.”
“I pleaded with him to relax and that his character would attract more things to us from my father. My husband would not listen and remained embittered, going out of the house and returning any time he liked without letting me know his whereabouts. I didn’t know what to do but my father was a source of encouragement to me.”
According her, she “went through hell during her three pregnancies including the third one from which I delivered twins. Domestic violence has been going in my marriage; my husband beats me at will, inflicts injuries on me.”
The tension in the marriage played out when her brother-in-law sought her assistance to help his wife (her sister) who was heavily pregnant in South Africa. Her husband, initially, agreed to the request but later changed his mind.
“When I insisted on the trip, he moved out of our house and started living with his girlfriend. I accepted his decision and took my children to my sister’s place for safe keeping before I travelled.”
Uchenna, however, accused her of fleeing to South Africa with proceeds of the money he realised from his narcotic business. According to him, “I was selling Indian hemp and cocaine and, from the business, she got money and ran away to South Africa without my notice.
Because of this, I packed all the properties in our house. I told her she behaved the way she did because I lived in her father’s house.