Mr. Peter Nwachukwu, the husband of late popular gospel singer, Osinachi, was arraigned before a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory on a 23-count charge that bordered on culpable homicide today.
However, the defendant, whose wife allegedly died as a result of prolonged assault by him, pleaded not guilty to all the allegations that were contained in the charge the Federal Government preferred against him.
Following Nwachukwu’s plea of innocence, Justice Njideka Nwosu-Iheme, in a short ruling, ordered his remand at the Kuje Correctional Centre, even as she adjourned the case till June 16 and 17 for trial.
The court equally okayed accelerated hearing of the case.
“The Defendant should be remanded in Kuje Correctional Facility, pending the hearing and determination of this suit,” the trial judge ruled.
Recall that Osinachi’s sudden death on April 8 after some time on life support led to family, friends and church members making revelations about the domestic abuse she had been allegedly subjected to by her husband.
A nationwide outcry for justice for the late songbird led to her husband’s arrest.
Osinachi is the delectably angelic voice behind many popular gospel songs, one of which is ‘Ekwueme’ Prospa Ochimana.
Federal Government had, in the charge that was filed by the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, among other things, alleged that the late singer, Osinachi, was forcefully ejected from her matrimonial home by her husband, contrary to the Violence Against Persons, VAP (Prohibition) Act, 2015.
It alleged that the defendant, Nwachukwu, had at a time, forcefully pushed his late wife out of a moving vehicle.
The defendant was specifically charged for alleged committing culpable homicide under sections 104 and 379 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, an offence contrary to section 221 of the Penal Code and punishable with death.
The charge marked CR/199/2022, was entered before the court by the Head, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence, Department of Public Prosecutions of the Federation, Ministry of Justice, Mrs Yewande Gbola-Awopetun.
Government alleged that the defendant deprived the deceased of her personal liberty by restraining her movement and locking her up in the house.
More so, it accused the defendant of subjecting the deceased to emotional, verbal and psychological abuse, contrary to section 14(1) of the VAP Act, 2015.
FG told the court that investigations revealed that the defendant denied Osinachi access to her money for medication and household necessities, and thereby forced her into begging and borrowing.
It alleged that Osinachi’s husband forcefully isolated and separated her from her family by preventing her mother and siblings from visiting her matrimonial home.
Nwachukwu was further charged for cruelly beating his children, recording their cry and playing it on his phone.
He was said to have threatened the kids and prevented them from reporting the acts of domestic violence against their mother to the head pastor of their church, Dr Paul Enenche, or any other person.
Specifically, some of the counts in the charge read: “That you Peter Nwachukwu, 56, male, on the 8th of April, 2022 at Aco Estate, opposite police station, Lugbe, Abuja, FCT, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, did commit an offence to with:
“Culpable homicide punishable with death in that you caused the death of Mrs Osinachi Nwachukwu by your various acts of violence and aggravated assault with the knowledge that her death would be the probable consequence of your acts.”
“That you, Peter Nwachukwu, male, sometime between 14th November 2009 and April 2022 at Aco Estate, opposite police station, Lugbe, Abuja, FCT, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, did commit an offence to wit:
“Emotional, verbal and psychological abuse on Mrs Osinachi Nwachukwu (deceased) by humiliating her and making utterances like ‘you are smelling,’ ‘you are mad,’ to her in the presence of her music crew members.”