It was not until the sudden death of one of Nigeria’s gospel artists, 42-year-old Osinachi Nwachukwu, that the world came to realize that the singer who rose to fame through her song ‘Ekwueme’, which thrust her into the limelight with 71 million views on YouTube, had been having it so rough and tough in the hands of her husband cum manager, Peter Nwachukwu, a Pastor with the Dunamis International Gospel Church, Abuja.
The late Osinachi was the lead singer at the Dunamis Church before her demise.
The cause and the nature of her death have become controversial as the initial report had it that she died of throat cancer, after days on life support at an Abuja hospital. But one of her closest friends, Frank Edwards came out to open the can of worms to reveal that Osinachi did not just die but suffered till her last breath due to continued battery and domestic violence from her husband.
Frank Edwards wrote on his verified Facebook account, “So that unreasonable human being finally out off a shining light. I won’t say much now, I’ll let the former NDDC director [AUNTY Joy] who did everything possible to stop this from happening talk 1st, but it still happened. We tried to stop this,”.
Timescape Magazine reports that a few days after Edwards’ revelation, family members’ testimonies also pointed to the fact that Osinachi had indeed been enduring tough times with her husband years before death came calling. She had also been severally advised to divorce the husband to free herself from the predicaments.
One of the elder sisters of the late Osinachi said her sister died as a result of a cluster of blood in the chest from the kicking she allegedly got from her husband.
“She did not die of cancer. The husband, Peter Nwachukwu hit her with his leg on the chest. All this while, he had been beating her, but my sister hid all that she was passing through from us.
“Before now, we told her to come out of the marriage, we told her that they are not divorcing, that it’s just separation. But she felt that God is against divorce.
“We told her that separation is not a sin but just for her to stay alive and take care of her children. She would always tell us to relax that the man will change,” said Ms. Favour Made, who wanted the authorities to ensure that her sister did not die in vain.
Nigeria’s Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen issued a statement that the Federal Government is interested in the case and would ensure justice for the late gospel singer whom she described as one of Nigeria’s finest gospel artists.
“It is now truly obvious that violence knows no class or creed. It could have been that she cried out to her Church or Pastor or friends or family, but all she got was “it is well” and now that the inevitable has happened, they are speaking out. It is not well if we carry on with the traditional ways of sweeping bad behaviour under the carpet.
“In Nigeria today, Domestic Violence is a crime under the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act (2015). The Federal Government of Nigeria and the States have declared zero tolerance to Gender-Based Violence. And so, the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs under my watch will prosecute this matter to get justice for Osinachi. It is obvious that her children also need psychosocial support to heal from this trauma if it is true that their father will go the whole length of tying her up and asking the children to flog her with a cane. This is unbelievable and must be condemned,” the Minister said.
Nigerians have continued to react to the cruelty that saw the untimely death of the celebrated singer.
Many are suggesting that the singer was supposed to have divorced her husband long ago to save her life from domestic violence.
How can a celebrated gospel singer allow herself to be subjected to untold suffering in the name of staying married? How on earth could Pastor Peter Nwachukwu choose to be violent at home while he preaches tolerance and the importance of peaceful co-existence from the pulpit?
“I think the Church needs to redefine this concept of ‘for better and for worse,’ marriage is for the living, and only the living can enjoy marriage. Take to your heels when your life is in danger. Don’t die in silence when your life is in danger,” says Martins Chukwulobe Udoagwa.
Bishop Irabor Wisdom of Answers’ Assembly, Warri, Delta State, speaking on the issue of divorce in the face of continuing brutality from one of the partners in the holy union said that:
“In trying not to be seen as encouraging divorce, we actually encourage death. If I may ask, between stay and die or leave and be alive, which one is better? Between divorce and death, which one is better? So, it is better to leave in peace than rest in peace. I think only a fool will choose death over divorce.
“The first time a married woman or man hears the word, ‘I will kill you’ from the mouth of the partner, is the day the marriage should end because out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.
“If your husband is going into the occult world to start eating and dining with the devil and demons, and as his wife, you are told that you must join him or you die if you are not a member of that cult, do you join him and become God’s enemy? Or you divorce him to preserve your soul for eternity with God?”
Corroborating Bishop Wisdom, the Overseer of God’s Assembly in Lagos, Pastor Emeka Agu wants Christians to be spiritually wise in dealing with issues of domestic violence as God doesn’t premise marriage institution as the altar of sacrifice to death.
“The case of this young woman, who was so gifted to the glory of God, is so pathetic. She kept her ordeals to herself just to preserve her marriage even to her own detriment that eventually led to her death. Her husband did not have the same spirit as she did, meaning we should always allow God to guide us in whatever we are doing. We should be able to discern the moment we need to move on if the situation demands it,” Pastor Agu commented.
“How can we reconcile the marriage vows of ‘for better for worse till death do us part’ with what people are passing through in the name of holding on to marriage vows? I don’t think it makes any sense. If separation is what can help preserve life, so be it, rather than staying in a marriage of inconvenience and get yourself killed,” says Ruth Edohor, a marriage counsellor.
A social commentator, Akin Abayomi blamed the late Osinachi for keeping her problem away from people who could help her out in the name of religion.
“I think she walked herself to her untimely death. If truly the husband had been so wicked, while some close relatives had advised against continued marriage, I don’t think God would be so happy with her death. Divorce could have saved her from this irrecoverable calamity. Domestic violence has put Christian couples in between the devil and the deep blue sea. For me, I would always advise that the option to save life is better,” says Abayomi.
While public outcry against what befell Osinachi rages on, even as the husband, who had been arrested by the police in Abuja insisted that she died due to sickness, the controversy behind the death will not be settled until the result of the autopsy carried out is made public.