Abia State Police Command has arrested a 48-year-old man, Agbuagwu Augustine, and his son, Chigozie, for allegedly flogging his teenage daughter to death, in Umuobiala, Isikwuato Local Government Area of the state.
The deceased, 18-year-old Uzoamaka, fourth child in a family of eight, was a Senior Secondary School, SSS, 3 student of the Queen of Apostles Catholic Church school, Umuobiala.
She was also among four female students who had been on scholarship sponsored by a United States of America-based Nigerian, identified as Winson Tinubu, since 2018.
Vanguard was informed that the suspects allegedly beat the deceased on December 4, 2023, and, in the process, broke her spinal cord.
She was said to have been unable to go to school for close to a month and was never taken to the hospital for treatment, until her demise.
Speaking with Vanguard from his Miami, Florida abode in the US, her benefactor, Tinubu, called for discreet investigation into the matter, wondering what offense she could have committed that warranted the magnitude of beating that led to her death.
According to him: “I have been very happy with the arrangement I have in Abia. The four girls were admitted to a good school – Queen of Apostles Catholic School in their village of Umuobiala. I would remit their school fees and other payments through my friend Kathy, (who had since relocated to the U.K) and her family in Nigeria.
“The money for school fees, school uniforms, books and other miscellaneous items for four pupils was a small fortune in the local currency, but not much when I sent it in dollars. In fact, this year (2024), there are plans to add four more students.
“In return, I get frequent photos and videos of the girls and their exam report cards. I was a very proud ‘father,’ and it gave me an immense feeling of satisfaction. I could not wait for these young ladies to grow up and be able to pass this gift to others. Their WAEC exam was coming up. Everything was working out perfectly. I could never have imagined what had happened.
“On the morning of January 17, 2024, I received a text from Kathy in the U.K saying that Uzoamaka was sick. She had been beaten so severely by her older brother and as a result, was paralysed down one side of her body and bedridden.
“Apparently, it happened three weeks earlier. They found out because the principal had visited her home to find out why she had been absent from school for so long.
“Uzoamaka’s family had not taken her to the hospital nor obtained any form of help, leaving her to languish at home. My first response was that it was a Police matter. To be beaten up to the point of paralysis was nothing to be taken lightly. At the same time, my friend’s mother was on her way to visit the principal of Uzoamaka’s school, to see if they could use his vehicle to transport her to the hospital.
“I was informed that a delegation, including the school principal, arrived at Uzoamaka’s house and met with Uzoamakas’s father, mother and brother (the same brother that assaulted her).
“They claimed they did not seek medical attention because they could not afford it. Uzoamaka was lying on the bed. She could not move or respond in any way. We had been told earlier that she was paralyzed down one side of her body, but she could barely even move her other supposedly good arm.
“It later emerged that her spine was broken. No explanation was given for the beating. At this time, however, emphasis was on getting care for the victim and not getting answers to obvious questions. The school principal gave the money Uzoamaka would have used to pay for her upcoming WAEC exam to Uzoamaka’s family to take her to hospital.
“After taking the money, the concerned delegation was asked to leave, as the family said they would take care of the situation. When they informed me of their response, I was skeptical as they had made no previous attempt at getting medical attention or seeking funds to do so. I believed they knew they would be questioned at the hospital and wanted to keep it hush-hush. Nevertheless, they assured everyone she would be taken care of, and the school principal left.
“About two hours later, the principal received a phone call from Uzoamaka’s family that she was dead.
“Nothing has been done to date. No police. No autopsy. The father insisted the Police should not be involved. I cannot accept that this child, who could be my child, would just die a senseless death and nothing is done about it,” he stated.
However, Vanguard gathered that some people in the community reported the matter to the Police at the Ovim Police Division, Isikwuato, Local Government Area of the state, following which the deceased father and his son were arrested.
However, in his statement, the father claimed that he only attempted to discipline her.
Her brother, a tricycle operator, explained, “I saw my younger sister and her friend in the company of two boys, inside a vehicle, on December 4, 2023. When I asked where they were going, she said they were going to repair their phones. I told them to come down from the vehicle and go home.
“On reaching home, I asked if she told our father that she was going out. I collected the phones from them and discovered they were not faulty as claimed. She came and dragged the phones from me and I beat her.”
He could, however, not state what was used to hit his deceased sister. Asked why she was not taken to the hospital, his father said there was no money .
Spokesperson for the Abia State Police Command, Maureen Chinaka, confirmed the arrest of father and son.
She said: “The arrest was made by the Divisional Police Station, Isikwuator and that the matter had been transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department for discreet investigation, “while the corpse was deposited at the morgue. We will give more updates and as the investigation continues